I love flying and I have done ever since I was a boy.
Date: May 28th, 2007 12:05:53 am - Subscribe
Has flying been unfairly demonised?
Indeed, I still remember the day a friend of mine brought an impossibly exotic treasure into our primary school classroom. It was one of those plastic packets of miniature “travel essentials” from some now defunct airline – Pan American or BOAC.
I can’t remember exactly what it contained – nylon socks, an eye-shade and a perfumed face wipe in a foil wrap perhaps. That wasn’t the point. What made my friend’s little plastic package so fabulous was that it was proof that my friend had actually flown in a plane.
It was three years before I flew for the first time – a family holiday to Morocco when I was about 10. Of course I’ve flown hundreds of times since then – most recently on my Mission to Mumbai – but I still enjoy every flight.
My problem is that a year of carbon-counting as Ethical Man brought home just what an environmental disaster flying is – my family’s one trip to the Canaries last year created as much carbon as a year of driving our car.
That’s why I’ve posed my deliberately provocative question. I want to know if it is possible to fly with a clear conscience.
So here’s the good news: when you look at the numbers, modern jet aeroplanes are actually a very efficient form of transport.
Indeed, the jet engine is one of the most effective ways to convert the energy from fuel into thrust. The best jets are 37 per cent efficient. By contrast it seems modern petrol engines are around 25 per cent efficient while a finely tuned diesel will achieve, at best, 32 per cent efficiency.
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