Aviation In Canada

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Aviation TV Show

I caught a piece of a show on Outdoor Life Network (one of my favorite networks, thanks to programs about mountain biking) called The Flight. It ran at 4:00pm AST for one hour. The show detailed a flight from Toronto to Frankfurt, catching some glimpses on the inside as well. They presented an interesting comparison of views.

You're a passenger aboard a B767. The seat gets rather cramped on the ~7 hr flight, the movie gets old. As an airline passenger, you're not terribly happy anyway, but now you're trying to catch some sleep in an upright position on an airliner as you cross the North Atlantic -- a feat completed in about 34 hours by Lindberg, but now you'll do it in less than a quarter of the time. You feel alone as you look out the window at the dark sky and the featureless ocean below. Little do you know how far from alone you are...

Other than the passengers in the seats around you, the flight attendants and the pilots, there are many others watching over you. The dispatchers planned every aspect of your flight before you even got to the airport. They watched the weather, examined possible routes and planned the load factors for the aircraft. The flight plan was processed by specialists in Nav Canada who keep the computer systems fed with data. The air traffic controllers in the tower, various ATC enroute facilities (like mine!) and those over the ocean kept a watchful eye on your flight, and the 300 others around you over the ocean, all going the same direction to make connections in Europe by daybreak. The airport authorities are the ones who kept the runways clean and free of FOD, the lights at the airport serviceable and the NAVAIDs to help guide your plane through the fog are looking out for your safe arrival. The maintenance techincians kept the whole thing running, from the airport grounds to the ATC facilities to the airplane you're flying in. And don't forget the ramp handlers that looked after your plane at the gate and handled your luggage.

It's not just you counting on your flight's safe arrival, but the many men and women all over that get involved in the movement of your airplane that you don't even think about, and rarely hear about.