Tuesday, September 25, 2007

plane crazy

Like many people I'm a slightly nervous flyer. But, to be fair, I always manage to get on the plane, though I'm usually a bit happier about it if I've managed to get myself outside a couple of drinks first. But, I have to say, the sight of a plane like this one (it's a BAE-146) might disturb my fragile equilibrium, regardless of how many Bloody Marys I've put away.

Why, you ask? Well, look! It's got the wings on the top! Oh, look, I'll explain. You've got your plane, right. Which has big old jet engines attached. And those engines are attached to the wings. So in a very real sense it's the wings which are the bit doing the actual flying; everything else is just along for the ride, as it were. Including the bit you, the passenger, sit in (i.e. the fuselage). And how are the wings attached to the fuselage? I'll tell you. Glue. No, seriously. Glue. Pretty strong glue, granted, not just a couple of dabs with a Pritt-Stick, but still.

That being the case wouldn't you rather be perched on top of the wing area, rather than hanging off it? I mean, imagine the glue fails. In the "on top" scenario, you're balanced on top, i.e. still potentially OK unless you go into some sort of nose dive. In the "hanging off" scenario you're plummeting groundward, still clutching your non-anaphylactic packet of faux-peanuts. And it's not even like the wings can fly blithely on to execute a perfect landing at Gatwick, 'cos the wheels are attached to the fuselage. In fact they're probably poking out of some orifice freshly torn in your mangled corpse shortly after the whole thing pancaked into the ground.

I should point out I have been on a BAE-146, once, in New Zealand, flying from Queenstown via Christchurch to Auckland with the good people of Qantas New Zealand. And we didn't die, so that was nice.

Speaking of glue, how is it that we can muster the awe-inspiring technology required to put a man on the moon, but we can't manage to prevent Copydex smelling of fish?

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