Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

WHO’S DRIVING THIS THING ANYWAY?

If you have been listening or watching the news in the last couple of weeks, you have been deluged by the problems with Boeing’s 737. Three crashes in the last month and an emergency landing just today.

The real questions here are simple, who is really flying these mammoth planes, the on-board computers or the pilots? Secondly, whose job is it to train said pilots, the manufacturer or the airline that purchases these planes. It is horrific to hear pilots state that they have had only 2-3 hours of training on an I-Pad.

Are they really pilots or just passengers hoping that the computers can make all the right decisions?

In two instances in which the planes had crashed with no survivors, except the now infamous “black box”, both issues happened just after takeoff. Both on board computers showed evidence of a “stall” condition. If any airplane is in a stall condition the proper response is to drop the nose, which the auto pilot did. The problem was is the stall did not exist, it was a faulty sensor. As with anything computer related, “garbage in-garbage out” is a fact of life. The real horror was that these pilots were never trained to override the auto pilot or didn’t have enough training to shut it down and actually fly the damn plane. Hundreds of lives lost, because of who, the manufacturer or the air line. We all want cheaper flights, less training or lesser qualified pilots cost less. Is it worth the price?

Okay, let’s get back to earth. Look at today’s new vehicles. What’s the pitch? Our cars stop by themselves when there is an object in its way. Explain that to the family of the Tesla owner, who’s vehicles anti collision sensors were lower than the body of the trailer he drove under and emerged minus his head. What was he doing? Texting? Obviously, he wasn’t paying attention to the task at hand DRIVING. Every new car now has lane reminders to keep you in between those white lines. They have blind spot cameras so that you don’t have to take your eyes off your phone when changing lanes. Turn you head? Why? Mirrors? Oops! They’re there so you can put your make up on while the crash avoidance sensors and the intelligent cruise control doesn’t let you get too close to the guy in front of you. And you pedestrians aren’t off the hook either, you cross the streets watching your phone, you’re oblivious to the fact that the light may have turned. It has been such a problem that there is legislation to jam the phone signals at intersections so that you will have to look up.

The manufacturers are slowly developing an entire generation that will own cars and not know how to drive and this is scary, because my grandchildren will be on the road.

Do you know that certain manufacturers have installed little blue coffee cups on their instrument cluster that turn into large coffee cups when you as a driver are either too tired, or drunk or just driving poorly? Now to the average joe, this appears to be a wonderful credit to them for caring so much about little old you. Think again, the first place any insurance goes especially in a traffic fatality is that same little black box, except we call it an ECM, and the first place they will look at is the data files that will show them how fast you were going, or how many times you activate your ABS system or if that little coffee cup was illuminated because that claim will never be paid.

Just a little test; be honest, if you go into a skid do you turn into it or out of it?

Did you guess right? You turn into it in a millisecond you must make that call, it needs to be ingrained and an impulse. You can’t do that if you let your car do your driving for you.

Be smart, take control, and remember:
MAINTENANCE BEGINS AT MILE 000001 and lack of COMMON SENSE will always cost you DOLLARS AND CENTS.