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June 09, 2009

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What proportion of its time does the average plane spend on the ground. My guess would be that for large ones, a relatively small amount, for small planes, quite a large proportion. I'd also guess that there are more small planes than large ones (although that might be wrong) and so the surface area of planes on the ground might be *approximately* equal to the surface area of planes in the air.

Also assuming that meteors don't burn up once they've reached airplane height, that would mean that strikes to planes on the ground might be about as likely as strikes on planes in the air. Of course, when they're on the ground, they're much easier to detect too - I wonder if that has ever happened?

In related news, a teenager in the UK was recently struck by a meteorite. Although I find it hard to believe it was traveling at 30,000mph at impact: even if it only weighed ten grams at impact, a glancing blow with energy of almost a megajoule is gonna leave more than a 3-inch scar.

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