How It Works - - TRANS­PORT MYTHS -

Vis­it­ing an air­craft toi­let is gen­er­ally an un­pleas­ant af­fair. It’s dif­fi­cult enough to squeeze into the cramped room and nav­i­gate onto the seat, without the ad­di­tional con­cern of what may be about to be un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dumped into the sea. There have al­ways been ru­mours con­cern­ing the fate of waste at al­ti­tude – that it is to be jet­ti­soned from the air­craft, but it turns out that this is ac­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to do.

This is be­cause air­line toi­lets use ei­ther closed waste sys­tems (which op­er­ate in a sim­i­lar way to a house toi­let) or a more mod­ern vac­uum waste sys­tem. Both store the sewage in hold­ing tanks and re­quire ac­cess to a valve on the out­side of the plane to be emp­tied.

How­ever, there are cases where waste has seeped out of an air­craft ac­ci­den­tally be­cause of a leak in the tank. The waste be­comes im­me­di­ately frozen, along with the blue waste treat­ment liq­uid. This grisly frozen mix­ture is known as blue ice. Though gen­er­ally blue ice will col­lect on the out­side of the air­craft and re­main there un­til the plane has landed, there are oc­ca­sions where it can come loose.

Thank­fully, most will melt and evap­o­rate be­fore hit­ting the ground, or an un­lucky passerby, but oc­ca­sion­ally the pun­gent snow­ball will re­main in­tact. There have been ver­i­fied re­ports of peo­ple and prop­erty be­ing hit with blue ice, but it has never been in­ten­tional.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.