It is a technological marvel that seems miraculous.
I sit in comfort at 40,000 feet halfway to Hawaii in a jet while those all around me are reading, sleeping, watching the movie, or doing whatever people do to while away the time to get to their destination. Everyone seems oblivious to the fact that we are all flying through the air at 575 mph. It's as if they have forgotten how this marvel of modern life came to be.
A quickie recap for those who may have forgotten:
Smart, determined individuals dug a mineral out of the ground and figured out how to make it into light but strong metal. They perfected alloys that were even stronger than the base metal itself.
Other smart, determined individuals designed funny-shaped boxes out of the metal to house people and their luggage. Yet other smart, determined individuals used these metal alloys to make the engines that power these "boxes." These engines produce unimaginable power with efficiency and unbelievable reliability.
It really is a crazy process when you extract it to its most basic elements.
After building these boxes, they fill them up with people and luggage; pour fuel in the wings, and these magnificent "boxes" fly over the horizon to deliver the passengers and their luggage to some far-off city. These people get off, more get on, more fuel is added and the contraption again heads out over the next horizon. This goes on thousands and thousands of times a day and yet we look at it a mundane and routine.
What has happenedto us? If this isn't a miracle come true, it's about as close as mankind has come to it. Phoenix to Hawaii in six hours? A century ago this trip would have taken almost a month.
I fly these fantastic machines and even I have to marvel sometimes. At the birth of aviation only a hundred years ago, who would have thought the safest way to travel would one day be by air? I have flown the Smithsonian Wright Flyer Simulator and found it nearly uncontrollable and totally underpowered by today's standards. I am glad that intelligent minds powered by wonder and hard-headed determination risked all to make this dream a reality.
That makes me wonder...what isnext?