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Re: ArcJet Updates Etc

On Tuesday 10 July 2001 22:50, Robert Oler wrote in "Re: [amsat-bb] 
ArcJet Updates Etc":
>>After all, my airplane already has a "no crashing" placard... :-)
> Thank you for reminding me of something that the instructor who took
> me all the way to the ATR (bet you dont know what that was) 

I'm thinking "Air Transport Rating"...what today is called an "ATP". I 
may be wrong; terminology does shift over time. I've been in the game 
just about long enough to remember what TCAs, ARSAs and TRSAs were.   

> All the airplanes I or my wife fly do have "no crashing"
> placards...doesnt yours?

Hmm...I could have sworn I said it did. Yes, I did, you quoted it right 
back to me. See how excess verbiage clouds the mind? Which is one of 
the themes of this little note.

> The difference between Amateur pilots and Professional ones is that
> the latter know its not the wings on the airplane that get you
> home...its the wings on the PIC.

My point was not that *having* procedures is bad or pointless. I use 
checklists and procedures in my flying as carefully and faithfully as I 
possibly can. I've rewritten the manufacturer's checklist for my own 
personal use, leaving nothing out but customizing the order to suit my 
personal style and adding stuff that I think really should be there but 
the Pilot's Handbook version leaves out. Proocedures good. Checklist 

But my point was that trying to invent procedures that cover **all** 
exingencies is futile...and overdoing it can even *cause* trouble. 

"PIC" doesn't stand for "Placard In Command". And while the *wings* on 
the PIC *look* nice, its her *brains* that are the critical component, 
and the ones that ultimately exceed even the aircraft wings in 
importance.  It's true enough that an aircraft without brains--with or 
without wings-- is less safe than an aircraft *with* wings but without 

Brains *are* mission-critical, but even the very best are ultimately 
limited in capacity. Good engineering takes notice of this point.  

Now, there's a boatload of placards in my poor little "amateur" 
airplane (I tend not to think terms like "amateur" about my flying, 
even as apt as it may be, because I reason that if I screw up bad 
enough, I'll be just as thoroughly dead as if I was a big expensive pro 
like yourself. Admitedly, you'd presumably take a number of paying 
customers with you, a level of carnage I could only approach if my 
choice of crash site were extremely poor. But one does what one can.) 

Many of those placards--most of them in fact, remind me of something 
*useful* about the airplane. "Avoid Slips With Flaps Extended" is one. 
"Maneuvering Speed 99 KIAS" is another, since there's no standard 
marking on the airspeed indicator for that value. "Do not open window 
above 100 KIAS" is one of my favorites...especially since it's *not* on 
the instrument panel and thus adding to mental workload only when 
you're actually looking at the vent window crank.   

But there's been a tendency in the aviation industry, and in fact in 
society in general, to start letting the lawyers write the placards. 

Since lawyers are paid by the hour, their income is propotional to  
their output, and it shows. The manufacturer's lawyers put a fair piece 
of *their* output in the Pilot's Handbook, and increasingly on any 
available near-flat surface in the cockpit.  

Like that Cessna one...maybe y'all have been busy in big iron since 
this one came out, right after I passed my first checkride in 1987:

   "Failure To Heed To All Safety Cautions And Warnings 
    Can Result In Injury Or Death."

That's one of the ones I was thinking of when I jokingly refered to a 
"No Crashing" placard. How helpful. I'm sure that one has saved a lot 
of lives--*not*. 

We're a little bit beyond "Close Cover Before Striking" here.  

Of course the ultimate *aim* of +all+ placards is "No Crashing" (or 
avoiding similar undesireable events like "No getting sucked into the 
turbojet intake" or "No walking through the spinning propeller"). But I 
think broad, empty, obvious or otherwise ill-considered signage isn't 

I think it's bad ergonomics to just mindlessly glue on a placard or 
paste in a new procedure every time a new failure mode is 
recognized...especially if it's a failure mode identified not by 
reliability or human-factors engineering, or even by accident 
investigation, but rather by litigation--even litigation filed by email 

Every time you add a step to a procedure, you increase the risk the 
procedure may not be followed exactly, and every time you add a 
pointless placard, you distract from the ones that have a good reason 
for being. 

Starry Sky, the systems we deal with are complex enough that we should 
be a *little* thoughtful before we *add* **anything** else...even a 
placard, or amendment to a procedure.  

 73 de Maggie K3XS 

-----/___.   _)   Margaret Stephanie Leber    / "The art of progress  /
----/(, /|  /| http://voicenet.com/~maggie   / consists of preserving/
---/   / | / |  _   _   _    `  _AOPA 925383/ order amid change and /
--/ ) /  |/  |_(_(_(_/_(_/__(__(/_  FN20hd / change amid order."   /
-/ (_/   '  K3XS  .-/ .-/    ARRL 39280   /___ --A.N.Whitehead ___/
/____ICQ 7161096_(_/_(_/__AMSAT 32844____/ <maggie@voicenet.com>

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