Saturday, December 12, 2009

On the turn-around....

I’m now nearly done with the second flight, being about to start the decent into LAX. One thing I never get tired of is seeing another plane go by while in flight. When you’re flying it’s easy to forget that you’re actually moving incredibly fast, and its only with the perspective of another plane traveling also incredibly fast the other direction that one can really appreciate it. This was brought to mind as a topic to write about because about 4 hours ago, I looked out my window and thought,

“Wow….that was a close one.”

I’d glanced just in time to see a Virgin America jet (yes close enough that I could read the icon on the empennage) headed north cross our path just ahead of us, and at roughly the same altitude. It was definitely closer than I’ve ever seen another passenger jet while flying.

For the sake of the system, I only hope that no one was really asleep down in Air Traffic Control, and that it was actually a carefully planned near encounter. For my own mental ease, I also hope the people in the cockpit weren’t also thinking what I was. I flashed to an image of an iPhone game I’ve gotten quite addicted to called “Flight Control.” It’s a simple concept, but a great time-waster. You are the air traffic controller, and have to land the red jets on the red runway, the yellow planes on the yellow runway, and the blue helicopters on the blue helipad….and the point is to avoid midair collisions. The inevitable conclusion is that at some point you will have a midair collision, ending the game. For this reason, I take secret pleasure in playing it while in-flight and hoping the person next to me is wondering what I’m doing.

I suppose I could now insert a very serious discussion of how our current system of air traffic control is outdated, and why we should be worried, and so on. However, that seems wrong to write while I’m relying on them doing the best with what they have… and I think they’re about to tell me to “turn off and stow any electronic devices for the remainder of the flight,” so the lecture will have to wait.

In other news, I walked off of my last flight directly after Brooke Shields. She’s really quite tall.

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