by Charles Gulick
|North Position: 17402||Rudder: 32767|
|East Position: 21435||Ailerons: 32767|
|Altitude: 416||Flaps: 0|
|Pitch: 0||Elevators: 32767|
|Bank: 0||Time: 9:30|
|Heading: 55||Season: 3-Summer|
|Airspeed: 0||Wind: 8 Kts, 000|
Add for this mode:
Reliability Factor, 10
|Earlier in this book, we (or at
least I) made a flight in the Los
Angeles area with a reliability setting of 50. It was uneventful, and I
(we?) landed safely on Catalina Island. As I said at that time, I
wondered whether you were with me, or perhaps never got off the runway
or made a forced landing somewhere.
Anyway, our experiments (or mine anyway) would be incomplete without trying a decidedly lower reliability. If this flight is uneventful-at least from a reliability standpoint (no flight is uneventful from a flying standpoint)-then we'll have learned that the reliability factor needn't be regarded too seriously.
The prior sentence, like a well-known command in the BASIC language, has an IF and a THEN. It can also have an ELSE. IF such and such is true, THEN do so and so, ELSE do so and so.
And so here we are at Chester Airport, Chester, Connecticut, all fired up in a highly questionable crate. Or, so to speak, in two highly questionable crates-yours and mine. We might as well fly together, in some kind of compromised formation, like a pair of barnstormers in the early days, never knowing when the engine will sputter and quit, we'll spring an oil leak, some fabric will tear off a wing, or whatever. Yours or mine.
If we can get off the ground, let's hop across Long Island Sound to Long Island MacArthur Airport. (Douglas "Old Soldiers Never Die" MacArthur would be proud of us.)
|I won't spell out the preflight
checks you should make. I'll be too
busy making my own. But I'll tell you when I'm ready to take off
(runway 35) and what happens thereafter.
|I'm ready to take off. I'm
taking off. Follow me-e-e-e-e!
I'm climbing through 1000 and making a climbing turn left to a heading of 240, just for starters.
Heading 240 at 2000, I'm tuning Deer Park VOR on 111.2. DME reads 48.8 miles. Before I adjust the OBI for a reading, I level off at 2500.
I center the OBI needle and get a reading of 240 (how's that for eyeballing it!).
Where are you? Are you with me?
Crate's great to date.
Long Island Sound's nice and blue ahead.
Forty-three miles to go. Just possibly this reliability thing is purely in the imagination. We're supposed to imagine it, I mean. It isn't for real.
Let's see, reliability of 10 on a scale of 100 means nine chances in ten that things'll go-not right-but wrong! Or is it right? My math was never very good. (But I recall reading that Einstein, too, had trouble with simple arithmetic. Minds like his and mine are concerned with more profound things.)
Are you flying? Are you still there?
Forty miles to go.
|Thirty-eight miles to go. Take a
look out the right side and there's
Tweed-New Haven Airport. Wonder if they fixed the pothole yet.
Straight-and-level at 2500. Indicating about 108. Thirty-three and a half miles to go.
Would you set out to cross a desert in a 10 percent reliable car?
Thirty miles to go. Needle a couple of degrees off. Have to correct right a bit.
|Lot of water down there. At 28
miles out, radar says I'm about in the middle of it.
Maybe they accidentally left the reliability factor out of my disk. A slight oversight. An infinitesimal flaw. Maybe they abandoned the idea and forgot to delete it from the manual.
Twenty-five miles to go.
Maybe I'm being too conservative. Maybe I should get a little altitude and try a loop or a barrel roll. (Just kidding.)
What are you doing? Are you with me? Are you reading this in a ditch somewhere? Or in the middle of an expressway?
Twenty miles. 9:50.
What's your clock say?
Seventeen miles. I'm just about over land now. Need still more correction to the right.
Fourteen point six miles. And I think that's MacArthur ahead. It's a little left of the OMNI anyway.
Elevation at the General's is 99 feet. No tower there. But considering the wind, I should land to the east. Runway heading looks like 70 degrees. So I'll fly out over the ocean and do a 180.
Still about six miles from the airport, I guess. I'll pass a bit to the left of it to allow for my turn.
Are you still there? Do you believe this reliability thing? I'm beginning to have my doubts. Really, 10 percent reliability ought to be more exciting than this. Maybe we should have set 1 percent?
Airport's passing to my right now. Heading out over the ocean. Never heard an engine purr so pretty. Never flew straighter and leveler. Never saw everything work so perfectly. They could even use this clock to set Greenwich mean time.
Just looked down, and I'm over the water. Time to start my 180. Are you there? Are you with me?
Beautiful, controlled two-minute turn. Masterful. What a beautiful day for flyin'.
Back off on the power. Runway not in sight yet. Passing through 330 degrees. Now I see it.
I'm way too far left. Didn't plan that too well. Have to get over there and get lined up right.
Heading 44 now and that can't be runway 7, and I can't tell which one is.
Trying radar. Can't raise the airport at all on there. Have no time, anyway. Back to out the windshield.
Should I go around? Altitude 1200 feet. Might as well land on that runway whatever number it is. Artwick will never know.
Yes, get in position and take it. Approach is lousy, sloppy, miserable.
Now left. Not too steep. Straighten it out. You'll land across it if you don't. Too much altitude. How far am I? Take it easy. You've got her. Coming up fine. Now your left turn. No. Straighten out. Got to go more right then left. Hope nobody's watching. Now left. Forget flaps. More left. Coming up now. Six hundred feet. Descending 500. Hope nobody's watching. All the power off. Overcontrolling. Too low. Down too fast-1500 feet a minute. Ridiculous. Add power. Get over to the right. Bank's too steep. That squeal. Runway.
And all that glass. All that beautiful glass. Shattered.
Where are you? I don't see you. Did you make it? Did you ever take off?
At any rate, when I see you, I'll give you the lowdown on this reliability thing. I figured it all out. It's like this: When you enter a reliability factor of 10, everything works fine. The engine purrs. The clock keeps time. The gear goes up and down. The lights go on and off. The ailerons aren't crossed. The elevator functions fine. The OMNI is right on. The grass is green. The sky is blue. The airplane flies like a dream. Everything's perfect. Except for one thing:
The bank's too steep.
Just a last word to clear up any misconceptions you may have from this book concerning the Reliability Factor. Since we had Reality set to 0 for all the adventures, the Reliability always stayed at 100 regardless of the percentage we entered. Set the Reality to 1 and the Reliability to 10 and see what happens.
So long. Thanks for your company. Happy flying.
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