Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Upon Which I Muse About Flying at 38,000 Feet

Since we've recently done some traveling I have a couple notes about flying at 25,000 to 38,000 feet.
  • It's a mite cold up there. On a recent trip instead of an inflight movie the monitors were showing the status of our flight. I was reading a book but now and then I would glance up to view our altitude, air temp, ground speed. At one point I noticed we were about 28,000 feet and the air temp was -40 C, which coincidentally, translates to a -40 F. The temp can get much colder than that as experienced by this hapless man who stowed away aboard a recent Delta flight to Tokyo.
  • It's a mite high up there! On our recent flight the pilot announced we were at 38,000 feet. That is over 7 miles! On a clear day you can see the geography over which you are flying, recognize cities and towns, differentiate between fertile crop ground and arid desert. It makes you realize how infinitesimally small we are in relation to the size of the universe. And yet God sees us as his beloved creatures.
  • Flying makes me realize how "wealthy" the average American really is. For a small portion of one's annual income (how much depends on where you are on the economic scale) one can be served by a tremendously expensive aircraft AND crew. Think about how rich you are! A hundred years ago not even the richest of the rich had access to today's flying experience nor the ability to fly half way round the world in a matter of hours.
  • Clouds are strange things. I can't even begin to tell you how lovely it is to fly above the cloud level with blue sky overhead and clouds below. It astounds me that with a ground speed of 550 mph, the clouds seem to be in slow motion as they float past the tip of the wing. It's as if they think this is just a lazy summer jaunt. Wouldn't you think they would be whipping by like telephone poles at 60 mph on some old highway? But, no, they seem to float in the air and fluffily glide by the window. I wonder how they can be so slow and I am moving so fast!
  • Speaking of clouds...go see Estelle's photos over at That's Life. Pretty interesting.
  • Jet lag never bothers me. But what seems terribly strange is that one moment I am in one place and then in the next moment (actually hours later) I am in a new place and the first place almost instantly feels like long ago. And, naturally, far away.
  • If you are afraid to fly? You're missing a fascinating experience.


Karen said...

I actually don't like to fly. But I do it, and each time I step into the plane, I silently say a tiny prayer just as my foot touches the threshold, and I board that massive, aluminum, structure. Once inside, I am never really relaxed until the plane comes to a complete stop - at our destination... But I do it all over again, each time I fly, because I love the final destinations!

I envy those people who look so incredibly at ease on flights!

Elle Bee said...

What was that man thinking?! Oh my goodness, that was not a smart thing to do.
I get nervous on airplanes, but I do okay. My father is a pilot so I should think I'd have some faith in those metal birds!

Bill said...

One of my favorite places to be.

As long as I've got a window. And there is not a huge person sitting next to me.

What's really great is to have three empty seats. That's better than first class, because you can stretch out over all three.

gvandyk said...

Flying at altitude is great, but so is low level flying. I loved flying in helocopters at 3000' or in the case of the rockies, flying just above the montains. It is a whole new perspective on God's creation. The real seeing of the earth smallness was the Apollo astronauts pictures from the moon. Even all creation apears big to us, but we must remember God is so much bigger yet. We see God's glory in creation, but God Himself is incomprehensable in His magnitude.

Kelly said...

Lovely cloud photos in the link you provided!

Interesting observations on flying.

Gregg said...

Great post! Wonderful observations. I really don't like to fly either. For the record, I am not afraid of death - it is the process that bothers me.