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Gillbilly
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Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:42 pm

When you were younger and aviation hadn't consumed your life yet, what were some of your misconceptions about the planes, staff, operations, etc?

For example, when I was very young, I think I believed that the flap track fairings on commercial planes were launchable missiles...

We all have to start somewhere.
 
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paullam
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:51 pm

When I was a kid I always thought that pilots “let air into the wings” in order to be able to fly.

Turned out they just checked the control surfaces for free movement :D
 
PI4EVR
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sat Jan 08, 2022 3:42 pm

Everything turbulence related was due to "air pockets."
 
N626AA
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sat Jan 08, 2022 8:13 pm

As a child, my dad was a ramper for AA and made many nonrevs up to DFW for union meetings. Since he worked on the outside of the plane most of the time and it was a work related trip, I just assumed he hopped on the wing and let his feet hang off the slats and rode there all the way to DFW and back.

I remember asking him about it and he replied "oh no, that'd blow me away."
 
stlgph
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sat Jan 08, 2022 8:34 pm

Air Israel was a real thing ;)
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Jan 09, 2022 2:57 am

When I was like 5, I always saw the Continental signs at Sarasota on the departure boards for their feeder flights to Tampa and thought that meant the 737 that I saw outside was doing a 5 minute route. Hadn't heard of Continental Connection and their B1900Ds yet!
 
seat1a
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:52 am

On printed timetables back in the early 70s, I always wondered why eastbound flights were "longer" time-wise than westbound flights. I forgot to do the local time zone math. So dumb at 10 y/o.
 
N965UW
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:19 am

The first time I saw a CRJ up close I thought it was a 727. I guess the T-tails are close enough :laughing:

Despite having the word "autopilot" in my vocabulary, for some reason I thought that all planes were hand flown for the entire flight, including airliners
 
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WesternDC6B
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:49 am

When my age was measured in single digits I thought it would be better if takeoffs were done with a tailwind. This would get the plane up to speed faster, thus a faster takeoff using less runway.
 
PlymSpotter
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Jan 09, 2022 12:57 pm

May family told me (and I believed!) that it took 7 miles for a 747 to take off.

The first time I saw a VS A343, I thought it was a 707.
 
bigb
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:17 am

I always thought the Taxi lights where retractable lights that came out in front noise gear well.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:44 am

My family went to Hawaii a lot as a kid and we did plenty of flights on AQ. I always thought the flaps on the 737-200 sounded 'old and tired' because the aircraft was old. Then I realized in my teens traveling on WN 737-300s that the newer flaps sounded even more funny. Pretty dumb not to understand the hydraulic system determined the sound, not aircraft age.
 
maps4ltd
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 4:23 am

First time I saw an E170 I thought it was a 737 variant.
 
N965UW
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 4:59 am

maps4ltd wrote:
First time I saw an E170 I thought it was a 737 variant.


I've done the opposite. I once mistook a 737-700 for an E170 :bitelip:
 
classicjets
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:01 am

I saw a BAe146 fly overhead and told my dad that's a C-17 and that United flies them.
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:14 pm

That Southwest only flies in the southwest direction!
 
Yflyer
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:28 pm

At one time I thought the 757 was simply a stretched 737, due to the identical cabin width.
 
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stl07
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:28 pm

I thought that you could press down on the light on top of the plane like you can with the toys and the whole plane lights up
 
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conaly
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:22 am

Not really embarrassing, just was too young to know better:

When I first heard about the Boeing 717 I actually believed it was a very old Boeing type, that came from the same time as the 707 and 727. Only many years later I found out, that it was just a rebranded MD-90 variant (and it took even longer to learn, that it was a modernized DC-9). I was somewhat aware, that it was weirdly different from other Boeing types but never would have guessed, that the 717 was actually one of the latest addition to the Boeing portfolio at that time.


Until the day I first entered an airliner cockpit, I was sure, that the whole fight deck had much much more room. Maybe somewhat double the diameter of an average fight deck. Was pretty baffeld when I ralized how cramped it was in reality.
 
zrs70
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:42 am

When I was very young, I didn't realize that checked in bags went into the belly of the plane. I would see that luggage trucks going in circles on the tarmac, and I thought that they just continued in circles and met us at our destination.
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:00 pm

When I was very young, I saw the spoilers deploy upon landing and began crying to my mother that the wings broke.

Much later, just a couple years ago, and maybe this is a more Mandela effect than a misconception, but I could have SWORN Aer Lingus was in the Star Alliance. Like I had never been so sure of something. Maybe I thought that because it seemed like UA flew to DUB more than the other US airlines. Not sure. But I was looking closely when their new livery came out and thought to myself, "hmm, that's weird they left off the Star Alliance logo." Turns out there was a good reason for that.
 
