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As a child I was confused no end by a passage in one of my nature books
that said certain kinds of birds eat insects "on the wing." I wondered
if it meant they eat only bugs they find infesting their wing feathers.
Nowadays, when I'm in a humorous mood, the expression conjures up images
of... well, let's just say I imagine it means something analogous to
"clams on the half-shell."
"On the wing" and "on the fly" are standard usage in particular fields.
We have other expressions that mean the same things, and yes, those
expressions are preferable for many audiences, but that's no reason to
reject "on the fly" entirely.
Shall we throw out "on the run" too?
Besides, if you convince technical personnel that they should never,
ever use "on the fly," they'll just switch to "in realtime," in real-
time," or (if you're lucky) the grammatically correct "in real time."
Take your pick. Dan Strychalski dski -at- cameonet -dot- cameo -dot- com -dot- tw