Dec 11, 2011

My Love for Airplanes

The typical scenario starts like this: I enter the room / office / waiting lounge to meet the parent and my patient. Boys will either have model airplanes, trains, or cars; girls, dolls? After the introduction I will ask Mum if little guy is into planes / trains / cars. I always knew the answer - model planes / trains / cars are to boys as Barbies are to girls.
It didn't strike me as obvious until recently when I reflect upon my love for airplanes and aviation. I think I found the reason why. Guys' enthusiasm toward transportation is deep-rooted in our nomadic genes - our early relationship with nature when males hunt and fight wars in faraway places, necessitating a skill to select modes of transport. Before technology, we had the knights, camel riders across Sahara, and the Siberian huskies. Now, we had land rovers, bullet trains, and numerous Boeings and Airbuses.
I am an aircraft guy. You tell me 3 key information - how many engines the aircraft has, whether the wings have winglets, the arch of the tail - I can tell you the model of the aircraft. I'm those guys who stare at planes like perverts who stare at prostitutes. So you can imagine the happiest day during my vacation is when we are at the airport.
To me, an aircraft symbolizes freedom. To see a 200-tonne aircraft take off powered by four relatively tiny engines around the wings - the deafening roar as it soars across thin air, breaking borders and connecting continents. The people within, safely cocooned in their seats, waking up to exotic destinations as St Petersburg, Sao Paolo, Tel Aviv - some names we can't even pronounce properly. It's more than a technological marvel when you recall the first controlled flight by the Wright brothers took off a mere 108 years ago.

Thanks to rocketing jet fuel prices, sleek aerodynamics and minimalist interiors are in trend nowadays. However, aircraft design had gone through decades of revolution to arrive at its generic today. The lift of an aircraft comes from continuous movement of air through its wings. In short, an aircraft has to keep moving forward to stay aloft - and I think it's true for human beings as well to keep moving forward.
The power of flight enriched our lives tremendously - sun-kissed oranges from California, Norwegian salmon, Darjeeling tea, freshly harvested the day before, arrive at our tables during dinnertime. Airplanes made our world a little smaller, and us a lot more adventurous. Quoting a British Airways ad "transforming strange names from tall tales into pictures of postcards home."
Finally, though some argue against the romance of travel (in a steamship), airplanes made traveling so much faster and connected the world with endless possibilities. Before, a trip from London to Sydney takes about 3 months. Now it can be completed in less than 24 hours. It gave us our southern summer when the northern hemisphere is covered in hail; flew us to ski resorts during summer vacation; and brought closer distant families separated by borders and time zones. It opened our eyes and indigenized the foreign.
And that's my boyish love for aircrafts. Whenever some loveless person asks me to explain why I'm so insane about it, I can't express it in a few words within their attention span. It is more than a crush, it is genetically embedded within adventurous guys like me.
I end this with an excellent BA ad depicting my love.


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