Curious what all those noises are on the plane as you board, taxi, takeoff, fly, and land?
I was too!
There are so many different noises that everyone treats as routine but few people know what they actually are. All the grrrrsss, bings, bongs, whines, and grinds can grow a person anxious just because flying can be anxious by itself, not to mention throwing all the different and new noises at someone.
We’ll start with the noises after boarding when everyone is still in their seat and the plane is still at the gate. So, you’re sitting there, everyone is seated and the stewardesses are going thru their pre-flight safety instructions then all the sudden you hear what sounds like grinding for maybe 30 seconds. This is the electrical actuator closing the luggage door by the ground crew team. This is a familiar sound and you’ll hear it again soon!
Now we’ll move to takeoff as there are a few different noises you hear… the first and obvious noise is the jet engines spinning up to accelerate the plane down the runway. As you’re taking off and rapidly gaining altitude, take a minute to enjoy the view! I love looking down at all scenery and finding places and landmarks I recognize. Every time I fly I take a snapshot of my buddy’s Dayton tree service as they’re in the flight path more often than not. A few seconds after you’re airborne, you’ll hear that same grinding sound. That’s another set of actuators bringing up the landing gear and closing the landing gear doors. Around the same time, you’ll hear that same sound pulling in the flaps on the wings.
Now that the bird is in the air, you’ll often hear many dings and bongs. This more often than not is the pilot calling the stewardess for any number of different things. May be as simple as getting a cup of coffee or letting them know it’s their ready to descend or the many other procedural items they need to do during the course of the flight.
During the cruising portion of the flight there aren’t a lot of noises aside from the bings and bongs of stewardesses being called by the pilots and patrons on the plane requested their services. If approaching turbulence, you will hear a bong when the pilot turns on the fasten seatbelt sign.
Once the plane has made its decent and is ready to land, you’ll hear the whine of actuators in the wings moving the flaps out and down for landing.
Right after the wheels touch down, you’ll hear an incredibly loud whoosh of air. This is due to the fact that the engines basically open to reverse thrust as a way to slow the plane down (in addition to traditional wheel brakes).
Once you’re safely slowed down and taxi-ing back to the gate, there are the typical sounds of people moving around, looking for their cell phones to call or text loved ones.
Hope this little article provides you some peace now you understand a little better what all the random noises are on the plane. I know it helped me to calm my nerves when I can match a noise to a function, and not have my brain run crazy with different theories.