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Christmas 2014 078There is an amazing blend among brilliant engineers, skillful craftsman, highly trained pilots and a country that stands behind them all.  I had read about President Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One as a part of his Presidential Library display but I had no idea that it was on the inside.  When the doors opened and there it was I was impressed.

The wing tip was just out of reach.  But, the marvel of aeronautical physics was not elusive.  To imagine that so much metal and so much weight could actually fly was mind-blowing.

In this aircraft the President of the United States and his first family would swiftly travel from one key event to the next. Those who designed this aircraft did a great service to the Reagan’s.  Safety and efficiency are all over this airliner.  Its sleek appearance was also reflected inside in the accommodations.

What we do not see are the marvels of structure under the skin of this powerful airplane.  The electrical maze alone that was carefully crafted so that it would not only be dependable but also durable makes me shake my head in wonder.  Men and women who were very good at what they do, implanted their pride in the construction of this fine product.

Pilots and their crew were meticulously trained.  They would after all be the frontline to serve and protect the President of the United States of America.  Each of these personnel would be trustworthy, diligent workers and loyal to the nation and its highest office.

Jelly beans were prominent in the plane.  There was a cheer in Reagan’s life and those around him felt it, joined in on it and appreciated it.  For him personally the jelly beans helped President Reagan stave off the cravings from the habit of cigarette smoking that he had overcome but kept on keeping at bay.

Whenever I am in a jetliner and that massive amount of weight with equipment, structure and passengers takes off, I continue to marvel at the laws of physics.  God established them.  They are dependable.

When a special passenger is on board, we trust those same laws and the skills of those who follow those laws for a safe flight.  This display of Air Force One is a reminder of how important safety is, how trustworthy are the laws of God and how those who depend and obey Him will be blessed.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Laurentian 2008 060Our flights were booked. We have done this a lot in our lives. The airport is a part of our lives.

This trip was routine.  The airline industry has it down to a science.  They herd us in an orderly fashion to our seats.

Federal regulations crowd into the public announcement system before we take off.  An army of mechanics have worked over the aircraft, specialized air traffic controllers monitor our safe fight path and engineers are always working on improvements for the next generation of aircraft design.  In the mean time a highly trained cockpit crew run the controls and we are soon airborne.

It is odd to think about the phenomenon of flying.  Some passengers are fussing about luggage space.  They grouse to the attendants about extra charges and the inconvenience of being separated from their possessions.  Amazing!

“Hey, knucklehead, we are flying at 30,000 feet.  You do not have a parachute.  Your derrière is in a comfortable chair.”

Of course a baby screams.  People physiologically react by wincing, donning noise canceling headsets or leaning as far away from the sound as they can.  The poor parents are embarrassed and struggling, yet they flying through rarefied air and bringing their infant on board without hesitation. Amazing!

There is no other means that I personally have that hurtled my body at 500 mph in complete comfort than in an airliner.  It is difficult to imagine racing at that kind of velocity without strain or pain.  Yet, we do it every time we step into an aircraft with those familiar words, “Welcome aboard.”  Amazing!

Occasionally, I get a glimpse out the window.  The clouds are below us!  We are actually living above the clouds and looking at mountain peaks that stop or frustrate ground transportation.  Amazing!

Thirty minutes to our destination the pilot announces that we are entering into our initial descent.  We 100 miles away yet we are beginning our final approach.  Everyone is instructed to put away their carry-on items, shut down electronics and fasten our seat belts in preparation for landing.

That is 100 miles away from completing our journey.  Some people never even travel that far from home let alone get ready to finish their trip in 100 miles.  The expanse of this mode of transportation is amazing!

Flying is a stunning accomplishment.  God set up the laws of physics.  Men were bright enough to match adventure with observation and make something amazing now a part of our casual living.  It is amazing!

photo credit: brucefong photography

 

She has been safely transporting hundreds of thousands of locals to work every day.  Tourists from around the world have fond memories of connecting with her as well.  Commercial businesses have made loads of profits with her faithful service over the decades. 

She is the Bay Bridge, spanning the San Francisco Bay from Oakland to the city by the Bay.

Some might say that she is often overlooked because of her beautiful sister the Golden Gate Bridge.  That span is the hallmark of the city.  It is the destination of visitors by the thousands.

Yet, the mighty Bay Bridge carries off her function dutifully.  She looks good too when you pause long enough to gaze at her.   Once she was one of the longest suspension bridge in the world, at least that what I remember as a youngster. 

Treasure Island depends on her.  Commerce and residents alike file across the bridge and stop briefly on dry land.  Everyone makes a dogleg turn through the island tunnel before their final approach to either side of the Bay.

I sat at a table off the Embarcadero to enjoy the sunny view of the pristine Bay.  It was filled with tourists taking various boat rides, enjoying the food fare of the Ferry Building, taking in the might of the Financial District across the street or watching people, the most amazing collection of extremes that populate my city of San Francisco.  The entertainment value of my surroundings could be a book for a creative writer.

In the mean time I gaze passed it all and focused on the bridge.  She has two towers on my side of the watery expanse.  Each is perfectly symmetrical, engineered to stand straight and strong against the water, wind, weight and threats of weather oddities that the Creator might throw against it.

Gracefully, the suspension cables hide their strength behind the beauty of design.  Yet, engineers have not lost the power behind physics and construction to make this dependable bridge last the decades of wear and tear.  A slight arch of the roadway plays into the might that holds the dead weight, added weight and environmental stresses.

Routinely, the lives of thousands pass over this pathway with no hesitation.  That repeated 24/7 phenomenon is a remarkably grand spectacle in itself.  There is no hesitation.

So she stands, faithful and durable.  Around her the waters glisten and the clouds float by.  She is undistracted and simply fulfills her design.  She is a beautiful sight.

photo credit: brucefong photography

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