I often wonder how things affect the way I live. In particular something like aviation. We tend to think of it as a means of transport and of course it is. But how much of a role does aviation actually play in our lives?
Let’s first look at just one aircraft. Take the Boeing 737. First introduced in the early 1960s, this plane has been in service pretty well constantly since then. Naturally, there have been modifications. Slight tweaks and changes to improve performance and safety. This is no different than other aircraft. Consider this: there is a Boeing 737 taking off somewhere in the world every FIVE SECONDS. Take that in for a moment. Remember, this is just one make of aircraft! These are not company figures but data gathered from reliable air traffic movement sources
Look at your television daily. I guarantee you will see an image of a Boeing 747 – or a jumbo jet as it is more popularly known. Now, these things move between 400 and 500 people at time over distances of thousands of kilometres every day.
Now I have given examples of two of the more popular aircraft in the world today. Aircraft we are familiar with and ones that if we travel occasionally, we are likely to use for both short and long haul journeys.
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Let’s take a look at another way that aviation could affect us all. Most hospitals today have facilities to land helicopters. These fantastic machines are used for a number of things in a normal daily lives. The one to which I refer is the lifesaving machine that transports an unfortunate patient from say a road accident in the fastest possible way, therefore cutting down the time before the patient receives treatment.
We also come across the helicopter – quite often daily – when we travel freeways to and from our places of work. They monitor traffic conditions and congestions and are able to report to the appropriate authorities, if there is a need to send emergency vehicles in the event of road problems.
More and more, private aircraft are taking to the skies. Companies invest in air transportation as a way to alleviate the problem of traffic snarl ups and rail congestion. They are no longer the toys of the rich, but a logical means of conducting business in a quick and efficient way.
I have referred principally to the topic of aviation in our daily lives and in particular civil aircraft. However, we do not realise that we are always being protected by military aircraft that patrol our skies. Often we do not hear or see them – but they are there, or at least I hope so.
Day after day we have military aircraft taking off and landing somewhere in the world, often not taking part in military exercises, but in fact performing humane acts like delivering food to needy nations and flying much needed medicines and other supplies to different parts of the world.
As an avid aviation admirer, I must say that it doesn’t cross my mind very often just how much aviation does intrude into our lives, but technology and other advancements have made them virtually indispensable.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Aviation