Say you’re a pilot and you’re going to be flying today. You get to your plane and are ready to go inside it. Do you need a key to open the cockpit door? And what about the ignition? Do you need a key for that, to start the plane?
It turns out that the answer varies, depending on what kind of plane you’re talking about. However, the reason for their respective yes or no answer is usually based on safety and how the plane works.
Gliders are small and are usually stored in locked hangers so there’s little chance of their being stolen. So they don’t have any keys to open the door. And, since gliders generally don’t have motors, they don’t need a key to start them running.
Small Planes (i.e. Cessnas, etc.)
Cessnas and other small, privately owned planes are often stored outdoors, sometimes for days, weeks or possibly months at a time, which leaves them at the mercy of thieves. Maybe not so much theft of the entire airplane (although it apparently occasionally happens), but at the very least, of contents in the pilot or passenger area, as well as the luggage compartments. You know, just like a car. So, just like a car, small aircraft have a key to unlock the cockpit door. Cessnas and other smaller aircraft also usually use ignition keys to start the engine, just like a car.
Large commercial planes
Commercial jets have no keys.
When not in use, they’re stored either by attaching them to jetways (where there are LOTS of security 24 hours a day) or leaving them in a locked hanger. Either way, the chances of theft are minimal, so they have no keys to open the door.
When you want to start a commercial plane, you press a few buttons, turn a few knobs, pull or push a few levers and/or switches, and the engine starts. No key is necessary. Click here for a video with more information about how to start a jet engine.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 11,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary