Friday, January 28, 2011

Are We There Yet?

For my pilot readers, yes, that is Jeppesen CSG-1P Slide Graphic Computer (E6B as we knew it as student pilots) used by Spock to figure the time before impact. I wonder if I still have one.

In a few weeks, as soon as the doc gives the OK, I need to get back out and get a checkride in an airplane for currency. I don't fly often but it's a skill set I not only enjoy, but don't wish to lose. Even if it means a checkride.

For, like any pilot, I hate taking exams.

Written or otherwise. I think it started in early school years when I got a question really wrong.

The question was: "Where do women mostly have curly hair?

Apparently, the correct answer was Africa.

Checkrides are the one part of the job that I think most civilian commercial and military pilots hate. Doesn't matter how many hours you have, how many missions you've flown. And they don't get any easier. Doing maneuvers to perfection while everything on the airplane seems to fail, one after another, while a check airmen is peering over one shoulder and those stripes on your uniform are resting on the other. It never mattered how many years I'd done it or the fact that I'd never failed one, taking that first step into the briefing room to start the oral, my mind would go completely blank. Circumstance and fear had a way of subtracting information from my brain with surgical precision.

Yet somehow, when the first question came up, everything resusitates, not by sheer brilliance but simply from the fact that I'd studied my rear end off for weeks ahead of time. To this day I can still draw the entire electrical system of a 727 on an unfolded cocktail napkin.

I think it looked something like this.

click to enlarge


  1. A 727 has a flux capacitor? It really was ahead of its time.

  2. Now that ... that's funny, right there. I started to say that the flux capacitor was the best part, until I enlarged the thing & saw what else is there.


  3. Geek check...when I first saw that diagram I tried to figure out what the total resistance of the snarl of resistors on the right was.
    I gave it up when I realized just how silly I was being. I won't say how long that took...but I was about halfway through the ball.

  4. > Apparently, the correct answer was Africa.


    Thanks, I needed that.

  5. You can't be surprised to know that I had that cartoon as the wallpaper on my computer for quite a while. :-)


    PS - Prof Hale: It wasn't ahead of its time... Initially.

  6. Murphy says that you left out the Chameleon circuit. ;-)

  7. I wish more of the schematics I stared at were like that one.

  8. I dont care who ya are, thats funny, that there is. I would have given you the question :)

  9. Most people forget the Magic Smoke.

  10. Loved the "schematic"! I noted the "flux capacitor" as well as the blender right off the bat. Really funny, because as a Navy engineer, we had to be able to draw every system aboard ship. 19 years later, I can still do it...

  11. Wow! That diagram is almost as complicated as some women I know...


    Sorry, the redhead I'm married to just hit me on the head.

    Dann in Ohio

  12. Looks like the logic circuit in my wife's brain. ;)

  13. I've still got mine, the smaller all metal version. Would need to upgrade the reading glasses strength in order to use it though...

    For those of us that are diagram geeks, here's a pdf of a BMW motorcycle schematic that was done with on an IPad with OmniGraffle:

    Windows users can get the same results with Dia, a great little program.

  14. Bwaahahahahaha! *Africa!* Hehehehe*snort*hehehehe!

    Love the diagram, mine would have to be a treasure map of the Goldfinger cave and submarine pen with shark tank, it's around here somewhere.

    I think I'm gonna get another old Sig, an '86.

  15. Looks like the wiring for my MG TD.

  16. I love that particular XKCD cartoon.

    Africa! Thanks for the laugh.

  17. Larry- That many 1 ohm resistors in parallel paths the ball would essentially equal a short length of wire. Now if you want to get into inductive and capacitive effects then we're in trouble.

    I like the note next to it. My class that included circuit analysis was EE260. I don't think we had a EE201.

  18. Sniper got a couple! :)

    I love the E6B.... did he really use that on the show?

  19. Oh, if you want to borrow an E6B slide computer, I think I still have one around here somewhere. Probably not in the best condition, but yours if you need it.

  20. Jenny - LOVE it!

    Yes, Spock used an E6B on at least two episodes. The Star Trek episode "The Naked Time"and "Who Mourns for Adonais?". Someone said there's all one in "Mudd's women", but I don't remember seeing it.

  21. SQUIRREL!!!!
    LOL!! Upper right, below the 666 Timer.

    That's awesome. I'm going to have to download that sketch.

  22. "OK, you MI Geeks think you can crew a UH model? Fine, we're gonna have a little check ride..."
    Pretty close to the longest night flight of my career.
    But we survived.

  23. I implore everyone to NOT use a 666 timer. There is a reason it is not listed in the TI TTL Data Book. I picked one up at Radio Shack back in the day to breadboard a prototype circuit. They did not have any 555 timers and it was cheap.

    When I cut on the power supply to the breadboard, I was transported to another place. I observed two people, they called themselves "Julie" and "Z". Then some creature appeared that was called "Lord Machado". I cut the power supply off with my foot.

    Another note, if you see the magic smoke leave some device, it is done!

    Oh great! Now I need to watch Mudd's Women again? Sigh... I'll do it but still.... Don't do with the new "remastered" DVD's on a large TV. You have been warned!


  24. Check rides on viggens used to involve backing them up into hides. It's surprizingly difficult.

  25. I have one. The next time I come across it (hopefully this millenia!) you can have it. I was due in RVN a week before my pilot test and the Army had no sense of humor. Never got around to finishing!

  26. Ahh, the E-6B and it's half-size cousin the CPU-26A for smaller airplanes. I taught three years worth of AF pilot training students how to use them while I was in purgatory as a T-37 IP.

    Hardest part was getting them to apply common sense first before grabbing the answer. For example, if you are going 360 kt, it won't take you two hours and twenty minutes to go 240 miles.

    That and doing a point-to-point on the graph side.

    "Wind up or wind down" method--your choice.

  27. I still have mine packed with all my ground school stuff.

    I'd pull it out, but it represents more disappointment than anything else anymore.

    Eh, it is what it is.

  28. The question was: "Where do women mostly have curly hair?

    Apparently, the correct answer was Africa.

    This is the funniest thing I've read all week.

  29. I think I would have got the hair question wrong too - depended on my experience/knowledge at time of test. When younger, some geography I had to work on.


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..