Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Beauty and Banality of Air Travel

The flight home from Vancouver to London Heathrow

I recently had the privilege of travelling from Newcastle Airport in the UK all the way to Vancouver to attend the ASME Turbo Expo.  It is amazing to me that you can get from one side of the world to the other in a mere nine and one half hours, travel at over five hundred miles an hour, in air that is too cold and too thin to breath, over inhospitable terrain, around treacherous weather and the thing that most concerns people is what is on the telly.

I appreciate that leaving the seat back TVs do not have enough contrast to be seen clearly if the shades are open, but you are missing on some wonderful views and it is a bit of shame that the flight attendants come around and ask for the window shades to be closed.

Now I know I’m something of an aviation geek – I do turbines for a living after all – but I’d like to see much more on the moving map than just the altitude and the ground speed.  There really ought to be a mode where you can see most of the key flight information: yaw, pitch, various airspeeds, rate of climb and a nice high definition camera looking out the front, back and sides of the plane.  Until then I will just have to annoy people by walking up to the emergency exit door and pulling the window shade up…

Incidentally Air Canada gets the thumbs up: reasonable legroom, comfortable seat, nice TV and o.k. food.  Personally I like a chatty flight crew but the ones on the way back were a bit quiet but perhaps being an overnight flight they wanted to let people sleep…  Speaking of Air Canada I’ve been enjoying the blog of Captain Doug Morris, you should too.