How Do You Remember What All That Does?

First of all there is a full set of  flight instruments for each pilot. The really critical flight instruments have at least one additional “back-up” instrument for use in the event all power to the main ones is lost. This makes the front panel look twice as complicated as necessary. Each major system has switches, most we don’t normally use much.

Practically everything else was installed as a result of a nasty accident. The FAA equipment requirements are historically reactionary and the airlines are historically cheap. Instead of shopping for new equipment like a 17 year old at a car stereo shop with a stolen credit card the airlines are mostly interested in reliability and economy. 

We remember how the systems of the airplane work in much the same way you remember how to operate your house.

If all  the switches for your house and all the appliances were located in a hall closet it would look impressive too. People might say things like “How the hell do you know what all the switches do?” It’s easy.

This is the toaster dark-light control, this is the bread ejector lever.  Over here we have the extra rinse cycle next to the garbage disposal on / off switch and the garage door opener.  This is the door bell and this row here is for the DVD-VCR-DVR for CNN, NBC, MTV, CBS, TNN and AC.  Flip this switch to here and you get a big eyed grumpy ex-prosecutor, flip this one and we can cool off the house in the summer.

Once in a while we forget a switch, once in a while you leave the garage open all night or your keys in the door.  People do stuff like that. 

This is why most of the important stuff has a big orange light that comes on when it isn’t working.

Red lights are usually r e a l powerful stuff. Fire warnings, parking brakes, and such. 

Blue lights are for things that are generally not always needed but are on and working fine for now just in case anybody cares. Bright blue lights are for things that you tried to turn on but haven’t quite come all the way on yet and might be stuck if you don’t notice the light is still bright and could result in an orange light later.  Or worse yet, a lot of orange lights.

For the most part we are required to know how to “work” something as opposed to “how it works”. It is more important to know the difference between the blender and the washer than it is to know how fast the RPM of the blender is. 

Just like your home it is important to be able to find important things in the dark. A basic understanding of what to do in an emergency is also kind of a big deal for us.

Did you know you are supposed to stay near the floor and crawl out like crazy in the event of a house fire?

 What should you do in the event of an impending home invasion when you have forgotten to bring your guns to the dinner table?

Safety preparation and training is probably just as important for the home as it is for anywhere. I try to be over-prepared for everything we can think of that could go weird when you fly. Please take a little time and prepare for things that will probably never happen at home.

Happy Landings

4 Responses to “How Do You Remember What All That Does?”

  1. This post would be very confusing to the Amish.

    Just wanting to tell you that I’m actually boarding a plane first thing in the morning (in a very scary weathery system too) and I have not hyperventilated once (yet) largely due to your blog.

  2. You make it sounds so simple. If I’m on your plane I would appreciate your knowing the difference between the blender and the washer, too.

  3. luckyjet1 Says:

    The “flight attendant call” button is right next to the one that squirts rain repellent all over the windows. What could possibly go wrong with this? Usually we get about everything right.

  4. Flydaddy Says:

    One of the things I miss about flying the F28 is that the FA call button was labeled, “Stew Call,” thus providing irrefutable evidence they they ARE still stewardesses! Never failed to amuse…us.

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