Saturday, 17 April 2010

Nature and technology

It has some kind of beauty to see that a volcano can stop quite a "solid" and sophisticated human activity, as flying.

The eruption of Eyjafjall volcano on Iceland on 14 April 2010 threw volcanic ash several kilometres up in the atmosphere which led to air travel disruptions in Northwest Europe on April 15-17, including the closure of airspace over most of Europe.

Only on friday the 16th, 17,000 flights, more than half of Europe's average 28,000 daily flights, had to be cancelled.

28,000 daily flights, just in Europe?.....that was the news.....but how many flights are there daily in the whole world?

This has been difficult to research on the net. According to NATCA, the US National Air Traffic Controllers Association, only in the US, more than 87,000 flights are in the skies on any given day. Only one-third are commercial carriers, like American, United or Southwest. On an average day, air traffic controllers handle 28,537 commercial flights (major and regional airlines), 27,178 general aviation flights (private planes), 24,548 air taxi flights (planes for hire), 5,260 military flights and 2,148 air cargo flights.

I could not find a good source in Internet that would tell me the total flight number in the world per day. But if there are 87,000 in the USA and 28,000 just in Europe, let's guess another 30,000 for the rest of the world......that sums around 150,000 for the whole a single day !! (isn't that a bit too much?...)

While researching the above figures, I found a study by scientists in the Zurich School of Applied Sciences. They traced every flight in the world over a 24-hour period and plotted them onto an impressive video map. (Each yellow dot represents a flight. A moving haze was then added to resemble the shifting darkness of night)
See the video here

Where is all this people going? to do what?
What moves us?

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