A screensaver that can make frequent fliers feel at home?

One of the signs that you are flying too much, is when you can’t sleep in your own bed without the soothing background noise of a jet engine, or when you find yourself looking out your bedroom window and feeling annoyed that all you see is the street, and not puffy clouds.

If you fit that description, then I suggest checking out Holding Pattern “First Class”. Holding Pattern is a screensaver for the Mac and PC that shows panoramic scenery from 57 different flight routes. The program has some of the worlds prettiest shots, including aerial photography of New Zealand, the Sahara, the Great Barrier Reef and Mount Rainier.

The photo you see above, is a real snapshot of how amazing the application looks. True flight junkies can turn on engine noise, set the time zone of the images, the flight path, the cruising speed and even the plane population (imagine being able to turn off seatmates in real life!). If you are lucky enough to have more than one monitor, you can even stretch the view over multiple screens.

Holding Pattern costs just $17.95, but you can get a taste of how nice it looks with their free version, Holding Pattern “Coach Class”. Of course, since this is a free version, you don’t get as many features, and only 15 different aerial views. Once you’ve installed this, you’ll probably be like me, and upgrade to first class right away!

You can download Holding Pattern here, just don’t blame me if you spend all day at work staring at your approach into LAX, instead of getting some real work done.

New guide identifies land objects seen from your airplane window

Here’s another one to file under, “It’s about frickin’ time.”

America from the Air is a 352-page book loaded with aerial photographs of the United States. What’s the big deal about that, you ask? Well, this particular book is designed to be used as a flying resource companion for those who like to stare out the window when they fly but have no idea what they’re staring at.

America from the Air is organized by flight so that a person flying from New York to Seattle, for example, can consult the book and identify the strange objects and geological formations along the route, 30,000 feet below. And, not only that, but authors Daniel Mathews and James Jackson provide detailed explanations for some of the more fascinating landmarks.

I simply love this idea. I usually keep my nose pressed to the Plexiglas the rare times I get a window seat and spend most of my flight wondering what the Hell I’m looking at. Now I’ll finally know–although I’d opt for the accompanying CD-ROM version to plug into my laptop instead of lugging the book around (as suggested by the fine folks at Wired Magazine).

For an example of what to expect, click here.