Donner peak and Mt. Jonah

I started writing this on a flight back from California’s SFO over to Detroit’s DTW, from which I will go to Toronto’s YYZ.

I love flying, and I love airports. I am a bit surprised at how rare it is to find someone who enjoys flying and airports as much as I do. Airports are always buzzing and humming, and they are great for people-watching. I can’t think of a place that can match airports on the diversity of people and the sense of going-places.

Airports are also where you go to see one of the best demonstrations of how much human spirit and ingenuity kicks ass.

We put together these gigantic contraptions that weigh hundreds of thousands of tons1 and break every human intuition about physics. These magnificent machines then barrel down a runway sounding and feeling like they’re ripping themselves apart, then take off and fly for hours; many hours if we wanted.

And we do it with incredible reliability and safety. Flight is the safest form of mass transportation, and it is done with a machine that has thousands of screws, nuts, bolts, tubes, pipes, hydraulic systems, all of which endure incredible forces and conditions to keep you and the couple of hundred other humans alive as you roar your way through the atmosphere at 30,000 feet watching “Pitch Perfect 2” as you charge your iPhone through the USB port on the seat in front of you. *catches breath from that run-on, but it was worth it*

I have been on many flights since I was a little kid, but I still feel the thrill of every takeoff, and I still smile every time the plane rapidly accelerates up to the point when the nose goes up and you get just enough lift that you disconnect yourself from the earth.



  1. Forget the number, just replace it with “more than a human can imagine or intuit” ↩︎

The Recently posts are inspired by Tom MacWright.