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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Aged To Perfection



Today is a pretty special day. Exactly 61 years ago, in Seattle, was the first flight of Dash-80, the prototype of the Boeing 707.   The 707 is one of the most important and iconic airplanes ever built. She had a great career, but things change and she became out dated and no longer relevant.

I retired from the flight deck the first of the month and since I am no longer flying, I have decided to retire the blog as well. This will be my last post on Flying The Backside.   It’s time for someone else, someone younger, more relevant to write about human factors in aviation. These topics are the same as 40 years ago when I started, but yet they seem different.  I can’t really relate to them now.  Flying is so much more complicated than it used to be.  I would find it very challenging to be a young pilot today trying to figure out what I should know and what’s really important.  Stick and rudder skills have been replaced with alpha-numeric key strokes.  Decision-making has been eliminated and replaced with rote compliance.  It is no longer necessary to know why we, as pilots, do what we do.  Just follow the recipe.

It wasn’t always this way.  The transition from props to jets was hard, but nothing like this.  It was airplanes to airplanes, not airplanes to the App Store.

Today is also my wife’s birthday.  She too was born in Seattle, Washington on July 15th, 1954.  Dash-80 has not flown in many years.  My wife, however, has never been more attractive or vibrant.  She supported me and sustained me throughout my career and is now ready to embark with me on a new adventure, traveling in our RV.  We look forward to rediscovering America and each other.


Thanks to everyone who read, subscribed or commented and I look forward to sharing my experiences from the road.  Until then, fly safe and watch out for each other.

1 comment:

  1. To quote the T-800, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator: Genisys, "I'm old, but not obsolete". So begins the final offensive on Skynet, (an self-aware artificial intelligence hellbent on destroying the human race) that had an auspicious beginning as a global operating system named "Genisys". Genisys was embraced worldwide by an unwitting populace. So are we able to draw any parallels to the story line? Flight is still governed by natural law with physics providing the explanation of "why" man can take flight. Aviation technology has been developing at an exponential pace with no signs of slowing down. We've become enamored with the alpha-numeric key stroke, App Store paradigm. One day there will be a "Renaissance". A renaissance that begins with a simple question that will challenge this thought of impending obsolescence by asking a simple question. Why? Obsolescence and relevance is a consequence of the human condition that is never satisfied by the status quo. One would hope with age comes wisdom. Safe travels my friend!

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