Beijing - 1

I’ve stepped inside the fan casing of jumbo-jet engines.

I’ve worked inside a airport hangar carrying out maintenance on large commercial aeroplanes.

I’ve studied the theory of flight mechanics and structural forces experienced during flight.

What I haven’t done, is flown on a long haul aeroplane.

And boy, was I in for a shock. They were big — really big. As an engineer and having only been on smaller aeroplanes (your typical EasyJet short haul job) , it was quite a change.

There were a few things I noticed about the plane and flight:

/ It took a long time to reach take off speed (I can see why you need a long runway).

/ You get food and drink for free (On reflection this is obvious seeing as you are on the aeroplane for such a long time)!

/ There is a reason it’s called a ‘long haul’ flight (After the initial excitement of takeoff, it started to get boring…Sleeping was intermittent, the seats were cramped and my in-flight entertainment was temperamental).

/ After takeoff (My favourite part), it was a waiting game until landing (My second favourite part).

/ Not just from an engineer’s point of view, it is impressive how such a heavy object can be lifted to 39,000 ft (300,000 Kg ~300 Tonnes ~ 4000 of me).

There seems to be a lot of deflection in the wing….

I should probably mention I was heading to Beijing, China. I should probably also mention I’ve never left Europe; so this was big deal for me.