Appreciating aviation

Eight hours ago I was on the ground in Boston. Now I’m in a hotel room overlooking the an intersection in San Bernardino. It took five hours flat to get from Boston to L.A., and the balance to pick up a rental car and laze my way back eastward to the hotel, to set myself up in the room, post a reply to a comment over at Linux Journal, take a call, and start writing this.

The whole way west I looked out the window. It was smooth and mostly clear from coast to coast. Since I flew United, I could listen to cockpit chatter on Channel 9, and groove on how routinized aviation has turned the miraculous into the mundane. I’ve flown this route many times, almost always shooting pictures (some of them quite good, actually). Every flight I learn more, and use more of what I’ve learned about the land below.

I know when Lake Huron, Comb Ridge, Cane Valley, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley are coming up. I know how geologically new they all are, in spite of the ages of the rock that comprises them.

It boggles me that they always tell passengers to lower their window shades so others can watch some movie, when outside the window is a movie our ancestors would have paid limbs to see.

Anyway, I just don’t want to take life’s graces for granted. And flying, for me at least, is a big one.

5 comments

  1. Shawn Powers’s avatar

    It boggles me that they always tell passengers to lower their window shades so others can watch some movie, when outside the window is a movie our ancestors would have paid limbs to see.

    I just flew to Houston last week to meet the Linux Journal crew, and they did tell me to shut my shade so as not to interrupt the movie. I’d actually never been on a plane before, so I was absolutely horrified that I had to shut the shade. Thankfully, it was only on one of 4 flights during the trip.

    Like you, I was amazed at the seemingly mundane feat modern aviation has become.

  2. Larry Bouthillier’s avatar

    I always ignore the request to lower my shade so people can watch the movie. What about my “movie”? Like you, Looking out the window IS my movie, and it’s not nearly as inane as much of the airplane-movie fare that typically shows on the flight. I’m a grown-up, I’ve flown a bazillion times, and I still can’t seem to ever get enough of the view out the window. Totally captivating every time.

  3. Hanan Cohen’s avatar

    Reminded me of this: “Look outside the window. The graphics are amazing.”

  4. Espen’s avatar

    Agreed, especially flying over the Rockies or the Grand Canyon or Greenland or my favorite – the coast of south Viet Nam. Why anyone would prefer that over watered-down least common multiplier Hollywood fare is beyond me.

  5. Robin Capper’s avatar

    I don’t fly much in the US, thanks to living in New Zealand, but prefer United as like Channel Nine. Do other airlines offer it? Why not?

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