Stepping off my Malaysia airlines flight yesterday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I discovered that I have hit a milestone. I have flown just over 4,000 hours in my life. According to Flightmemory, this is five and a half months I have sat inside tubes of metal. To be extra nerdy, I have flown the equivalent of 71 times around the earth or seven times the distance to the moon.
Coincidentally, in the next month, I will celebrate a half century of flying. My first flight was, as a very young child from Kirkwall, Orkney in Scotland in a Britten-Norman Islander with Loganair in July, 1968. This video filmed two years after my first flight gives you an idea of what flying was like then.
Loganair, Scotland’s airline is still flying (31 of the 101 airlines I have traveled with have gone):
My romance with flying has not diminished.
There is something magical about the roar of the engines, the climb away from earth, the views from the window as you fly over cities, mountains and water.
From Abu Dhabi to LondonI like bright day flights and dark night trips when the stars are twinkling overhead and one sees great world cities as dots of light. The cliffs of Sydney, Mt Fuji, deserts of the USA and the skylines of London, New York and Paris are all stamped in my brain from flyovers.
Finally, there is still a thrall as the plane drops down into a new city or new country. Yeah, I am hooked.
In my lifetime, I have been lucky to have started flying with short range propeller planes and am now experiencing large long distance mega jets such as Airbus A350s and A380s.
Sure, there are also things that irritate me about flying, the biggest of which is the de-personalisation of flying. Flying did feel more friendlier and less frenetic a few decades ago but I do not subscribe to the popular mantra that there was some magical good old days era of flying.
Thank you to all of the flight crews, attendants and security personnel who have helped me get safely to 4,000 hours of flying. See you aboard!
(I have been to 75 countries but the other 20 were by bus, train, car, ship and foot)
- Is Flying getting worse or better? Reflections on four+ decades of airflights
- Seven things I have learnt from flying 2.5 million KM
- Will I keep flying?
- How I got hooked on Flightmemory.com