How a coffee machine delays a flight

Flights can be delayed or canceled for any number of reasons: bad weather, safety concerns, or even...coffee machines? Yes—it turns out that broken coffee machines cause flight delays with alarming frequency, according to The New York Times . When you think about mechanical problems on airplanes, you don't actually think about the coffee machine having anything to do with it; However, the requirements required to make a coffee machine work on an airplane are actually quite complex, so in hindsight, maybe it makes more sense than you think.

So how do we manage to mess up something as complex as a commercial aircraft when most of us operate it while half asleep? Well, according to the Times, the problem with coffee machines is that they're electric, and whenever there's an electrical fault on a plane, mechanics have to check to make sure it's not part of a larger problem -- and it doesn't cause fire. Fires on airplanes are generally undesirable.

Unfortunately, coffee machines on airplanes can malfunction for a number of reasons. Trying to brew coffee at 35,000 feet isn't as simple as it is in the kitchen. These machines include circuit breakers and special wiring insulators to help prevent fires as well as special latches to hold them in place; heck, even the water has to be specially treated. All of these parts and requirements help keep your coffee and coffee machine safe, but they also provide plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong. Even after taking all the precautions, when something goes wrong on an airplane, you have to take it seriously. After all, if it turns out to be a big problem, you need to know about it while you're still on the tarmac, not miles in the air. Apparently flights are often delayed due to "too many coffee machine issues," so hey, at least these issues are caught sooner rather than later — which is better than spotting a leprechaun on the wing.

However, it does beg the question of why hasn't anyone figured out a better way to brew coffee on a plane. After all, most of us can do this in our own kitchens on little sleep. But when it comes to airplanes, you can't just buy a retail coffee machine, or even the larger commercial coffee machines found in restaurants. As one mechanic explained to the New York Times , "You can't put Mr. Coffee in an airline. You have to do all kinds of engineering and analysis and provide test results to the FAA to get approval."

Because at the end of the day, airplanes are more dangerous than we think. The only reason we feel so safe about them is because they are thoroughly inspected, tested, inspected and regulated to avoid accidents.

So, let's not overthink it, they're obviously easily cheated on by the coffee machine, aren't they?

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