Majority of British Air Travelers Surveyed ‘Don’t Trust’ Female Pilots

Aeroplane
Flickr/Vox Efx

Fifty-one percent of British air travelers “don’t trust” female pilots, citing their inability to handle pressure, according to a poll conducted by U.K.-based travel site sunshine.co.uk and reported by The Daily Mail.

Twenty-six percent of respondents said the pilot’s gender was irrelevant while 14 percent were less likely to trust a male pilot. Respondents who did not trust a man heading the cockpit, cited their “hot headedness” and ability to be easily distracted as reasons for their distrust.One possible reason for the unease about female pilots: their relative rareness. Ten percent of respondents said their previous crews had been exclusively male. And the Huffington Post points out a 2010 FAA report that notes of the 266,000 commercial pilots in America, only about 8,715 were female.

New world’s tallest building planned for Saudi Arabia

tallest buildingLess than two years after the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai, Saudi Arabia‘s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced a new world’s tallest building to be built on the Red Sea resort town of Jeddah. The Saudi building is planned to be 172 meters (564 feet) taller than the Burj and will stand at 1,000 meters or 3,281 feet. It will be part of the $20 billion “megadevelopment” Kingdom City and will house luxury condos, offices, and of course, a hotel. The prince has signed a $1.23 billion deal with the Bin Laden Group, the largest construction firm in Saudi Arabia and unaffiliated with Osama Bin Laden, to complete the new tallest building in five years.

Last month, Gadling explored the 2,717 foot Burj Khalifa. Gadling and Huffington Post blogger Melanie Nayer was one of the first guests at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong earlier this year, currently the highest hotel in the world. Check out our gallery below of the world’s tallest buildings.

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Image of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa by Flickr user Jason Rodman.

VIDEO: 50 state stereotypes in 2 minutes

Enjoy poking fun at other American states? You might enjoy this video posted by our friends at Huffington Post Comedy covering all 50 state stereotypes in 2 minutes and change. From Alabama

Our state bird is the NASCAR” to Wyoming

We don’t have any gay cowboys, alright? Okay, maybe a few gay cowboys…”, no state is left unparodied (read the video transcript here). Lest you think video creator Paul Jury is making snap judgements, you may want to read his new book States of Confusion, chronicling his post-college 48-state road trip.

Have a good sense of humor about how others see your state or country? You might also enjoy this map of US state stereotypes as well as maps from other countries. Follow Gadling and AOL Travel’s Road Trip Across America this summer and see how the states live up to their reputation.

Mountain biker set to ride up Everest

Mountain biker Bob In the world of high altitude mountaineering, there are few challenges bigger than Mt. Everest. Standing 29,029 feet in height, it is the tallest peak on the planet, remaining unclimbed until 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay finally reached the summit. Since then, literally hundreds of climbers have stood on top of the mountain, but not a single mountain biker has ever managed to conquer it. One man hopes to change all that this year.

Bob “Gnarly” Goldstein has been riding mountain bikes for years. The 45-year old copier salesman from Topeka, Kansas says he just prefers them over other kinds of bikes, saying they are simply more comfortable to ride and “they can go anywhere!” Bob has taken his trusty Huffy Cyclone on a number of local trails and on vacation with him to Colorado, where it not only helped him to get around Boulder, but allowed him to enjoy the mountain scenery as well. Soon, he’ll turn his sights on the biggest mountain of them all.

With April now upon us, mountaineers and trekkers are descending on the capital of NepalKathmandu. The city is the last stop before heading into the Himalaya and Bob, and his trusty bike arrived there just yesterday. Soon he’ll begin his tune-up ride to Everest Base Camp, located at 17,600 feet. Once there, the real challenge will begin, as he intends to pedal all the way to the summit.

Goldstein knows that his task won’t be an easy one. He’ll have to navigate through the dreaded Khumbu Icefall, riding his Huffy across ladders precariously placed over crevasses in the glacier. Once on the other side, he’ll start the long, slow, grueling climb up the South Col and eventually to the top. “I’m pretty sure I’ll only be using the first three gears,” he says.While most climbers carry backpacks stuffed with layers of warm clothing, crampons, carabiners, and other climbing gear, Bob will have a few other items in his pack. He’ll be carrying spare inner tubes, a small tire pump, and special tools for changing a flat on the slopes. When asked by an incredulous Sherpa where he intended to carry his oxygen bottles, Goldstein replied “Duh! I have two bottle cages right on my bike dude!”

Bob says that he has been training his whole life for this opportunity. He regularly tackles some of the bigger hills in his home town, and his recent rides have gotten him off the pavement and onto the dirt trails as well. He’s even been practicing changing flat tires as quickly as possible, as the biting winds and sub-zero temperatures on Everest can turn those kinds of activities into brutal endeavors. Goldstein says he has no intention of losing a finger or toe due to frostbite, brought on by fixing a flat.

And after he suffers through all the pain and challenges of getting to the summit, Bob will be in for the ride of his life. He says he’s looking forward to “bombing” back down the mountain, and “catching big air” off the Hillary Step. “Which reminds me,” he adds hesitantly, “I need to go check my breaks.”

Good luck Bob! We’re cheering for you.

On long-term travel, snobbery & judgmental blogging

If you read Gadling, there’s a half-decent chance that you read other travel blogs, too. Don’t worry. We’re cool having an open relationship. We read other sites, as well. Some have the financial backing of investors or media companies. Others are independent labors of love written by one or two people who enjoy travel, started putting words to HTML and hoped that someone would read the stories they shared. Many of the travel blogs that have been popping up lately focus on round-the-world (RTW) travel, career breaks and long-term (or, seemingly, permanent) travel. It’s that last category of traveler (and their corresponding blogs) that has begun to grind my gears.

