It dawned on me one evening. I remember it exactly, we were approaching Denver, the sun was pretty much set and the sky was turning beautiful colors for the second half of our flight from LAX to MKE. I had just used the lav for a potty break since there was no way my bladder could hold it for a 3.5 hour flight with "unlimited soda and water" to the crew. The flight attendants gave me a tray of warm chocolate cookies and milk to take into the cockpit for the captain and me to enjoy for the remainder of the flight. I sat back down in my chair and began to enjoy the warm cookies, cold milk not to mention the view.
It was really the cookie and pretty awesome ground speed in the high 500's knots that threw me over the edge. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that the airplane delivering this experience was a machine. It was one of the first few times that I thought of the airplane as a machine. Its kinda strange to think about it this way. You may have your own airplane, or fly a fleet of airplanes but you get to know which is your favorite and least favorite. Each airplane even though the same model all fly incredibly different from the next. Its hard not to start thinking each airplane as its own person and having its own personality. Heck, in the EMB -170 a warning message that read " APM FAIL" - Corrective Action: "DO NOT TAKEOFF." I looked up what the "APM" was and by golly, it was called the airplane personality module. The airplane had a mother board in it giving it a personality! Holy smokes! Anyway, when push comes to shove, the airplane is a machine. It can take you across the country, keep you alive, allow you to use the washroom in it, keep a beverage hot or cold for you, bake a hot cookie, connect you to wifi, xm radio, or TV, cool you down or warm you up, all while keeping you on life support in the inhabitable conditions of lack of oxygen, extreme negative temperatures 6 miles above the earth all while hurling you along at 500-600 mph. If you think about it that way its pretty nuts. The airplane is a machine, but I'd like to think otherwise - Have you ever thought of your airplane as just a machine? - AL