Can you guess the 5 busiest airports in the world last year in terms of passenger movements? They're listed at the bottom of this news item:
A news story about growing congestion in the skies.
And here is the Flight Aware view of the current air traffic situation over JFK in New York.
The title of this blog comes from my first observation after test-flying my home-built aircraft: "The wings stayed on!" And later I realized that life is often like that. We are continually faced with new adventures. And though we study and train and prepare as much as we can, finally we have to launch and put all this preparation to the test. And unexpected things still happen. As the bumper sticker says, Life Happens. And we deal with it - hopefully with a good dose of humour and hope. And if the "wings stayed on!" well at least that's the main thing. And everything else is just details.
My stories are usually drawn from looking back over my career, which thankfully has been pretty dull. Trust me. When flying a commercial airliner, boring is good. You wouldn't like exciting... So don't expect many stories about engines exploding, and wheels falling off, and cabins catching fire. Though that kind of stuff goes on, thankfully, it hasn't been my experience. My stories are the more mundane things, the little things that inhabit real life.
And while mundane is the reality of modern airline flying, still it's an amazing feat, a dramatic and dynamic accomplishment that we shouldn't take for granted. Perhaps day-in, day-out our world-wide airline industry represents our civilizations' most complex achievement. And though it has become mundane we should never forget that the real drama lies in the times when these bigger disasters are too close for comfort. The times when some small factors could produce seriously different outcomes.
Sometimes all the calm around you is an illusion -- a little like the movie Jurassic Park where the investors are touring the not-quite-ready-for-opening facility, while the technicians thrash away at command central, trying to keep everything together - trying to keep up the facade that it's all under control. But if it is, it's not by much.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Like everyone in the airline industry who's blogging, I'm hoping to write a book, and I'm practicing on you folks. I'm always trying to hone my story-telling skills so if you have any comments please leave them. Also, please respect the copyright thing.