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I have an unhealthy obsession with airplanes. But not for the reasons you might think. Call it slight claustrophobia, fear of heights or a healthy dose of control freakiness, I must confess that I’ve never really enjoyed being in the air… which is kind of a big deal considering I fly almost every other week.
It’s not that I have to pop out the Valium each time I fly, or that I go into a noticeable state of hyperventilation before takeoff and landing (it’s more of an inaudible one) it’s just that I’d rather not be inside a giant floating tube for a prolonged period of time. Like cage diving with Great Whites or free-diving to the darkest depths of the ocean… flying is an unnatural thing for humans to do. And yet we do it, because well you know… it gets us from A to B in far less time than a horse and carriage! So even though no matter how many times I fly and it doesn’t get any easier on those takeoffs, and even though I feel like swigging an entire vile of Bach’s “Rescue Remedy” drops to take the edge off before the seatbelt sign turns off, I still take every single one of my flights without so much as a grimace. Once on the plane, I sit quietly in my aisle-seat like a Japanese Zen-Master going through an earthquake and I suck it up, why? Because the end really does justify the means for me – experiencing and writing about new and exotic places is worth a bit of mental discomfort.
BUT anyway I digress… Air Crash Investigation addict – yes – back on topic. So I know what you’re thinking. You’re like why on earth would she be obsessed with air crashes if she isn’t the best flyer? Well, it’s simple really, I’ve found a tiny bit of respite from my fear of flying in finding out every single thing there is to know about airplanes. And I mean absolutely everything: The sounds, the smells, the noises, what the cabin air should be pressurised to, the maximum crosswind speed a Boeing Dreamliner can land in (it’s around 35 knots by the way) shit, if I went for my pilot-license I could probably be able to fly the damn monstrosities too…okay maybe not.
Enter Air Crash Investigation. This television show is a godsend for understanding the inner workings of planes, and of course the historic albeit tragic plane crashes that have altered the aerodynamic world forever more. It’s kind of like the fear theory – human beings are obsessed with what they are afraid of, why else would the horror film genre be so lucrative? Anyway, I strangely feel a little bit safer after every episode of Air Crash Investigation I watch, equipped with the confidence that modern-day engineering and regulation has learned from past mistakes.
I’m also utterly obsessed with Take Off Tube. And if you know what that is then you’re probably just as deranged about airplanes as I am. Let’s be friends.
I’ll leave you with an epic video of crosswind landings at Dusseldorf on an icy runway.
Over and Out.