Slippery runway & more so the safety area at Kozhikode may be a leading cause of the Air India Express crash

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RESA  The entire state machinery is on overdrive to defend the Calicut Airport stating that it was completely safe for flight operations. There are two significant points to focus on while determining the causes of the accident.  1. Previous safety audits have pointed to vegetation on the runway end safety area (RESA). 2. The rubber deposits at the ends of the runway may have been a contributory cause of the accident. Comparison A comparison of the runway friction values indicates a possibility of higher rubber deposits or poor runway friction levels at both ends of the runways. A friction level below 0.47 requires maintenance action as per the Indian Aeronautical Information Publication. The combination of runway friction and vegetation on the RESA may have been a significant factor that may have caused the Air India Express 1344 runway overrun at Kozhikode on 7th Aug 2020. Must note that the runway has a pronounced crown close to the middle and drops more than 25 feet on either side.

Does food taste different inflight, at 35000 feet? Here is why.

In-flight meal(Courtesy CC Commons)


 


Passengers in general love the in-flight meals. There may be a scientific reason behind the way in-flight meals taste. The humidity in the air at 30,000feet is less than 12% which is drier than that in the desert. The altitude of the cabin is equivalent to that at 8000feet even though the aircraft is flying high. This is possible due to pressurised air maintaining sufficient breathable air under pressure.

Under this combination of low pressure, dry air and high speed of the aircraft, the taste buds and sense of smell changes. The sensitivity of the tastebuds reduces by almost 30%.

The latest research shows that loud noise suppresses our ability to taste sweetness and saltiness, while other studies show that the background buzz in airplanes actually enhances the taste of umami (one of the five basic tastes).

A number of airlines offer tomato juice or bloody mary which contains umami rich tomatoes. Some food expert advise not to have Champagne even if the high end ones are available. An experiment by French Champagne producer Taittinger in 2010 showed that the aroma lessens with altitude and the bubbles stick to the sides of the glass instead of producing a steady stream of bubbles indicating a change in the quality of the Champagne.

Despite all this, it is the experience of being pampered at 30,000 feet with a meal that enriches the food taste.

P.S. Keep a check on the additional salt and sugar that you may end up adding to the already salty or sweet meal.



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