KLM receives a lot of questions via social media. Some of these need pretty extensive research to provide an answer, especially those about our aircraft. This blog looks at the 6 most intriguing questions about aircraft, as answered by our social media agents.
1. Does an aircraft have a key?
The short answer to this is: no. An aircraft isn’t locked with a key and it certainly doesn’t need a key to start it up. The pilots simply push a button. If you’d like to know more about this, head on over to this blog.
2. How is an aircraft weighed?
Weighing takes place in seven steps:
- Pling!- Once every four years, an aircraft’s diary says it’s time for a weighing session.
- An appointment is made with the Weight & Balance team in the hangar.
- The aircraft is emptied completely. The kerosene is drained right down to the last drop. Then the drinking water and toilet water are removed.
- The Ground Engineers prepare the aircraft for weighing and make sure it really is empty and dry (rainwater can distort the measurement by adding extra weight).
- The Weight & Balance engineer uses a checklist to ensure that all of the required contents have been removed.
- The aircraft is weighed.
- The weight is filed.
You’ll find more about the weighing of aircraft in this blog.
3. How is an aircraft painted?
Every year, KLM paints 30 to 35 aircraft in its Painting Bay. Every aircraft is repainted once every five years. But how exactly is this done?
In layers – primer, base coat and top coat. But first all the old paint is stripped off the aircraft in a process lasting 24 hours. Once all the old paint has been removed, the three new layers are applied. Each layer takes six hours to dry.
If you’d like to see what this looks like, head on over to this blog.
4. How are stickers applied to an aircraft?
Aircraft aren’t only painted, they are also decorated with stickers, such as the KLM logo. This process is quite an art. First off, a technical drawing is made. The stickers are made of a special material that can withstand temperatures ranging from -50°C to 110°C. An extra layer of varnish is sprayed over the edges of the sticker, because the application tape is just 65 micrometres thick. And lastly, all bubbles are removed by puncturing them. Et voilà!
If you’d like to know more about the stickers on our aircraft, please read this blog.
5. Does an aircraft have a horn?
Imagine a cloud getting in the way as you’re racing along, wouldn’t it be handy if you could hit the hooter?
Strangely enough, an aircraft does have a hooter. It’s incredibly noisy. When ground engineers are working in the cockpit, they can use it to alert their colleagues working on the ground. There’s a tiny button marked “GND” on the instrument panel in the cockpit. The button is hard to find, but when pressed it sounds as if three steamboats are passing under the plane.
Click here to hear the hooter.
6. How do aircraft get their names?
Borobudur, Museum Square, Blue Kestrel – every KLM aircraft has its own name, but we are one of the few airlines that names its aircraft. And we take this matter rather seriously. We always choose a specific theme for a specific aircraft type, and the names have to be easy to pronounce. The Dutch name is always on the port side of the aircraft, and the English on the starboard side.
If you’d like to read more about the naming of our aircraft, head on over to this blog.
If you have any further questions about aircraft, please let me know.