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Apologies, again, for a non-ultralight post…

And please excuse my slightly philosophical ramblings.

If you’re like me, you often watch the in-flight map on the screen in front of you when travelling internationally. And many times have I wondered just why we were flying over areas which are known hotspots.

Just 5 weeks ago, Sandra and I returned to the UK, on a Singapore Airlines flight. At the time there was some serious shooting going on in both Syria and Iraq. Nevertheless, the track took us over the southern part of Iran, into Iraq and then a little northwards, finally coming out near the Black Sea coast of Turkey. From there, across the Black sea, and over Bulgaria, I think.

When over southern Iraq, I noticed a fighter aircraft departing an airfield towards the north. What was his mission? Who knows. I was probably the only one with his window shutter open, watching. Such is the curse of the “somewhat knowledgeable” aviation passenger.

We were not too far from the Crimea, although safely out of range of surface-to-air missiles, but it did make me wonder how the world’s airlines decide where it is safe to fly. An article in today’s news suggests that there was a Singapore Airlines flight only 17 miles from MH17 when it was shot down.

Had the timing and the jetstream been slightly different, it could easily have been us.

A little over a year earlier, we were on a flight from Beijing to Amsterdam, and I recall passing to the north of a town in Russia where about 3 days later, a meteorite entered the atmosphere and disintegrated, resulting in a blast that caused over a thousand injuries. Just a matter of timing; lucky us.

Or there’s the time I departed Washington Dulles for Heathrow on a United Airlines flight. When? Sept 10, 2001, 8pm.

I have to say, I wish travel by ship was more affordable.

Happy flying ’til next time. Or maybe we should all stay on the ground?

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