Why You Rarely See Other Airplanes While Flying

Date: 2020-02-09 11:00:17


Right now, there are about 10,000 planes carrying almost 1½ million people from one point to another. But once you’re on the plane and look out the window, it seems as if your aircraft is the only one dashing across the sky.

The sky may seem deserted, but it’s just an illusion. Planes can’t just fly wherever they want – they need to follow special routes. These routes are more or less the same for all aircraft, and during your flight, several other planes are likely soaring nearby. Soтwhere is everybody?

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– Even if another airliner was flying along the same path, you wouldn’t notice it from your seat. Pilots, on the other hand, have a massive windshield and can see other planes flying in front of them from the cockpit.
– White against the clouds, airplanes are also difficult to spot. They look like tiny dots, and your eyes must be expertly trained to notice a dot that small.
– Bad weather and clouds are another issue here. At night, though, it’s easier to notice other aircraft thanks to the flashy lights they’re decorated with.
– But the main reason you don’t see many airliners while flying is also why planes don’t meet and collide with each other in the sky. And it’s aircraft separation.
– When a smaller plane is traveling behind another, much larger one, it’s likely to experience wake turbulence. This kind of turbulence is mostly created by the bigger aircraft’s wings.
– There’s a popular misconception that only air traffic controllers are responsible for keeping airplanes away from one another.
– The FAA states that every pilot is also in charge of avoiding wake turbulence and keeping the necessary distance from another jet.
– Aircraft separation can be vertical (when one plane is flying over the other) and horizontal (when two are flying side by side).
– In regions with poor radar coverage, the distance between planes must be more than 11 miles.
– Most modern planes with more than 10 seats are equipped with a TCAS, which stands for Traffic Collisions Avoidance System.
– The TCAS shows a map with aircraft traveling nearby.
– If an airplane has more than 30 seats, it’s supposed to have an advanced TCAS.
– Before the early 90s, very few aircraft had any equipment that could help prevent collisions.
– Get this: most passengers might not notice any other airplanes out the window, but pilots riding as passengers do! Their trained eyes can easily spot nearby jets.

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