Newark727
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:51 pm

Whenever I see the airline code "FR," my brain always says Frontier (F9) instead of Ryanair.
 
bohica
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:19 pm

When I was around 4 or 5 years old, I thought when you flush the toilet in the lavatory, everything went out of the bottom of the airplane and just went splat on the ground.
 
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WesternDC6B
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:11 pm

bohica wrote:
When I was around 4 or 5 years old, I thought when you flush the toilet in the lavatory, everything went out of the bottom of the airplane and just went splat on the ground.


There is a story circling the internet orbit that, when Harry Truman was President, he instructed the pilots to activate the "waste disposal system" when flying over the state of politician he didn't like.
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:22 pm

Because I assumed the more engines the better I thought the 777 was going to be a five engine airliner. :biggrin:
 
Gillbilly
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:15 pm

Newark727 wrote:
Whenever I see the airline code "FR," my brain always says Frontier (F9) instead of Ryanair.


Whenever I see WN for Southwest I just read it as "white noise." In my head, the (nonexistant) airline "white noise" is also called Southwest.
 
zrs70
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:07 am

Gillbilly wrote:
Newark727 wrote:
Whenever I see the airline code "FR," my brain always says Frontier (F9) instead of Ryanair.


Whenever I see WN for Southwest I just read it as "white noise." In my head, the (nonexistant) airline "white noise" is also called Southwest.


When I see "WN" I always think "Western Airlines" (which was "WA")
 
johns624
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:26 am

When I was a teenager, I'd fly out during the summer and visit my brother at Ft Ord, CA. I'd normally fly UA DTW-SFO-MRY with the long leg on a DC10. Once, I had to fly through O'Hare on a UA 747. I was looking at everyone's luggage and was wondering why so many people were going to Ft Ord (ORD luggage tags).
 
Newark727
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:45 am

bohica wrote:
When I was around 4 or 5 years old, I thought when you flush the toilet in the lavatory, everything went out of the bottom of the airplane and just went splat on the ground.


I believe there are several different urban legends that exist on this basis. :D
 
debonair
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:04 pm

I still suffer today from a childhood trauma... I had inquired the father of my best friend about the vapour trails behind planes - and he told me it would be regular foam like shampoo! :footinmouth:
 
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BoeingERJ1000
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:21 pm

Once, on an A319 (2 years ago), I mistook an E175 for an A320.
I also used to think that all airlines were part of an alliance, an because I knew about those in Oneworld and Star alliance, then Skytem must have a TON of airlines. It would be interesting, though, if Ryanair was partners with Delta...
 
Austin787
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:58 pm

I once thought a 737 was a wide body.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:44 am

This wasn't me, nor did it involve younger days, but my grandpa was convinced that the bigger numbers in an aircraft model meant the plane was bigger. Thus, in 2007, he was convinced that the airplane that was was looking at parked out on the ramp was a 787. I had to point out (with my mom translating, mind you) that that airplane was actually a 747, and in fact, that particular one, N780BA, had been modified to bring in parts for the 787.
 
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DrPaul
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Fri Jan 28, 2022 7:13 pm

maps4ltd wrote:
First time I saw an E170 I thought it was a 737 variant.


When I first saw an E170 going over Central London into London City Airport, I could get only a quick glance at it, and I thought it surprising that a 737 was going in there. Being in the age of the Internet, I was able to do some searches and discovered that it was an entirely different and smaller aeroplane.
 
OMP777X
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Fri Jan 28, 2022 9:59 pm

I think it took until after I worked at the airport for me to realize trijets don't have a fan near the front of the intake duct. I think I had a 727 die-cast model as a kid with a fan drawn on front of the intake and that confused me as a young aviation enthusiast.
 
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Boeing757100
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Feb 09, 2022 12:16 am

I once thought that every airline in the world flew to JFK... (When I was 8-10 years old)

And attack me for this, but I always thought that the 757 (and others like the 717) were still in production! I thought this as recently as 2017-2018, but keep in mind I was only 11-12 at that time.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
 
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BWIAirport
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Wed Feb 09, 2022 1:48 am

Boeing757100 wrote:
I once thought that every airline in the world flew to JFK... (When I was 8-10 years old)

And attack me for this, but I always thought that the 757 (and others like the 717) were still in production! I thought this as recently as 2017-2018, but keep in mind I was only 11-12 at that time.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

That's around exactly the age I learned the 757 and 717 were no longer in production. It's a rite of passage for Gen-Z avgeeks.
 
pezzy669
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Thu Feb 10, 2022 1:50 am

When I was in my single digits and flew as an unaccompanied minor between JAX and MSP (mostly DL over ATL and CVG) - one return I was on a 727-200 I think from CVG and when my dad met me at the gate I told him flight was faster because the plane had 3 engines. :lol:

Also some trips through ATL I would always try to see if I could see the fan of the tail engine on L1011’s thinking they were on the top of the S-duct.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Thu Feb 10, 2022 4:43 am

My dad made me an my brother think that if we sat in the window seat we'd get sucked in to the engine and turned in to hamburger.

