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Do planes really fly themselves? Is turbulence dangerous? Can you (or your intestines) get sucked into an airplane toilet? These are the important questions we all ask ourselves as your plane leaves the tarmac (which, by the way, isn't called the tarmac). Let's get into it.

Planes are a marvel of modern technology, but when you're on one, they can often feel like terrifying metal deathtraps. Let's break down the most common myths and misconceptions about flying.

Join host Justin Dodd in an endless pursuit of the truth. If you have your own topic who's misconceptions you'd like to see debunked leave it in the comments!


Mental Floss is the home for all things curious. Subscribe here for new Mental Floss videos every Wednesday at 3pm (and don't forget the bell!):


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As anyone who's watched a movie sat in an airplane knows; a bad guy firing a gun inside the cabin means certain disaster.  Just one bullet hole can depressurize the air craft causing it to plummet uncontrollably into the nearest mountain.  
What follows is a desperate fight for survival, and perhaps, even some cannibalism.  Because, I mean, even if there was airplane food left in the wreckage, would you even wanna? *dum tss*
But does that really make sense? Can one tiny hole in an airplane cabin really bring the whole thing down?  Not really.  
If someone actually fired a weapon in flight the bullet would likely pierce the aluminium siding of the plane, but the air leak would be so minor that the air craft's pressurization system would easily be able to compensate for it.
It is possible to shoot out a window creating a much larger, and potentially passenger sucking problem.  And, it's also not outside the realm of possibility to hit the fuel tank; which could, maybe, possibly, if a lot went wrong, cause an exploson. 
But, for the most part, fatal bullet holes in planes are a misconception created by Hollywood.  And, its far from the only mistaken idea we have about the air craft.
Hi!  I'm your host Justin Dodd.  Fasten your seat belts, store your tray table in the upright and locked position, and join me as we get into some of the most popular myths about flying, in this high-altitude edition of Misconceptions.  
*intro music*
While I understand most people aren't necessarily concerned with a shootout breaking out on a plane, safety in air travel has always been a popular subject.  After all, when you stop to think about it, the idea of a mulit-ton aircraft somehow surging into the clouds and maintaining altitude at or above thirty thousand feet can be a little hard to grasp.  Which brings us to our first misconception.
We understand how flying actually works.
Believe it or not, there's no one simple explanation for how planes stay aloft.

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Scientists disagree on the principles behind the aerodynamic force known as lift.  Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli had a go of it in 1738, well not really becuase planes were like 200 years in the future.  But anyway, the Bernoulli school asserts that air traveling across the top of a curved wing is faster than air traveling along the bottom, resulting in lower pressure and therefore lift.  
But Bernoulli's theorem dosen't explain why that higher velocity on top of the wing lowers pressure.  It also doesn't explain how people can fly upside-down, where the curved portion is at the bottom.  Newton's third law of motion can also be applied, since it means an airplane stays up by pushing the air down; but according to NASA (except in cases like Space Shuttle reentry (2:40)

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