Flying and working on the Coast of Southern California we used to joke about how easy navigating was around here. Mountains to the right and water to the left, you’re going north. Water to the right and mountains to the left and you’re going south.
Yet some of our students still managed to get themselves lost on their solo cross country. The incident that took the most “un-doing” was when a student landed at the Vandenberg Air Force Base instead of Santa Maria. How she did that we will never know since one is right off the beach with a single space shuttle sized runway, while the other is further inland with intersecting, comparatively small, runways. She had to spend the night there of course and the plane was pretty much taken apart but after a bunch of bitter tears they let her go eventually.
So naturally the next step for us with this simple coastal navigation technique was to have Chuck take it to the next level and actually apply it while circling one of California’s bigger islands off the coast. Although for me personally, my favorite joke in this strip is Chuck conserving electricity by shutting the GPS off in flight to help out the planet…
OH! And have we mentioned this already? The new book is now available here!!!
I know a few people with Chuck-like communication habits in real life. Personally, I like to limit my use of all this fancy new ways to communicate. It’s not as bad as my approach towards computer games (which is basically teetotalism), but I pretty much only use Facebook and WhatsApp. Because I work alone in my own office, I need to steer clear of as many distractions and time-wasters as possible. I’m getting sidetracked enough as it is! And I’m sure I’m not the only one with the problem …
Pfew, I tried to come up with a short description of the pitot-static system, to explain to everybody who’s confused about today’s strip what “alternate static air” really means. But during writing I found that I would either have to write a few paragraphs, or spend an hour to make it as concise as possible. Since I’m really under time pressure today, can somebody else maybe explain it in a few words?
Anyway, here’s the link to the relevant Wikipedia Article.
Always stay polite, that’s half the ticket! And if I may seize this opportunity to brag about my son: He’s not even two years old, but he’s already very polite and (almost) always says please and thank you. Of course he has already realized that his parents sometimes have a hard time resisting when he’s asking for something, and he usually goes for the cute and polite tone of voice instead of being loud and annoying.
The only thing he hasn’t figured out yet is what is in our power to give and what isn’t. For instance, he’s always asking us to see a hot air balloon in the sky. It’s something we saw one day, and he was so fascinated that barely a day goes by without him pointing at the sky exclaiming “Haifon! Bitte!”. Which stands for “Heissluftballon, bitte!”. He’s also asking us for more tunnels on the roads or to make the pigeons coo.
And he also loves all kinds of machinery. Which is funny, because although I am technically interested, I am by no stretch of the imagination a motor freak. But the little guy just loves tractors, cars, excavators etc. and especially has to comment on every motorbike he sees. He also points at almost every plane he sees and says “Uncle Mike!”. Well, we’ll see what the future might bring, but I sure think we have a future pilot of some sort at our hands …
Here’s another classic strip for you, from our very early days. In fact, this is one of the strips of the very first batch, which we drew before we even thought about publishing our work. Back in those days, having your own website wasn’t even on our radar, and we only thought that, maybe, some day, we might approach some magazines with this. Although you need more than five strips for that, of course, and this was strip number five. The originals were black and white only, and I colored it a few years later.
At the company I’m currently flying for we recently switched everything to iPads. They are a great tool and the “Foreflight” app is pretty much the best app ever invented as far as I’m concerned. Another cool invention was that on some fires we can get the fire map as overlay on the iPad to navigate around the fire which is really handy on a big California Fire with many Branches and Divisions.
But we have to keep two iPads for every machine on hand, just in case one goes out on us. We also have to make sure we keep them in the shade so the iPad doesn’t overheat, so we can’t keep them in the aircraft sitting in the sun. Then there are the chargers, the need to keep them charged at all times, and most of us still have their own iPad as well. Additionally our old machines have hand-held GPS’s with a mount for the cockpit. It’s a lot of technology to keep track of to compensate for having just one paper map 😉
Ah, the modern day conveniences… gotta love them!
This comic strip would be the perfect starting point for a fully-fledged philosophical exposé on how there are always different sides to every story, how perception shapes our realities, how different realities can coexist, and how important empathy and the ability to see things through other people’s eyes is. One could then draw parallels from personal relations to societal discussions and even international relations and investigate why sometimes it appears that our empathy seems to be stifled on purpose by so many issues being framed in black and white, or good vs. evil, or us vs. them. Do those simple narratives pander to our simple minds? Or are our minds being kept simple on purpose, because otherwise the age-old strategy of divide and conquer would be less effective? And if the latter is the case, who’s dividing and conquering?
Alas, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Also, I prefer talking about these things over a beer, not on a comic website, haha!
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you’re all starting this year like Chuck: Full of optimism and with a can-do attitude that extends beyond the imagination of mere mortals! Looking forward to a great year 2015 and hope to see all y’all (or is it “all y’alls”? Somebody from Texas, please help out) around our online premises often!
Sorry for the slight delay in today’s update! Yesterday was a public holiday here, so it kinda felt like Monday for me today, and I almost forgot to upload the regular Tuesday strip. Well, better late than never!
I look at today’s comic and an old musician joke comes to mind: “How do you know if the stage is level? When the drummer drools out of both sides of the mouth equally.” Well, that doesn’t work in a cockpit, does it! It really is no surprise that so many aviation pioneers met a horrible fate because of unexpected clouds, because, without instruments, it must be absolutely terrifying to suddenly be blind and not even able to trust your own perception of “down” anymore. Still happens today too. I’m sure many of you who fly have some tale to tell in that regard.