In Flight

By David Lubbers · November 17, 2010 ·
lubbers

Apparently Dr. Golden is no stranger to travel.  I have not traveled much, and the traveling I have done was nothing like this.  We get to go through the sky priority line, and we are always among the first to board the plane.  If this weren’t enough, they gave Dr. Golden a free First Class upgrade.  He indicated it was nothing new, and gave me the upgrade.  I tried to resist the First Class charm.  I really did try. . .   In the end, Dr. Golden twisted my arm (literally) and I took the First Class upgrade.

Until it happened, I didn’t ever imagine a University arranging to have me flown half-way across the world.  When it did happen, I didn’t think for a second that I would be traveling First Class.  Ooh!  Free drinks!  Leg room!  Complimentary snacks!  The person in front of me can recline their seat AND I can type on my laptop at the same time.  Now that’s a good trick!

As we took off, I was fortunate to remember a seminar that Dr. Furse presented at.  She discussed the inability airlines have of performing regular testing on the wiring in aircraft.  Rather than performing regular testing, airlines have a tendency to build in triple redundant systems, so that the electrical system can fail, and can still function.  These primary systems occasionally fail, but without the notice of the passengers, nor the flight personnel.  With the redundancies, airline flight is still rather safe, but all in all it was still an unsettling thought.  I am not a squeamish flier, and our flight was uneventful despite my thoughts.

Unfortunately the lap of luxury is now gone.  SLC to LAX was fast and comfy, but it is now 2:41 local time and I am in a regular seat again.  I suppose I was lucky enough to end up sitting near Dr. Furse, and the seat between us somehow is empty.  The elitism I felt coursing through my veins as I exited earlier than anyone else is rapidly fading, and I am left here praying that the person in front of me chooses not to recline.  I must say, my first experience in First Class was a pleasant one.  Thank you, Dr. Golden!

Me on a planeWorking on the plane from LAX to Sidney 

9:44 AM local time, but it is still dark outside.  The skyline is starting to glow, so it should be getting light soon.  The passenger in front of me slept a bit, and apparently re-awoke with a better settled stomach.  I did sleep a little, but I have decided any further effort towards sleep will be wasted.  I have decided to watch an in flight movie to help speed the time, and am currently watching “Dial M for Murder.”  I am excited to get to Christchurch, NZ, so I can finally get some sleep in a real bed.  Unfortunately Christchurch is still hours away.

Although I am curious to see how the flight affects my schedule, I am more interested in seeing how our time in Antarctica will affect it.  This time of year Antarctica gets far more daylight than the rest of the earth (nearly 18 hours a day by a Google search.)  We have discussed trying to set ourselves on a schedule to ensure we sleep at appropriate times, as this will help our re-acclimation to the normal world.  It is tempting to use the extra daylight to squeeze in more measurements than would otherwise be possible, so we will have to wait and see if this temptation is resistible.

As we draw nearer and nearer to Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica, I grow more and more excited at the wonderment this new continent holds for us!

About the author

 

David Lubbers.
I am an undergraduate student in the Electrical Engineering department. I am currently working on my senior project, which will take me to Antarctica. I am very excited for this trip, and thankful for the University of Utah for helping make it happen!
For more of David’s adventures in Antarctica, check out the Photo Blog.
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