Friday, April 23, 2010

Addicted To Speed

Yesterday was Earth Day. At the same time, airports across Europe are reopening for normal operations after the volcanic dust in the atmosphere from the Icelandic volcano has subsided somewhat. The silence here was noticeable. The noise of jets in a city is part of the normal background noise, but here often, it is the only artificial noise.
Yesterday, we noticed the resumption of flights over our house.

I read that the CO2 levels had dropped dramatically in the last week. The effect was more dramatic than after 9/11 because more flights were affected. 
You have to stop and think about how addicted we have become to the instant gratification of speed. We take it for granted that we can hop on a plane and be any where on the planet in a matter of theory.

I have to admit that I fly a few times a year but, I am always searching for the cheapest flights and the idea of instant travel, unless you can afford it is never as easy as it seems.
The stress of making connections, layovers and waiting, flight cancellations and other variables can turn a normal flight into an ordeal. The experience of travellers this week put it into perspective for many. You surrender your reality to the airlines, stress, security and waiting. You enter a twilight world of aeroports, the milling crowds of massive travellers herding from one fast food counter to another trying to fill the time betyween flights.

Why can't we do something else? Three words: Bring Back Blimps.
This article was in yesterdays New York Times with a great photo essay on modern lighter than air vessels. The technology has advanced very far since the Hindenberg. Low environmental impact, passive energy and silence could make for a very enjoyable trip.

1 comment:

steve said...

The airline industry is so exposed to fluctuations in fuel prices that they are leading the way in biofuel alternatives. Biofuels are great for aviation because unlike cars and other forms of transportation, aircraft fuel usage is, and can be precisely calculated and planned for in advance. The fuel usage for a fleet of aircraft can be planned for months to years in advance, so precise amounts of fuel - say algae fuel, can be produced at fixed prices. It's the perfect fuel solution for aviation. There really aren't any other alternatives for aviation because of the limitations on weight, space, and aerodynamic efficiency.

But airship travel is a great idea as well for people who aren't in a hurry.