You probably think aviation is getting worse. Planes are more crowded, extra fees more nefarious, the glamor of the jet age left behind like a contrail. But flying is in fact safer, faster, cheaper, and fancier (for those with cash) than ever. To get a look at how the industry’s pushing forward, we ventured beyond the locked doors of the airport. We saw how pilots train for disaster and avoid the turbulence that spills your coffee. We stood next to a jet engine enduring tests in a concrete bunker and landed a plane on one engine (sorta!). We put a GoPro on a bag, threw it onto the conveyer belt, and watched what happened after it disappeared into the darkness.

Training for disaster in an $18 million simulator.

Simulators are a key tool in pilot training, thanks to high-def screens and authentic cockpit components that maximize realism. A few taps on a touchscreen can recreate the experience with startling realism, letting a pilot run through the process of shutting down the engine, cutting off its fuel, and dousing it with flame retardant before trimming out for level flight and deciding where to land.

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Simulators are a key tool in pilot training, thanks to high-def screens and authentic cockpit components that maximize realism. A few taps on a touchscreen can recreate the experience with startling realism, letting a pilot run through the process of shutting down the engine, cutting off its fuel, and dousing it with flame retardant before trimming out for level flight and deciding where to land.

Your bag’s grand adventure from check-in to the clouds.

To reach your plane at the same time you do, your suitcase flies through the bowels of the airport on a roller coaster ride that would make Six Flags jealous. It covers miles of underground tunnels, rolls through scanning machines, and encounters friendly robots.

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To reach your plane at the same time you do, your suitcase flies through the bowels of the airport on a roller coaster ride that would make Six Flags jealous. It covers miles of underground tunnels, rolls through scanning machines, and encounters friendly robots.

Dodging turbulence.

Turbulence costs airlines $100 million a year in flight delays, damage to airplanes, and injuries to passengers. But now, pilots can use apps to get real-time updates on weather conditions, including reports from planes ahead of them. The latest addition to cockpits which are becoming increasingly connected is like Waze for the sky.

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Turbulence costs airlines $100 million a year in flight delays, damage to airplanes, and injuries to passengers. But now, pilots can use apps to get real-time updates on weather conditions, including reports from planes ahead of them. The latest addition to cockpits which are becoming increasingly connected is like Waze for the sky.

Watching jet engines prove they can fly.

Inside Delta’s tech ops facility, engineers tear down engines, put them back together, then run a battery of tests on them. In a facility the size of 47 football fields, these folks check everything from the huge fan blades at the front to the tiny components of the fuel injectors.

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Inside Delta’s tech ops facility, engineers tear down engines, put them back together, then run a battery of tests on them. In a facility the size of 47 football fields, these folks check everything from the huge fan blades at the front to the tiny components of the fuel injectors.

Inside the command center of the world’s largest airline.

Delta’s “mission control” is the NASA-inspired command center where nearly 300 people track every one of the hundreds of aircraft in the airline’s fleet. Each follows flights through a different part of the world, using the world’s scariest spreadsheet to everyone moving along smoothly.

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Delta’s “mission control” is the NASA-inspired command center where nearly 300 people track every one of the hundreds of aircraft in the airline’s fleet. Each follows flights through a different part of the world, using the world’s scariest spreadsheet to everyone moving along smoothly.

See the original post: 

Flight Mode: The Quest to Make Flying Safer, Faster, and Comfier