I’ve been thinking about the F5 LA trip, because of course I have. It was an important life event and emotionally very satisfying. Sure, it was expensive and hard work but the rewards far outweigh those matter of fact issues. On the way out to LA I had a window seat. I can’t help but look outside and constantly amaze myself at the views out there. I normally end up hurting my neck a little from keeping my head sideways. Here’s one of the Inner Hebrides:
I am, also, very obsessed with aircraft and the processes of those aircraft. It’s utterly fascinating to be part of this global communication machine and to experience the weirdness and solitude of flying in an aluminium can at 36,000 feet above the ocean. It’s weirder still when everyone is asleep. The flight to LA was during the day time and so the biggest issue was working out how to spend the eleven hours. I read my current book and also watched a few episodes of Ghosts from the BBC. I also listened to podcasts and rested quite a bit. I knew I would be required to stay awake until my morning time and so putting my brain into standby for a few hours would be helpful for that. I had some podcasts which I don’t mind missing and so listened to them while I shut down. Using my Bose noise cancelling headphones was also quite important as it helped to shut out the constant background noise of flying.
The landing into LAX was so smooth that I honestly didn’t feel the touchdown. I was impressed. It turns out that the flight attendants were impressed too because they actually commented on how smooth and easy the landing was after we had landed. Either that or they were all shagging the pilot.
The flight home was slightly more bumpy than heading out but at least the aircraft wasn’t full and I had a row of two seats to myself. This made sleeping and moving around much easier. I could have moved to a three seat row but I was happy. The flight back was through the night, we took off at around 1800 LAX and landed the next day at 1130 LHR. It was a nine hour flight, the jet stream really helping us on the way back. I did my best to sleep/standby for most of the flight but I also kept an eye on the UK time so that I could try and force my body into the day routine for home. The problem with aircraft night time is that it often isn’t actually night outside and everyone keeps the window sliders shut. This isn’t good if you are super keen to look out of the windows just to see stuff. Whenever I opened the blind a crack it seemed that fury of all the suns in the sky was lighting up the cabin!
I listened to a few episodes of The Skeptics Guide To The Universe and dozed most of the way home. I was hoping to see something of the northern lights but I did not. The weather coming back to the UK was not great and so the view outside was just clouds for most of the trip. I found it curious during the small turbulence we felt. Here we were, about a hundred people, all trying to sleep as though it’s normal to be travelling at 500 knots in air temperature of -50C about 36,000 foot above the sea. Here’s a video taken of the view from starboard as we approached Heathrow, spot Twickenham stadium.
This is communication number 2012 and as has been recent tradition here are some things that happened in that common year:
- The London Olympics
- Costa Concordia runs aground off Italy.
- Curiosity lands on Mars.
- Felix Baumgartner is the first person to break the sound barrier without mechanical assistance.