I love travel. I assume you, a Gadling reader, loves travel. But is traveling all of the time – with no home base – really that fantastic? Furthermore, do people who adhere to that lifestyle have the right to belittle those with stable lives and jobs? There’s been a lot of idealizing of traveling permanently and, quite frankly, I find a lot of it condescending. It’s time for a reality check.One of the most well-trafficked sites dealing with long-term travel is Nomadic Matt. That’s also the name by which the site’s founder, Matt Kepnes, is known. Matt has been traveling virtually non-stop since 2005. At 29, he’s known very little of adult life beyond traveling. Which is why I was so insulted by his recent post, “Why We Travel,” on The Huffington Post. For someone with such limited exposure to the “real world” of steady jobs, rent payments and the stresses of daily life, he has some very firm opinions on why his lifestyle is far superior to the alternative that the vast majority of Americans call normal. The following quote is indicative of the message he was attempting to convey in his post:

“In this modern world of 9 to 5, mortgages, carpools, and bills, our days can get pretty regimented and become pretty boring. Typically, our days rarely exhibit huge change. Under the weight of everything, we often lose track of what’s important to us and what are goals are. We get so caught between commutes and errands or driving the kids to soccer, that we forget how to breath and to smell those roses. When I was home I could plan out my days months in advance. Why? Because they weren’t going to be much different — commute, work, gym, sleep, repeat. Yet on the road, every moment represents a new beginning. No day is the same. You can’t plan out what will happen because nothing is set in stone.”

I should note that I know Matt. I like Matt. The limited time we have shared has been pleasant and he seems like a nice guy. However, I do not think that his perma-travel lifestyle is one that should automatically be envied or revered. In fact, I don’t want that life at all.

What someone at the age of 29 who has been traveling for much of his adult existence could possibly understand about the life that he rails against is actually less perplexing than his broad generalizations about those of us who do not abide by his philosophies. While there are certainly countless people who are lost in a sea of TPS reports and hollow pursuits, to write off all people with stable, non-travel lives as working stiffs is condescending at best and offensive at worst.

There are more than enough “mommy bloggers” – many of whom also write about travel – who enjoy driving their kids to soccer while also taking them on holidays from Disney World to Djibouti. Is there a trade-off that comes with starting a family? Well, the number of blogs out there about taking kids on trips all over the globe would indicate that there doesn’t have to be. And for the people who do stay home or perhaps only occasionally take traditional vacations, if they are happy, why is that bad?

While defining why he travels, Matt says, “[w]e want to see the world, see something different, see something change. Travel allows for change…We all want something different from our daily routine, something to challenge us.” Again, these are generalizations and gross misrepresentations that diminish the enriching and often diverse lives that people with roots firmly planted in one place have created for themselves.

His post also neglects to mention things like hobbies, families, friends, social functions and fulfilling lives that include careers and pursuits that make those so-called working stiffs happy. I have friends who are not travel writers. They have jobs in fields such as marketing, education, law and insurance. They are husbands, wives, parents, dog owners, volunteers and caregivers. They are also drummers in bands, founders of supper clubs, distillers of whiskey and triathletes. In short, they are well-rounded human beings.

I’m not alone in believing that people can have stable lives, travel only occasionally and still enjoy everything that the world has to offer. Over on the Resident Wayfarer blog [Disclosure: I know the author but am respecting his/her wish to remain anonymous], a post addressed this very topic. “To me, travel can’t define a life, travel must be the thing that holds a mirror back up to yourself, to your life, and forces you to see it in a different light, through different eyes, reversed.” In other words, travel provides a broader context within which you attempt to understand things, including yourself. The post closes with the following declaration:

“I remain the person with a home base that I love, a well-balanced wanderlust, and a pretty low bullshit-o-meter.”

In a very succinct manner, the author managers to sum up why not everyone with a 9-5 feels the way Matt suggested that they do.

Over on SoSauce, Alisha Miranda also expressed her disdain for judgmental travelers who view their opinions on the subject as the gospel. [Disclosure: I am also friends with Alisha] She wrote,

“…don’t tell me the right and wrong way to travel. I don’t want to hear it. I’m doing fine on my 2 passport stamps and don’t need your worldly views dragging me down for whatever reason you feel necessary. I’ll travel however I want, whenever I want, to whereever [sic] I want. The lifestyle I choose as a traveler is entirely my decision…It seems like travel writers these days won’t tolerate anything less than a full-time backpacking lifestyle.”

To insinuate – or outright declare – that there is only one way to travel is narcissistic and condescending. It insults your audience and creates a false debate about the nature of travel. A debate that is actually more about the writer than it is about travel.

People travel for myriad reasons. Be it to take a break from work, introduce their children to Cinderella or learn about new cultures. They also do it to run away. Or to avoid a reality that scares or confuses them. Is eschewing the “real world” to travel permanently as difficult as those long-term travelers suggest? Is it more challenging than raising children, being an active member of a community or pouring yourself into a hobby that becomes a passion?

It seems to me that creating a fulfilling life – however you define that – is your own business. It may include travel. It may not. The travel could be road trips to ride roller coasters, all-inclusive getaways to tropical beaches or, yes, packing up completely and leaving your current life behind. That’s up to you. And you know yourself a whole lot better than any writer does.