The Aircraft:
Interesting questions, fascinating answers

We visited the Technical Base of Austrian Airlines for you and had a closer look at the aircraft. Before presenting the individual sections of an aeroplane: Tires, brakes, engines, etc., we are about to answer 3 interesting questions of the Austrian Facebook community.

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How much does an aircraft actually weigh?

A319 10 72

There are several kinds of weight: Empty weight, takeoff weight , or landing weight . The difference between empty weight and takeoff weight is the payload .

Christian Scheuer of the Engineering Department has an example: „ The Airbus 319 has a basic empty weight of approx. 42 tons. At takeoff one has to add the weight of the cargo, the passengers and the fuel. The aircraft can weigh up to 68 tons then.“


In other words the plane takes off with an additional weight of 26 tons, 4 trucks so-to-speak, or the weight of 360 people respectively (assuming an average weight of an EU citizen of 72,2 kg ).

Can a passenger jet do a loop-the-loop?

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Performing extreme flight manoeuvres with airliners is theoretically possible , however very unlikely in practice .

A loop-the-loop is a flight manoeuvre during which the aircraft flies a complete circle in the vertical plane. It requires very high speed and the shutting-down of several flight systems:

„The aircraft could probably withstand the forces, however, all built-in flight systems would prevent such a manoeuvre“, explains colleague Wolfgang Kraus. „A barrel roll , i.e. a full helical spin, could be possible though…“

What headlights does an aircraft have?

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There are several lights on an aircraft. The most important ones are:

  • Landing lights : They are used during takeoff and landing and have up to 600 watts .
  • Taxi lights : Dimmed headlights on a car, taxi lights on an aircraft. They are turned on while taxiing on the ground and have a power of 400 to 450 watts .
  • Position lights: Position lights mark the position respectively the flight or taxi direction. There’s a green light on the right wing tip leading edge , and a red light on the left wing tip leading edge . They are so-to-speak the flashlights of an aircraft. They are high-energy lights and blink once per second.

In a car, headlights usually have 5-20 watts; an aircraft light on the other hand can have a total power of about 2,250 watts . This could very well power an infrared sauna or up to 40 household light bulbs.

You want to find out more? Then stay tuned! In our next redblog stories we have a closer look at the individual parts of an aircraft: From tires, brakes and emergency chutes to the engines. Look forward to lots of fascinating answers.

Main photo: © Emmanuel Schawaller

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