NPF: FEAR OF FLYING

Posted in No Politics Friday on December 7th, 2012 by Ed

I've been doing a lot of flying lately and it never fails to amaze me how uneventful flying within the continental U.S. is these days. Considering that we put our bodies in a metal tube and accelerate them to several hundred miles per hour before landing them with great precision in a different area code, it's remarkable that the modern airliner, airport, and airline pilot have turned this into a procedure one can easily sleep through. I almost feel cheated on occasion, after a particularly tranquil flight. What the hell, airline – I was supposed to feel the thrill of a near-death experience!

Maybe I should take a flight into the lovely Caribbean island of Saba. Not a great place to overshoot the runway, guys.

Or maybe you like the sensation of praying that you've picked up sufficient airspeed before plunging off the side of a mountain at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal (at 9500 feet). Or you could land there, realizing that one end of the runway is a giant mountain. So it's like landing on an aircraft carrier, but without the option of a go-around.

Perhaps flying an airborne obstacle course (including a last second 50-degree turn) to land in the bottom of a steep valley is more your thing – Tegucigalpa, Honduras might be a neat destination for you. If you have a spare set of clean undergarments handy, try watching the cockpit view of landing at this death trap. Read about what's involved in the landing here.

Maybe that's all too exotic and you want the simple pleasure of hair-raising crosswinds at a major airport. Try Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport for the unique experience of landing sideways.

If you're anything like me, these videos will help you appreciate your next 1:25 into Newark just a little bit more.