Wednesday, December 17, 2003

A lifetime of flight

A century on from Kittyhawk, people are still queueing up to do this thing.

My first flights were to and from Glasgow from London - what I was doing when JFK was shot was taking a BEA flight to Heathrow. My next flight was in late '65 as a £10 pom, 48 hour long-haul in a Vickers Viscount (a turbo-prob job), London-Kuwait-Columbo-Singapore-Perth, with the Columbo to Singapore leg going through (it couldn't go over) a tropical storm, with passengers praying in the aisles as we were thrown around, up and down, in the turbulence, the wings flapping, and some of the passengers helping a stewardess hold a mattress over the leaky seal of the rear cabin door.

The next time I flew was in 1985, a business trip to Rome. In the early 90's a number of short-haul flights to Amsterdam (starting with the Worldcon in 1990), and Paris (for transfer to rail and thence cycling holidays until the Eurostar was available - much more comfortable and convenient, and much less chance for luggage to get lost). 1992 Jordan and back to see Petra (and realising that I prefer to be in a developed country even on holiday), 1995 to Melbourn on business, 1996 New Zealand to see relatives, 1999 Dublin on business, 2001 and 2002 business trips to Florida.

I hope I can keep the number of flights down similarly over the next 40 years.

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