On Flying: Why Getting High Wouldn’t Be So Dope After All

Begin­ning of discussion.

It is only nat­ural for humans to want to fly. The human desire to move beyond the laws of grav­ity and take to the skies is the busi­ness of all pilots, astro­nauts and moti­va­tional speak­ers who talk in metaphors. And there are many more of us who would like to make it our busi­ness. Most of us have, at point or another, wished for the abil­ity to fly with­out the use of planes, rock­ets or super-strength spider-webbing. As chil­dren you may have actu­ally tried to fly, run­ning around the back­yard and attempt­ing to ‘take off’. And, unless you were Peter Parker, you would have frus­trat­ingly remained grounded. Nev­er­the­less, many of us con­tinue to dream about fly­ing and still wish for the power to zoom about in the air.

But I don’t believe that fly­ing would be such a fan­tas­tic thing. Sure, you would get that instant feel­ing of free­dom as your feet left the ground and you watched the world shrink under your shoes; but things would get bad pretty quickly after that.

For one, it would be cold. Really cold. The first layer of the Earth’s atmos­phere is called the Tro­pos­phere and it stretches from the ground up to around ten kilo­me­tres above sea level. So assum­ing you did sud­denly one day acquire the abil­ity to fly, you would find your­self soar­ing around in the Tro­pos­phere – which might sound like a mid-air amuse­ment park, but is actu­ally a place that gets 6.5° Cel­sius colder for every kilo­me­tre higher you go. Plus the faster you flew the more the wind chill fac­tor would increase and you’d prob­a­bly have to put a wind­cheater on. And you would soon encounter clouds, which are the bitu­men of heaven in car­toons but in real­ity would prob­a­bly be more like walk­ing into a meat locker wear­ing noth­ing but eat­able ice-cream undies. You would very soon be miss­ing your warm bed blan­kets. And pos­si­bly your toes, should frost­bite set in.

Then there would be the issue of fly­ing posi­tions. Fly­ing in itself is a glam­orous thing and you could expect to gain extra ‘cool’ once air­borne (unless you are wear­ing that wind­cheater, of course). The fly­ing process would involve you shoot­ing up into the air ‘ele­va­tor style’ (i.e. head first) and then mov­ing your­self into the ‘super­man posi­tion’ (i.e. par­al­lel to the ground with fists out in front). Except that it prob­a­bly wouldn’t work out that way. You would still be bound by the laws of grav­ity in the Tro­pos­phere and get­ting into the ‘super­man posi­tion’ – let alone main­tain­ing it – would be almost impos­si­ble. Most likely you’d end up fly­ing in a posi­tion that resem­bled a child hang­ing over a fence on its stom­ach, except with­out the fence.

As I demon­strate here…

…this would not be a glam­orous way to fly.

How­ever, the most com­pelling rea­son not to go fly­ing is that it is – in fact – ille­gal for a per­son to go fly­ing.  All things that fly – planes, bal­loons, blimps, even hang glid­ers – need licences to do so. The Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Author­ity (CASA) rules the skies in Aus­tralia and they basi­cally ensure that no one goes up into the sky with­out the CASA know­ing about it. Since radars are already capa­ble of show­ing birds in flight, detect­ing a human in the sky would be sim­ple enough. Espe­cially if said human was fly­ing in the shape of a child hang­ing over a fence.

And so you see the dan­gers, dis­com­forts and fash­ion per­ils of human-only flight. It is not my inten­tion to ruin child­hood dreams, but we must let go of that desire to fly. Move on.There are other things that need now to be con­sid­ered. Like how can we make our­selves invis­i­ble? Or how can we imbue our­selves with X-Ray vision? And do peo­ple who sell trench coats on the black mar­ket keep their ille­gal trench coats on the insides of their trench coats?

End of dis­cus­sion (unless you would like to leave your own thoughts On Fly­ing below).


Very per­sua­sive argu­ments, thank you Andrew, but I’ll need to think about it and make up my own mind.


Assum­ing you could fly a lit­tle lower (to avoid need­ing to make fash­ion mis­takes, of course) you have for­got­ten to men­tioned the wind­shield you would need for all the bugs you’d oth­er­wise be eating…

I dis­agree Andrew.
All the draw­backs of unas­sisted human flight stated above could eas­ily be over­come by tak­ing the fol­low­ing steps.

1/ Wear a jacket and maybe some ski gog­gles and don’t for­get your helmet.

2/ Just put your hand on your hip, then you’d look fly (pun intended)

3/ If I needed a license to fly I’d prob­a­bly invest an after­noon in get­ting one. I mean it couldn’t be harder then par­al­lel park­ing or a three point turn right?

There, prob­lem solved.

To infin­ity, and beyond!

Arthur Cliche

Wow! Thank you! Glad Stum­ble found your site.


never thought about it that way…thanks for the demon­stra­tion. ;)


You for­got to men­tion how tir­ing fly­ing would be hav­ing to flap your arms so much with­out the nat­ural fly­ing body struc­ture born to a bird.

Or if you’re talk­ing body ele­va­tion through telekeni­sis than it’s all in the mind — you could eas­ily lev­i­tate a bat­tery oper­ated heater along behind you, a sheet of metal for a wind break so that you can make any pose you wish and some cool peo­ple to fly around with you. You’ll always look cooler fly­ing around doing cof­fee and talk­ing pol­i­tics with MIA and Billy Bragg.

I think many of the prob­lems you raise could be dealt with by a really, really tech­nomo­log­i­cal cos­tume. Pos­si­bly a fly­ing jump­suit made out of stretchy ther­mal and rain­proof mate­r­ial. And then wings. An exoskele­ton that can be acti­vated once you are mid-air (maybe acti­vated by infla­tion), that keeps your body in an aero­dy­namic and non­cha­lant posi­tion, rather than the cramped child pos­ture, and wings to glide with. That is all. Oh, and hot pink. I am will­ing to con­struct you a prototype.

Just look­ing at your blog… it is hilarious!

And yes, judg­ing from your post we would not want to be able to fly.