Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's celebrate the freedom of flight

At a time when hundreds of miserable anti-flying protestors are descending on Heathrow airport at it's most busiest time of the year, hell bent on causing disruption - I think it’s high time we start to combat such eco-puritanism by celebrating our freedom to fly

As far as I’m concerned, what I’ve always found completely astonishing, is the fact that a machine of such size, weight and power, can transport me over great distances, at such high speeds, in the most inhospitable environment, with such safety, and at such a cheap price - that, in mine eye, can never be 'unethical', on the contrary, to me, that is nothing short of a miracle.

I’m constantly struck by how blasé most people appear to be when it comes to aviation safety, coupled with their low prices. I was at Heathrow airport only a week ago waiting for my £54 return flight to Shannon airport in Ireland with my fiancée, we always grab a coffee at the Costa Coffee, then sit by the windows so we can read, or watch the planes land. I’m constantly astounded each time I see one of those giant machines come swooping down from the clouds and touching down so smoothly on the runway.

I always find it heartening to know that modern flying has developed into the safest form of mass travel known to mankind. Indeed, the Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, Patrick Goudou reassured his audience at a recent EU/US International Aviation Safety Conference in Prague that ‘aviation remains the safest mode of travel’. The latest safety report from the International Air Transport Association also confirms that when aviation safety is concerned, Western-built jets are amongst the safest in the world with only one accident per 1.5 million flights – that is certainly a tremendously low accident rate by any stretch of the imagination, especially for something as complex as flying.

Even after having to endure all of Heathrow’s strict and tedious security procedures, nothing it seems can be more thrilling than the moment when your jet arrives at the runway, the engines are put into full thrust and you accelerate to a speed of 160 mph in three seconds flat, and off you go. Even though I might only have a rudimentary understanding of the science involved in flying, I still find myself astounded by the sight of the disappearing ground at Heathrow, and the rapid approach of the clouds – I think it’s about as close to miraculous as it will ever get.

Happy holidays to you all!

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At 3:31 PM, Blogger Graf von Straf Hindenburg said...

Freedom to fly. Freedom to go down in a smoking heap when the tailfin of the Airbus sheers off.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Roland Dodds said...

I hear you on this Courtney. I have recently taken a flight from California to Korea, and it still puts me in awe of how incredible and amazing it is to get around the world in so little time. If they want to roll back progress and freedom like that, those activists can count me out.

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Courtney Hamilton said...

I wonder what the journey to Korea from California would have been like before the advent of the aviation industry?

Long, grim and miserable comes to mind...

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Gabriel said...

I like your blog and I feel we share sufficient common ground for a link to each others blogs to be mutually beneficial.If you agree to link then please contact me at 'An Unrepentant Communist'

on the commments page of the current post,and I will immediately link your blog to mine.Looking forward to hearing from you.

Gabriel in County Kerry Ireland

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I'd say re-envent airplanes. Trouble is some innovations were hesitated, because of the wing sizes. Apparently more more efficient thermic wind airplains that are slower but require less engine power, of the size that could carry passengers would have almost double the wing size.. so on that note we need bigger not smaller airports???

Also since hydrogen engines were mainly an issue with size of the engine, how far are we from thesafe hydrogen powered airplane (I understand that so far it is expensive to produce hydrogen and often uses petrol powered methods but it could be sorted once it is mass produced)...


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