EVERETT, WA - APRIL 05: A LOT Polish Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner prepares for landing after a certification flight April 5, 2013 at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. The flight was the final certification test for the new battery system on 787, which has been grounded since January. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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“Fly the Friendly Skies.” We’ve all heard the famous slogan. But if you’ve been following the news lately you’ve heard reports of three planes being diverted to alternate airports when passengers got into to fights over reclining seats.

I guess those friendly skies are not as friendly as they once were.

But, since it’s Friday, it’s time for some fun facts. Let’s go flying. Here ya go…

Fun Facts About Flying

  • If you are a fan of the 1980’s movie, “Airplane” you know the pilot and co-pilot both got sick eating fish. When airlines moved to package foods to save bucks they required that the two pilots have to eat different meals in case one causes a problem for one pilot the other can take over.
  • Plane crashes happen for a variety of reasons but Crocodile? A passenger on an African flight brought a crocodile on the plane in a sports bag and it escaped sending passengers scurrying to the front of the small plane. The sudden weight shift crashed the plane. There were two survivors — a passenger and the croc. Local villagers with machetes made short work of the lucky (?) croc.
  • Ellen Church, a 25-year old registered nurse, was the first ever, female flight attendant. United Airlines hired her in 1930. Female attendants replaced men on all flights by 1936.
  • What were the requirements to be a flight attendant in 1936? You needed to be petite, (not much room in early planes much like today), 100 to 118 pounds, five feet to five feet four inches tall, and 20 to 26 years of age. Tack on a ridged physical exam four times a year and you are in baby.
  • How to cut costs when you run an airline. It’s very simple. Reduce each salad served on board United Airlines planes by one olive. Yearly saving for the airline? $40,000 a year.
  • Chances are you never heard of Bar Nunn, Wyoming. The main streets of Bar Nunn used to be the runways of the old Wardwell Field airport. When the airport moved a developer, Romie Nunn, bought the property and the Bar Nunn subdivision he started in 1954 became a town in 1982.
  • Ormer Leslie Locklear, known as Lock, was a WW I pilot famous for walking out on the wings of aircraft and repairing them while in flight. He later formed his own stunt flying show and did many aerial acrobatics in movies.
  • You might remember stories about a Malaysian passenger plan that was reported missing. This was not a large airliner. A 727 is a large airliner. One took off from an Angola airport with Ben Padilla, who had a private pilots license, and a helper were at the controls. Three people are required to handle a 727 safely so they were one guy short. Without approval of anyone, including the airport, they took off headed out toward the Atlantic and were never seen again. So far it’s the largest plane to disappear without a trace.

Some Final Thoughts

Once people learned to fly I bet God said, “Now this should be interesting.” I fly a lot so I have plenty of horror stories about storms, rough landings, rude passengers, and lost luggage. But just like babies and dirty diapers it’s all part of the job. Hope any skies you fly are friendly ones.

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