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Aug 10 / kkrizka

World Without Aeroplanes

What if we lived in a world without aeoroplanes? A world where people would still be jumping off high walls with wings made from feathers in hopes that they will soar like the eagles? A world where Orville Wright’s first experiments in flying would have failed miserably or have not happened at all? Well, first of all I would not be writing this essay and neighter would by many other students who have immigrated to Canada. Also we would not advance our scientific understanding of the universe but then we would not apply it to such things like dropping a nuclear bomb on Japan.

Moreover since the only transoceanic transport available would be the boat, it would take several weeks to deliver packages to people in Europe and Asia. Imagine wanting to send a Christmas present to your grandparents who live somewhere in the middle of Germany and how complex it could get. First of all you would have to account for a week long boat journey and then another week to get shipped across half of Europe in a mail truck until it finally arrives a week too late because the ship couldn’t sail for several days due to bad weather. Now imagine if this was something even more important, like evidence against a criminal who committed murder somewhere in Quebec but is being tried in Vancouver because that’s where he tried to hide.

Also how would most business deals be done? At the end someone has to physically be with the other person to sign a contract and in order to do this he has to travel, preferably fast because as we all know time is money to this kind of people. Definitely no rapid travel would be possible without airplanes and any company merges would be restricted only to the local area. This could mean that we would have no multi billion international companies since nobody would bother to take a week long trip just to sign an agreement with a factory in China. This would also mean that many people employed by the big companies would now not be.

This “local” phenomenon would also be present in other aspect of the world. For example Canada and USA would not enjoy such a big variety of cultures as they do now. Most people would stay on the Eurasian continent as the boat trip to North America would eighter cost too much or be too much of a bother. This actually did happened at the time of colonization of this new land. The British government even had to offer rewards such as free land and some money in exchange for the peasants taking a long sea trip and clearing the forested fields. Of course, the few settlers that survived the entire trip found out that many of the promises were lies and they were stuck on a unknown continent with the only way off being another dangerous boat trip. Even nowadays there would only be the few desperate and rich enough to make the trip. And yes, they would have to be rich. Since planes can transport around 300 people every go and the trip from London to Toronto is made by 6 planes in a day, we would have 1800 people moved in a day and 126000 in a week. Now a boat can make the same trip in around a week, but it’s carrying capacity is only around 1000 to 2000 people. Basic supply and demand tells us that if boat was the only way to travel, the supply would be very so low that the prices would have to be very high to lower the demand to match it. So imagine the Christmas present you want to send is a watch worth $50 and you have to pay $500 for shipping!

Also many of out scientific advancements that our species prides ourselves in would have never happened. It was the understanding of air resistance and aerodynamics from aircraft development that helped us to come up with rockets and space shuttles. It was rockets that sent satellites like the Hubble Space Telescope, which in turn sent us back pictures of far galaxies that helped us learn about the origin of the universe and our planet. If we were to take those pictures right from our earth, the interference caused by our atmosphere would be so great that the images would be too blurry to discern anything. Then other satellites up there allow us to communicate with each other, predict weather and send us pictures of our own planet to finally prove that it really is round and to entertain most of us by displaying our house on Google Earth. Next how would we know the cause of ozone depletion that is threatening the climate we need for life? Actually, we even would never know about ozone depletion if we didn’t send up balloons and other aerocrafts to take a variety of measurements of the upper atmosphere. The now obvious danger looming closer to us would never be known and no changes would be done in our society in order to avoid it.

Other advancements would not be present in the world of search and rescue. Air planes help the emergency personnel to save survivors of sunken ships and locate people stranded on mountains. When a hiker breaks his leg somewhere in the high mountains while backpacking, it is the aerocraft called the helicopter that comes to quickly transport him to a nearby hospital for fast treatment and successful recovery. The other option would be for others to carry him out, and depending on how far he was, this might take several days. This is enough time for the leg to become severely infected and required to be amputated. Next how else would one put out forest fires that span an entire valley? A fire truck would be too slow because it can only spew forth small amount of water per second, at least compared to that of dropping a huge container of water from a helicopter hovering over the fire or spraying it with some special chemical.

But the biggest effect that an aeroplane-free world would see is in warfare tactics. Without airplanes, Little Boy would have not been dropped on the city of Hiroshima and Fat Man would not have desolated Nagasaki, leaving both cities unlivable for several years after due to the nuclear fallout. This is because no one in their right mind would try to fire a nuclear bomb through a cannon-like device since that could have caused enough force to bring the two critical plutonium masses to come crashing together creating a supercritical mass to cause a chain reaction with a huge loss of enthalpy, or in simpler words a big “bang” on the bomb would cause the bomb to respond with a bigger “bang” right where it was so dropping it from an airplane and having the ground itself deliver the “bang” that will set it off was the only safe way to go, at least at that point in the development of nuclear physics. Also airplanes were needed to make the trip from Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 that provoked the Americans to strike back. Not only 214000 civilian lives would have been saved if airplanes were not present in our world, but also larger war catastrophes could have been averted, like the millions of civilian deaths in towns like Dresden and Hamburg that were leveled during the British fire bombings.

No man-made objects in the sky would also have made the 21st century more peaceful. It was on September 11th, 2001 that the biggest terrorist attack in recent history happened when two objects, which would not have existed in a world without aeroplanes, crashed into the two World Trade Center towers in New York causing them to come tumbling down. It was due to this horrendous even that the American government decided upon a series of actions that ended up in planes flying over Baghdad to drop bombs on it’s occupants, most of who had nothing to do with Al’Queda or any other terrorist organization. Then soldiers were sent in for a month long invasion of Iraq that still lasts to this day to make peace in a country that always had it. It is quite obvious that today’s war can be traced to aerocrafts as the cause.

On the other hand many could argue that airplanes helped us getting rid of wars, for it was the nuke attacks mentioned earlier that forced the Japanese and United States of America to sign a truce. Second World War I would also have lasted for a longer time due to trench warfare that caused a stall mate between the two sides. The airplane battles helped one side to get a upper hand and advance the war itself a bit forward. Finally the deaths that were caused by the bombers are of such magnitude that it leaves an imprint showing us just how deadly wars can be and making us more careful when deciding about starting one.

So as you can see, a world without aeroplanes would have a very different history. Not only would there be small deviations like no traffic jam report coming from a helicopter zooming around the city skies, but also bigger differences. There would not be a country with such a diverse culture like Canada, we would still be stuck in a local mindset and our science would still be believing the primitive ideas of the origin of the place we live in. This makes it seem like a bad change in our history, but then there also would be good differences since the affliction of many present and past wars were airplanes. So the overall effect of no aeroplanes would depend on whether you view your cup as half-full or half-empty.


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  1. Francis zigwai / Sep 4 2011

    I like dis write up alot!

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