WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

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November is here, and you know what that means—National Aviation History Month! Yes, like all good citizens, you undoubtedly wait all year for this fun-filled celebration of great achievements in the history of flight. But as you get together with loved ones during this festive flight-themed season, we want to make sure you don't perpetuate any myths and misconceptions. Ken Jennings, high-flying Jeopardy! whiz, is here all month to correct a lot of common aviation knowledge that's just plane wrong.

The Debunker: Was the U.S. Interstate System Designed to Provide Emergency Landing Strips for Aircraft?

We're so blessed to live in a time when humankind has invented the Internet, an amazing digital utility used mostly to store pornography and pages of "Completely Random and Useless Facts You Should Know." These numbered trivia lists nearly always include this standby: "The U.S. interstate highway system requires that one mile in every five be straight. These straight sections function as airstrips in times of war and other emergencies." What a fun thing to consider, as we travel the highways and byways of this great land: the interstate system's Eisenhower-era engineers had Cold War paranoia on their minds as they surveyed it!

The Debunker

Sadly, this little-known historical fact is about as true as much e-mail forward trivia, which is to say, not true at all. Richard Weingroff, information liaison specialist for the Federal Highway Administration, wrote that this is one of the most common—and frustrating—questions he now fields. The Defense Highway Act of 1941 did provide for a series of emergency flight strips to be placed near highways nationwide, but that program was phased out by the time Congress began planning the interstate system in earnest in 1944. There has never been any legislation anywhere that contains the phantom "one mile in every five" clause.

Writing for the FHA's Public Roads magazine in 2000, Weingroff seems more than a little aggrieved by the persistent falseness of this factoid. "I try to reply patiently without rolling my eyes or groaning," he confides, "and I try not to give the impression I've heard this 'fact' once or twice or maybe a hundred times before." At the end of the article, he switches to all-caps, and I like to imagine one eyelid starts to twitch a little bit. "NO LAW, REGULATION, POLICY, OR SLIVER OF RED TAPE REQUIRES THAT ONE OUT OF FIVE MILES OF THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM MUST BE STRAIGHT. Trust me on that. Please!" he begs. Reader, I believe him.

Quick Quiz: Which U.S. state has no interstate highways that are signed as such?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

therealjrn


quality posts: 82 Private Messages therealjrn

Ken Jennings, I'm going to say it is the state that Obama claimed to have been born in. Because I don't think Kenya has U.S. interstate highways.

As for the landing strip thing, until today, I had never heard or read that. But my Dad used to take us on car trips and we always stopped and looked at the highway plaques and big balls of yarn. None of the plaques ever mentioned "look out for planes" I think we might have seen an alligator farm though.

bblhed


quality posts: 11 Private Messages bblhed

The big tip off this was a load of bunk should have been when it is mentioned that the road should be straight, but there is no mention of the road being reinforced for the load of aircraft landing on it.

zmerch


quality posts: 0 Private Messages zmerch

The answer is Alaska. Even though there are "interstates" in that state, they are considered 'unsigned' and they do not need to conform to the Interstate highway specifications. Hawaii's are signed and meet all specifications.

sk888888


quality posts: 9 Private Messages sk888888

I'm pretty sure Hawaii's are well marked. But Alaska - been there too, don't remember seeing any Interstate System highways there.

jasonwilk


quality posts: 1 Private Messages jasonwilk

None of the four Alaska Interstates are signed.

x2
Bucket of Candycorn: Oct 12, 2011; Santa's Sack of Crap: Dec 25, 2011; Basket of Cranberries: Jan 19, 2012 order denied avoiding any disappointment; HOHOHO Crapv3nt: Dec 25, 2017

cainemarko


quality posts: 3 Private Messages cainemarko

So the opposite twist I heard on this rumor was that there had to be "curves" every X miles, so people didn't fall asleep. Did I dream this? Or is this actually in the rules?

tanios


quality posts: 12 Private Messages tanios
therealjrn wrote:Ken Jennings, I'm going to say it is the state that Obama claimed to have been born in. Because I don't think Kenya has U.S. interstate highways.



Was it really necessary to throw in an untrue political barb?

therealjrn


quality posts: 82 Private Messages therealjrn
tanios wrote:Was it really necessary to throw in an untrue political barb?


