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  • Look! Up at the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane! Well almost.

  • Right now, there are about 10,000 planes carrying almostmillion 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. Sooo,

  • where is everybody? Oh, theyre there, alrightjust not, right there!

  • For one thing, your field of vision is limited by the small window that only allows you to

  • look out one side of the plane. 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. But if another jet

  • is traveling behind, below, or above, even the pilots won't be able to spot it with their

  • own eyes!

  • The number of planes in the air is impressive, but the sky is big. That's why aircraft don't

  • need to fly side by side - or even close enough for you to see them from your window.

  • 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. Your neighbor might

  • have eyes trained so well, but well meet those special passengers a bit later! For

  • now, most travelers don't want to waste their time staring at a seemingly empty sky.

  • Or maybe they do? How do you usually pass the time on a long flight? Let me know down

  • in the comments!

  • Bad weather and clouds are another issue here. At night, though, it's easier to notice other

  • aircraft thanks to the flashy lights theyre decorated with. So if youre looking to

  • spot a fellow jet up there, your chances are better after the sun goes down!

  • What about when two airplanes are approaching and passing each other? Well, both are moving

  • at a breakneck speed of around 500 mph. So you’d need to look out the window at a very

  • precise moment to notice the other aircraft. Blink, and youll miss it!

  • 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. That's a set of

  • rules that help keep airplanes away from each other. No plane nearby - no risk of a collision.

  • By the way, separation can also refer to other obstacles and even a country’s airspace.

  • Pilots know which airspace blocks they can fly through. Before entering a new block,

  • they must get permission from a controller.

  • 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.

  • Thanks to separation, the risk of collision becomes minimal, and smaller planes aren't

  • affected by wake turbulence.

  • 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.

  • An airplane's size means a lot as well. Big commercial airliners are mostly operated with

  • the help of special equipment. It allows them to fly in different weather conditions, at

  • night, and when visibility is low, like in the clouds. A lot of small private aircraft

  • don't have these special instruments, and pilots operate their planes mostly when the

  • weather is clear. Besides listening to air traffic controllers, those pilots have to

  • rely on their sight. Meaning, they can only see where their airplane is going when visibility

  • is good.

  • Aircraft separation can be vertical (when one plane is flying over the other) and horizontal

  • (when two are flying side by side). If two aircraft are flying below the cruising altitude

  • of 29,000 ft, one of them shouldn't get vertically closer than 1,000 ft to the other. If the

  • distance from the surface is more than that, the planes have to keep a vertical distance

  • of 2,000 ft.

  • Pilots can only break this rule if there’s a necessary horizontal separation between

  • them. The rule is that there must be about 6 horizontal miles between two airliners flying

  • at the same altitude. In regions with poor radar coverage, the distance between planes

  • must be more than 11 miles.

  • If it's happening in an airport’s airspace, separation can be smaller - 3.5 miles. At

  • the airport, for example, during taxiing, landing, or takeoff, airplanes get pretty

  • close to one another - the main rule is to keep a safe distance between jets.

  • Sounds like a lot to remember, I know. But don’t worrywe have computers to help

  • us with that! Most modern planes with more than 10 seats are equipped with a TCAS, which

  • stands for Traffic Collisions Avoidance System. Its main task is to warn a pilot if another

  • aircraft is coming close at the same altitude. The equipment calculates the time itll

  • take the other plane to get so close that a collision may happen. When this time starts

  • to run out, the system starts making shrill warning sounds.

  • The TCAS shows a map with aircraft traveling nearby. (Some systems have a separate monitor

  • for that, some display the map on other screens like the weather radars.) On the map, pilots

  • can see their own planes at the bottom of the screen. Airliners that are far away and

  • harmless look like empty diamonds. When one of the planes approaches closer than 6 miles

  • horizontally or 1,200 ft vertically, its diamond gets filled. Any closer than that, and the

  • diamond turns into an amber dot, and an automated voice starts saying urgently, "Traffic, traffic."

  • A pilot must react immediately so that the yellow dot doesn’t become red.

  • If an airplane has more than 30 seats, it's supposed to have an advanced TCAS. Two systems

  • of this kind installed on different planes communicate with each other and coordinate

  • the jets so that they can avoid a collision. In this case, one pilot will hear "climb,

  • climb" coming from their system, while the other TCAS will tell its pilot "descend, descend."

  • Before the early 90s, very few aircraft had any equipment that could help prevent collisions.

  • Pilots had to rely on their own eyes and air traffic controllers. Early versions of the

  • TCAS were pricey, and since they had to be installed on every plane, imagine the money

  • airlines had to pay to renovate all their jets! But the obvious need to prevent mid-air

  • collisions settled the matter once and for all: every airplane needed a TCAS whatever

  • the cost.

  • 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. But that's not

  • the only thing they pay attention to. If their view isn't clear enough because of the ice

  • that's accumulated on the windowpane, it's a red flag.

  • In cold weather, snow and ice are removed from an airplane before the flight. Then the

  • aircraft gets coated with a special substance that prevents ice build-up when the plane’s

  • in the air. This substance works for some time, but several hours into your flight,

  • you may notice that your window is covered with a light layer of frost again. That’s

  • normal since the temperatures outside your plane are freezing.

  • But if there’s a thick coat of ice covering the windowpanes, it could mean that the engines

  • aren’t generating enough heat. An airplane covered with ice may have serious flying and

  • landing problems: the ice disrupts the smooth airflow and reduces the lift that keeps a

  • plane in the air.

  • So, if you can't see other jets in the sky because of the thick ice on your window, it’s

  • something worth mentioning to the crew! But they probably already know and have started

  • taking the necessary steps to keep you and everybody else onboard safe!

  • By the way, I heard that pilots are trying to get another system in their flight decks

  • call an E-COF. That stands for Empty Coffee Avoidance System. Yep, if their coffee cups

  • get too low, the alert soundsrefill, refill”.

  • Hey, if you learned something new today, then give the video a like and share it with a

  • friend! Even that bad joke. And here are some other videos I think you'll enjoy. Just click

  • to the left or right, and stay on the Bright Side of life!

Look! Up at the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane! Well almost.

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飛行中に他の飛行機を見ることが少ない理由 (Why You Rarely See Other Airplanes While Flying)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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