It’s National Aviation Day, marking the birthday of one of the Wright brothers, and it’s National Potato Day.

Amazingly, there’s a story that brings them both together.


Back in the early 2010s, Boeing was trying to bring in-flight WiFi to its planes.

It was something passengers certainly wanted, but to offer the service they needed to make sure it could work effectively in an airplane full of passengers.

And there wasn’t a long list of people volunteering to sit in place in airplane seats while engineers did WiFi experiments.

So Boeing turned to the next best thing: airplane seats filled with sacks of potatoes.

Now we’re a bit more mobile and hopefully a bit more intelligent than the average potato – most of us, anyway – but it turns out that potatoes react to radio waves in a very human-like way.

So the 20,000 pounds’ worth of potatoes they bought for the tests worked out well.

By the way, Boeing named its testing project Synthetic Personnel Using Dialectic Substitution, or SPUDS.


Airline food has a certain reputation for many people, but hey, people like what they like.

Weird Universe noted that in 1994, American Airlines released an 18 page book of their in-flight recipes, called “A Taste Of Something Special.”

It was meant for frequent fliers, but it’s now online, so you can make your favorite airline recipes at home.

You’ll have to provide the airplane sound effects yourself though.

Boeing uses potatoes to improve Wi-Fi signals (USA Today)

The American Airlines Recipe Book (Weird Universe)

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Photo by Mike Mozart via Flickr/Creative Commons