Headline Dec 24, 2015/ ''' *ALL STUDENTS* : PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS '''



As we push back from our gate at Heathrow Airport we light the Boeing 747's engines in pairs, starting with those under the starboard wing.

A sudden hush falls in the cockpit as the airflow for the air-conditioning units is diverted. It's this, air alone, that begins to spin the enormous techno-petals of the fans-

Faster and faster, until fuel and  fire are added, and each engine wakes with a low rumble that grows to a smooth, unmistakable roar.

We begin to taxi. In legal terms, a journey begins when  
''an aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight.''  In aircraft manual, elaborate charts that recall  da Vinci's    ''Vitruvian Man''  illustrates the angles and distances the extremities of the plane sweeps through as we maneuver of the ground.

A pleasing terminology accompanies these images of the plane's turning limbs: tail radius and steering angle and the wingtip that swings the largest arc.

A quarter of an hour later we reach the runway.I push the four thrust levers forward for an experience that repetition hasn't dulled: 

The unfurling carpet of guiding lights that say here, the voice of the controller that says now; the sense, in the first seconds after the engines reach their assigned takeoff power, that this is only a curious kind of driving down on equally curious road.

But with speed comes a transition, the gathering sense that the wheels matter less and the flight control on the wings and the tail matter more. 

In the cockpit, we feel clearly that long before we leave the ground we are already flying along it, and as the lights of the runway start to alternate red and white to indicate its approaching end- 

As the four rivers of power that equal nearly a quarter of a million pounds of thrust unfurl over the runway behind us, I lift the nose.

As if we are only pulling out of a driveway, I turn right, toward Tokyo.

We are underway. 

When someone I've just met learns that I am a pilot, he or she will typically ask about my work. Three questions come up most often, in language that hardly varies: Is flying something I always wanted to do? Have I ever seen anything  ''up there''  that I cannot explain?

And do I remember my first flight?  I like these questions. They seem to have arrived, entirely intact, from a time before flying became ordinary. 

London,  now, is on my side of the cockpit. The gaze of the passengers on the right side may fallow the Thames as far as the North Sea. From the flight deck we see the Suffolk coast directly ahead of us-

A clean line of land's end that moves steadily down the aquarium-thick panes of the windshield as we climb and accelerate.

Land,.....not water, will predominate on this route to Tokyo  - a journey across all of Eurasia, the world's largest land-mass, bookended by the blue of the two seas.

But these first minutes over the North Sea are enough to remind that flying offers perhaps the last thing  an aspiring pilot would expect: a close experience of water.

About 70% of the world's surface is ocean. Much of the land that long-haul pilots work above is covered in snow or ice. At any given time roughly two-thirds of the Earth is covered in cloud. For many miles and hours in the sky -sometimes for nearly an entire flight  -water is the only thing we see.

It's routine from the cockpit to see storms form in real time, and from them the fall of new rain on the roof of the oceans, or to overfly the endpoints of glaciers-

Where shards of the ancient snow-glass tumble into the police-light blue of northern seas.

The Honour and Serving  of this beautiful view from the pilot's cockpit continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing and see you on the following one.

With respectful dedication to all the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world,  and travelers and passengers, who delight in air travels. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society:

''' Skyfaring '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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