Interviews

High-altitude fridges

Have you ever wondered how fridges on aeroplanes are made and work? With help from jet pilot Lorenzo The Fridge Foundation has discovered how cabin crews keep our meals and drinks fresh.

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Flying high
Boardbar is the typical drinks trolley used by airlines but redesigned by famous artists to create a design object that can store drinks and food, or even documents and books and transform into a filing cabinet

How did you start your career as an airline pilot and how long have you been flying?
I started flying in 2005 when I was 27 years old. After graduation I went to a flight school and learned with small propeller planes. These aircraft really teach you to fly as they are not computerised like airliners. I started work in an air taxi
company before moving on to a major airline. I now fly private jets.
What are the biggest differences between these two careers?
Scheduled flights have pre-arranged routes, timetables and shifts that you have to stick to. But with jets you’re always available and fly to less common destinations, which means I get to visit new places. I’ve just come back from Essaouira, a city in Morocco; it’s a fantastic place where some of my clients have their holiday homes by the sea.
Who are the people that use this service?
Entrepreneurs, businesspeople, people from the worlds of entertainment and sport as well as a few politicians. The flights are mainly business trips; this industry has also been hit by the recession and in recent times there aren’t that many people who can afford a private jet for their holidays.
What type of refrigerators do the aeroplanes have?
There aren’t any refrigerators on aeroplanes for technical reasons; or rather they are not proper refrigerators. To keep drinks and food cool we generally use traditional or dry ice, the aeroplane isn’t always hooked up to a power supply so you have to turn on the engines if you want power. The less energyconsuming appliances you have, the better.
So how does high-altitude refrigeration work then?
The ice is placed in watertight drawers; a drainage system empties out the water and condenses it at the end of the flight. Airliners use a different system though which is more technological called Air Chiller.
Can you explain how this method works?
The cabin crew’s drinks trolleys are connected to pipes that pump in cold air from the aeroplane’s cooling system. These are located in the galleys, otherwise known as the cabin crew’s service areas. The aeroplane has to be moving for the chillers to work as they use the air produced by the engines.
What food is served on board?
We don’t serve actual meals; we offer sandwiches, salmon canapés and prawns. Some clients ask for specific foods, the strangest request was for donkey salami. We also serve cold drinks, wine or champagne which we store in the ice.
How much does an air taxi service cost?
The price depends on the type of aeroplane and starts from € 2,800 per hour. We fly to Europe, Moscow, Africa, and the Middle East. We’ll fly wherever the client wants to go.

The sound of taste

alta_quota2Scientists have discovered that the white noise heard inside an aircraft’s cabin has a negative effect on people’s perception of taste and alters their sense of saltiness or sweetness. This explains why we think that inflight food always seems mediocre and bland. The study also found that music can make everything seem tastier.

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