I used to think flap track fairings we're additional engines. So my young self saw the fairings I thought we were flying on a 747 when it was just an A320.

I went to an airshow when I was really little and the KC135 pilot let me sit in the Captain's seat. He hit the stick shaker test and told me I fired the guns and blew up the beer stand. I believed that one for longer than I should lol.
 
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WesternDC6B
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:06 am

TWA772LR wrote:
My dad made me an my brother think that if we sat in the window seat we'd get sucked in to the engine and turned in to hamburger.


I flew with a workmate who had never been on an aircraft before. As we boarded, I asked one of the stewardi to get in on a harmless prank with me. She agreed.

We were about an hour into the flight, and my workmate acted like he was about to get out of his seat for a visit to one of the toilets. The stew appeared as if by magic, while I told my work friend he MUST make sure to have at least one foot on the floor as he walked the aisle. "Whatever yo do, don't jump!"

I went on to explain that if he did so, that while he was off the floor, the forward motion of the aircraft would cause his body to be hurled to the back bulkhead and he would hit it very hard! He looked at me, then at the stew. She just looked at him, and gravely said "Just be careful, sir...". Then she gave me a wink.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:38 am

Newark727 wrote:
bohica wrote:
When I was around 4 or 5 years old, I thought when you flush the toilet in the lavatory, everything went out of the bottom of the airplane and just went splat on the ground.


I believe there are several different urban legends that exist on this basis. :D


Trains actually did work that way. There were signs asking you not to flush while stopped in a station. This was outlawed in the US years ago, but other countries still do the old chute system.
 
TULERJ175
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Fri Feb 18, 2022 3:18 pm

My dad told me that the button on the armrest made the wings fall off (I had no concept on why the pilots would give passengers that much authority). I must have believed this one too long since a few flights later I panicked when he went to push that button.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Fri Feb 18, 2022 6:24 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Newark727 wrote:
bohica wrote:
When I was around 4 or 5 years old, I thought when you flush the toilet in the lavatory, everything went out of the bottom of the airplane and just went splat on the ground.


I believe there are several different urban legends that exist on this basis. :D


Trains actually did work that way. There were signs asking you not to flush while stopped in a station. This was outlawed in the US years ago, but other countries still do the old chute system.

But how would you know if you were stopped at a station.
 
trent768
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Feb 20, 2022 8:21 am

Oh, I had a lot of them when I was a kid!
1. Every airline was named after a country. So PanAm was Panamanian and Cathay was, well, belong to the super real country named Cathay in the Pacific!
2. When a plane rotates, it's because there's a set of wheel on a lever that pops up from the belly. The inspiration? A toy plane that my dad bought me.
3. Aircraft sounds just like their manufacturer's name. Because every time I board a Boeing, I heard a whining that sounded like the "ing" in Boeing. While when I first boarded an Airbus (a brand new GA's A330 at the time), I heard a buzzing sound like the "bus" in Airbus. As I grow up, I realized that "the sound" came from the APU. I always board those 737 via the front door, so I only hear the whining sound. While when I board the A330, it was via the rear door so all I heard was the hot gas from the APU exhaust.

I have to say, I am not a very bright as a 6 year old child back then....
 
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EightyFour
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Feb 20, 2022 12:32 pm

I thought wide body airplanes only existed in movies when I was a child, like they were made up by Hollywood. The reason is I flew a lot with my parents but only on narrow bodies so the concept of having twin aisles in an airplane was just totally foreign to me despite knowing that there are small and large airplanes.
 
N1120A
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Re: Embarrassing Aviation Misconceptions You've Had

Sun Feb 20, 2022 9:25 pm

When I was very young (like 2-3), I thought planes had the option to "fly on the ground" instead of in the air, and I preferred that option LOL.

A few misconceptions that I carried to later ages were 1) that you could steer on the ground using the control wheel/yoke, 2) that flying is hard, 3) that flying in clouds is easy and 4) that Cessna makes a good airplane ;-).

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