I enjoy watching my fellow passengers whenever I decide to use an airliner to travel somewhere.  I wonder if they are feeling nonchalant or putting on an act about their attitudes about flying.  Consider that we’re at the mercy of a rather flimsy winged tube taking off and landing at a speed of around 140 knots or roughly 180 mph.  That vehicle may climb up to an altitude of 30,000 to 40,000 feet and cruise at around 480 knots or about 550 miles an hour.  It’s cold at that height, too, -35C or -31F.

I actually took notes once when one airline pilot announced the statistics over the public address speakers a few years ago. It was my way of facing my own trepidations of taking a flight from Chicago to Amsterdam.  The runways at Chicago looked like trenches dug out of several feet of snow. Ground conditions were snowy…

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