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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-30-05, 11:00 AM   #1
cerewa
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airplane free

According to http://answers.google.com and http://howstuffworks.com, a commercial passenger jet with an average load gets about the same number of "miles per gallon per passenger" as a car with 2 or 3 passengers.

Interestingly enough, a small motorcycle with one person may get about the same number of miles per gallon per passenger- 60 or so.

if reducing CO2 emissions is your goal, riding in a car alone is pretty bad, but it depends how much you do it. Riding thousands of miles per year in airplanes and on motorcycles can also cause a lot of CO2 emissions.

To be honest, I take more airplane trips than most people. (i'm not sure how i compare to the average american, though.) My parents are in Alaska and I'm in Pennsylvania. I plan to visit them about once a year in the coming years but in the past few years have taken cross-continent airline trips twice a year.

So how much do all of you use airplanes, out of curiosity?
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Old 09-30-05, 11:41 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerewa
So how much do all of you use airplanes, out of curiosity?
Airplane free since January '91.
All it took was a 13 1/2 hour
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Old 09-30-05, 11:50 AM   #3
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I seem to have flown at least once a year for the past five years, sometimes twice. The one thing that gets me on a plane is the prospects of seeing the world beyond the borders of the continent I live on. However, I would like to stop flying and begin more bike touring. Much better way to experience life, in my opinion, than hanging out in cities.
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Old 09-30-05, 01:16 PM   #4
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Haven't flown since June or July of 2000.
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Old 09-30-05, 01:28 PM   #5
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I'm in the military so I travel AMC WhisperJet service a lot. In the last 3 years I've spent well over 500 hours in the air.

Been to New Zealand and back 3 times and countless trips to Europe and the AOR. Also been to McMurdo Station on Antarctica a few times.
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Old 09-30-05, 01:46 PM   #6
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Going airplane free? Yikes. That makes going car-free seem simple.

If I were to go airplane free, I would miss out on seeing the world and visiting friends in continents I cannot ride my bike to. As my world continues to get smaller, I envision I will need to rely on airplanes more.
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Old 09-30-05, 10:47 PM   #7
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Actually, we're all airplane free. How many of us here own and maintain an airplane?
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Old 10-01-05, 09:25 PM   #8
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never - i'm just starting my goal in life of traveling to more countries - (argentina in a few weeks), and i hold a private pilots license.

i especially love general aviation: arrive, preflight, do weather get my coffee, talk to ATC, and in a few hours i can be in the country or mountains, without traffic, semis, roadwork, just a great view, (and of course a little turbulence).

for trips of 100-500 miles it's much more efficient than driving, and often quicker than commercial aviation, and keeping proficient keeps you mentally sharp, and exercises your skill in good judgement and decision making
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Old 10-01-05, 11:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cerewa
So how much do all of you use airplanes, out of curiosity?
Probably a couple of flights annually for my holidays, and that's about it. That said, I'm a little cynical of the claim that an airplane only gets the same MPG as a car with two occupants -- did they clarify the type of car they were comparing it to?
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Old 10-02-05, 03:12 AM   #10
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Probably a couple of flights annually for my holidays, and that's about it. That said, I'm a little cynical of the claim that an airplane only gets the same MPG as a car with two occupants -- did they clarify the type of car they were comparing it to?
I've always heard that a fully booked 747 consumed about 70 miles per gallon per passenger. That's less than a car.
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Old 10-02-05, 10:04 AM   #11
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Probably a couple of flights annually for my holidays, and that's about it. That said, I'm a little cynical of the claim that an airplane only gets the same MPG as a car with two occupants -- did they clarify the type of car they were comparing it to?
i wondered at this too. just because it's printed doesn't mean it's true -- did they say what type of plane? an old 727 is like driving a huge SUV, but the newest 737 and airbus 320s are very efficient.

airlines don't want to waste fuel either, so manufacturers will do their best for efficiency. plus it depends where they fly. the jetblue incident showed that flying around at a low altitude in a landing config can burn fuel at a ridiculous rate, but at 35k feet with thin air it's a lot different.

i've heard to airlines don't fly as fast as the passenger jets can go in order to get the best rate of fuel burn, like driving 55 mph, rather than 70.
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Old 10-03-05, 01:48 PM   #12
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The actual figures I read were 50 miles per gallon per passenger for a jet with 75% occupancy and from the other source, 100 miles per gallon per passenger with 100% occupancy. 50 miles per gallon is about 100% more efficient than an american mid-size car*. I think that translates to only 50% more efficient than the most common types of cars driven in Europe.

I find this supposed inefficiency of airplanes relative to a 5-seat car with 5 passengers to be quite believable. Here's a couple reasons why:

many of us know that (other things equal) the faster you go, the more energy per-mile you spend pushing air out of your way. (physics people will tell you that power used up in air resistance goes up proportional to speed-squared, rather than being directly proportional with speed.) This means that airplanes, despite being shaped in a very aerodynamic way, have a fuel-economy disadvantage if they're made to go so much faster than cars.

You may also notice that wheels are quite an energy-efficient way to keep a vehicle moving. I don't think wings are all that energy efficient: the human-powered-flight record is 74 miles in 4 hours. Athletes who are similarly spectacular in energy output have managed far more on 2-wheeled vehicles: 300% of the distance in 150% of the time, or 222 miles in 6 hours.


*with one passenger, if we're still talking in per-person terms.
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Old 10-03-05, 08:49 PM   #13
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I fly maybe once every 3 years.
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