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Dangerous Reason Why You Should Never Swap Seats On A Plane

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Dangerous Reason Why You Should Never Swap Seats On A Plane

Where you sit on a plane is all-important. It can be the difference between having a pleasant flight with plenty of leg room, or a stiff neck and a constant wrestle with your neighbour for the armrest.

But a pilot has revealed that it could be even more important than that.

In a post to a forum on Quora, Magnar Nordal explained that where you sit affects the plane's weight and therefore how it is controlled.

He said: "If the [systems are] set wrong, then the aircraft may crash at take-off.

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"Four passengers seated themselves forward from their assigned seats before take-off.

"My first officer was flying, and he experienced problems when he rotated the aircraft: It was very heavy.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"This was a very critical situation, because the runway was very short, and we would not have been able to stop."

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This warning was backed up by fellow pilot Darren Patterson, who told the BBC that someone moving 10 rows of seats can alter the aircraft's balance.

He explained: "The smaller the aeroplane, the more dramatic effect any shift in weight can have.

"On a large, wide body aeroplane, a single person can move 10 rows of seats and the effect on the balance is negligible.

"Have that same person move just a few rows on a regional plane or turboprop and the effects are far more dramatic; possibly even exceeding the limits of the envelope."

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Darren added: "All aeroplanes operate in an envelope of stability. To continuously stay in this envelope, from take-off to touchdown, all weight and its location have to be accounted for."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Many of us might have our favourite spots on a plane, whether it's a nice window seat to enjoy the view, or somewhere close to the front or back so you can nip for a wee without too much hassle.

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However, according to Nick Eades - who is the world's most experienced Boeing 747 pilot - your best bet is somewhere near to the emergency exits.

Speaking to LADbible, Eades explained that there isn't necessarily a 'safest' place to sit, saying: "Sitting at the front of the plane is as safe as sitting at the back, and vice versa."

He continued: "Always offer to sit by the emergency exits because - as long as you're able-bodied - I think probably the best seats are the ones closest to the exits.

"Then if there is an abandoned take-off [or] there is catastrophic failure, you can either help people out or be the first to get out of the aeroplane yourself. You're in a very good position.

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"It's common sense if you think about it."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: flight, Science, Pilot, Airplane, Passengers, travel, Technology, aircraft

Dominic Smithers
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