One of the things I love about being jammed into an aluminum can for 14 hours under conditions that can best be described as “petri dish” is that you can always look out the window, and see the glory of science. There it is, the only thing that’s keeping you in the air is that thin piece of aluminum, and the scientific principles that governed it’s design.
When you touch back down again, the air brakes flip up, the flaps go down, and you can see straight through the wing, exposing exactly how little material is there, holding you up. I’d imagine that in the new, composite-body 787, there’s even less material, and even cooler science. This 747-400 is getting to be an old plane, but it’s still an awesome testament to the power of science.
The “airplane wing out the window” shot is a bit hackneyed. In truth, it’s a dead horse that’s been beaten so hard it appeared in a music video lampooning Instagram. But I still am fascinated by the science that makes the wing work, and tip my hats to the armies of nameless engineers who are working toward making my next dip in the aluminum petri dish safer, shorter, cheaper, and perhaps, maybe(It’s a long shot, I know), more comfortable.