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Reasons why pilots fly

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Occasionally in the past I’ve tried to describe the sense of magic, freedom and exhilaration that comes with flying aeroplanes. Each time my vocabulary has disappointingly lacked appropriate superlatives. Now I’ve discovered a 4-minute video which does the job much better.

It is a pilot’s eye view of the final approach into Queenstown, New Zealand. Beginning with breathtaking views of solid gold mountain tops before descending through a blanket of cloud. We are then treated to aviation’s most astonishing conjuring trick; making an airport runway appear out of nowhere.

Instrument Landing Systems must surely be high on the list of mankind’s greatest technological achievements.


PS….It does however worry me slightly that the aircraft still seems to be traveling rather fast when the video cuts out at the far end of the runway.

It’s a wonderful world…..almost

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With Mrs GOF having safely returned to my arms from the USA,
I reflect upon some of the wonders of our modern world.

Firstly, according to her photographic evidence, people have apparently been able to adapt to living in places where the maximum temperature regularly descends below 20 degrees Celsius.

That a human being can actually have the motivation and desire to be cooped up like an unemployed battery hen inside the cage of an aeroplane for 22 hours of flight time.

That a piece of machinery weighing 700,000 pounds including 300,000 pounds of fuel, can actually get off the ground at Brisbane airport and climb to 35000 feet, then navigate itself non-stop to a tiny strip of tarmac at Los Angeles, 14 hours away, and, if necessary, autoland itself there.

Two pieces of appropriately tagged luggage placed on a conveyor belt in Cairns, Australia, will emerge on the carousel at Minneapolis having defied all the possibilities of getting lost during 3 intermediate changes of aircraft.

When I think of the 200 million dollar price tag of a B747, and the operating costs, I am amazed that Qantas actually makes any profit at all when Mrs GOF paid just A$50 for each hour she was airborne.

Considering all the wonders outlined above, why then did science fail to prevent the two passengers sitting on either side of her on the return Minnesota to Phoenix sector from being infectious with the common cold?

Before old GOF does any International air travel he will require two things to happen;

1. The installation of "contagion scanners" in airport boarding
     lounges which will instantly vaporise any inconsiderate disease-
     ridden passengers attempting to sneak on board.

2. To prevent my life of contentment being compromised by suicide
     bombers, annoying, or even just mildly irritating
     people, every passenger seat shall be fitted with ejector
     technology as perfected in fighter planes.

    The remote control module containing all 350 red buttons will be
    resting on my lap for the entire duration of the journey.


    If I pot up a few extra plants in my nursery this week I might be able to afford one of these;

                                        In my eyes, the most beautiful aircraft ever built.

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