ONE of the most insightful responses to a Gulliver article was below the line of a post about air turbulence, and how flyers often overestimate its effects. The mysterious “guest-nialmnj” wrote:

No amount of fancy aeronautical engineering calculations can change the fact that the notion of any vehicle of such vast weight and size actually flying is patently absurd; planes are clearly kept aloft by sorcery and the collective (if misguided) belief of their passengers. This so-called turbulence arises when the faith of some of those passengers falters for a moment.

Gulliver lives just a few miles east of Heathrow on the flight path. He often sits in his garden and watches A380 jumbos fly overhead, less than a minute into their enchanted journeys to the Middle East or Asia. He knows guest-nialmnj to be a sage. Watching beasts as mighty as Airbus’s double-deck leviathan take to the air is enough to make one wonder at the laws of physics.

Alas, such a magnificent sight may well...Continue reading