Scared of flying? These unsettling plane facts won't help. Some of the most frightening secrets kept by pilots include how often planes are struck by lightning, the worst time of day for turbulence, plus the one thing pilots fear more than turbulence...
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1. Lots of planes get struck by lightning. Don't panic. Planes are built to take it. If lightning strikes while you're on-board, the worst that will usually happen is just a bright flash and a loud boom. Experts estimate that each U.S. commercial fleet is struck by lightning at least once annually.
2. Afternoon flights are the worst for turbulence. Afternoons have an increased likelihood of both bumpy air and thunderstorms, but the air in the late night and early morning becomes more level as the night cools off.
3. There's something pilots fear more than turbulence. Turbulence is something pilots plan for but an updraft is a completely different story. It is difficult to detect an updraft on night radar. Hitting these violent winds at high speed can throw a plane up and down hard, and even spin a plane out of control.
4. Planes don't fly with a full tank. Carrying extra fuel can lead to an unnecessary waste of it. Most major airlines play it safe and schedule their flights without full tanks. But it's far from a death sentence as planes can land at an alternative airport.
5. There's no such thing as a water landing. The phrase 'water landing' is nothing than a euphemism for crashing into the ocean. It can often be a controlled descent as opposed to a deadly crash, but there are generally no cases where a plane has landed in or on the water if not for an emergency situation.