What? Facts are facts. I believe Mr. Obama did claim to have been born in Hawaii, yes? Do overseas, foreign countries have U.S. interstates? No, I don't think they do.

lightenupfrancis.gif

therealjrn


quality posts: 82 Private Messages therealjrn
cainemarko wrote:So the opposite twist I heard on this rumor was that there had to be "curves" every X miles, so people didn't fall asleep. Did I dream this? Or is this actually in the rules?


I've never heard of that. lol Is that so the sleepy drivers will run off the road out of our way?

Rumble strips, though, I believe in rumble strips.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington
cainemarko wrote:So the opposite twist I heard on this rumor was that there had to be "curves" every X miles, so people didn't fall asleep. Did I dream this? Or is this actually in the rules?

I've heard that about The Autobahn in Germany.
No long straight stretches of highway.

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138
therealjrn wrote:What? Facts are facts. I believe Mr. Obama did claim to have been born in Hawaii, yes? Do overseas, foreign countries have U.S. interstates? No, I don't think they do.

lightenupfrancis.gif



Obviously Tanios does not know you as well as some of us do.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington

OOPS.
Posted in the wrong thread, so I suppose I should say something...

therealjrn


quality posts: 82 Private Messages therealjrn
daveinwarshington wrote:OOPS.
Posted in the wrong thread, so I suppose I should say something...


Back in the days of my misspent youth, I was a YUGE Kraftwerk fan. Saw them live in a small venue here right before they got to be so YUGE. I enjoyed them Very well. Believe me.

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138
therealjrn wrote:Back in the days of my misspent youth, I was a YUGE Kraftwerk fan. Saw them live in a small venue here right before they got to be so YUGE. I enjoyed them Very well. Believe me.



Saw them last fall in DC. First time.
Always kick myself for not seeing them in a small hall in '81. Never came back to the Cleveland area after that.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington

From a very good album...


therealjrn


quality posts: 82 Private Messages therealjrn
daveinwarshington wrote:From a very good album...


Damn Dave, that's a depressing song. Here, try this one:


daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington
therealjrn wrote:Damn Dave, that's a depressing song. Here, try this one:

OOPS...






daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington

Used to go to the dragstrip. They'd always play this song...

therealjrn


quality posts: 82 Private Messages therealjrn
daveinwarshington wrote:Used to go to the dragstrip. They'd always play this song...


Now yer gittin' with it! lol I liked how "Car Talk" always had car music bumpers.

daveinwarshington


quality posts: 97 Private Messages daveinwarshington
therealjrn wrote:Now yer gittin' with it! lol I liked how "Car Talk" always had car music bumpers.



Saw these guys in concert. Nice.



moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

cainemarko


quality posts: 3 Private Messages cainemarko

So I dug a bit more on the curve thing. It's apparently a rumor as well. This and the runway thing are the big two.

"The Federal-Aid Highway Act (1956) makes no requirements of curves in the highway at any specific distance. However, road designers understand that excessively long “tangent sections” (straight road) can lead to boredom, drowsiness, and accidents so curves are included, but the Act itself instructs that roads be as direct as practical"

philgonet


quality posts: 13 Private Messages philgonet

OK, SO I'm not really sure how the hell you can even have an "INTERSTATE" in a state that doesn't even border another state (i.e. Alaska and Hawaii)
Isn't that essentially an INTRASTATE?
W*T*F???
PS Love all the vehicle reference songs...

chaser001


quality posts: 0 Private Messages chaser001


philgonet wrote:OK, SO I'm not really sure how the hell you can even have an "INTERSTATE" in a state that doesn't even border another state (i.e. Alaska and Hawaii)
Isn't that essentially an INTRASTATE?
W*T*F???
PS Love all the vehicle reference songs...



It's government bureaucracy at its finest; they changed the meaning of the English language.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/52834/how-does-hawaii-have-interstate-highways

25 Woots since 9/05, but no Buccaneers of Caribbean yet.

onefastbob


quality posts: 77 Private Messages onefastbob
therealjrn wrote:Ken Jennings, I'm going to say it is the state that Obama claimed to have been born in. Because I don't think Kenya has U.S. interstate highways.

As for the landing strip thing, until today, I had never heard or read that. But my Dad used to take us on car trips and we always stopped and looked at the highway plaques and big balls of yarn. None of the plaques ever mentioned "look out for planes" I think we might have seen an alligator farm though.


I agree, it has to be Kenya.