Machine Design


Some Machine Design readers design airplanes, but nearly all our subscribers take a commercial flight now and then.

Airline anecdotes

With that in mind, here is a collection of humorous anecdotes about flight-attendant crews making its way around the Web.

On a flight with no assigned seating, passengers were having a hard time choosing their seats when a flight attendant announced, “People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”

On a flight with a very “senior” flight-attendant crew, the pilot said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”

On landing, the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”

“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways out of this airplane.”

“Thank you for flying with us. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”

As a plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: “Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”

“Welcome aboard Flight 245 to Tampa. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”

“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.’”

“Weather at our destination is 50° with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than we do.”

“Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”

“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.”

Space Shuttle: The final flights

The voyages of the Space Shuttle will becoming to an end after an illustrious 30 years of service. NASA has announced the final mani fes t for eight launches before the fleet retires in 2010. The Shuttle’s final voyage is scheduled for May 31, 2010, and it will be the 35th flight to the space station. Current plans are for the shuttle fleet to be replaced by the Orion craft, currently under construction and testing.

A preretirement schedule has 10 remaining flights, two scheduled for Oct. 8 and Nov. 10 of this year.

The first launch occurred on April 12, 1981, when the Space Shuttle Columbia became the first shuttle to orbit the Earth. Flown by Commander John W. Young and Pilot Robert L. Crippen, Columbia spent two days on its check-out mission, STS-1. During its 54.5-hr mission, the ship orbited the Earth 36 times. The mission ended in a smooth airplanestyle landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on April 14. A modified Boeing 747 ferried the shuttle back to Kennedy Space Center. Seven months later is was launched again on STS-2, becoming the first piloted reusable orbiter. Columbia is the oldest operating shuttle.

The Columbia as it rests atop Complex 39’s Pad A at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for first launch on April 12, 1981.

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