Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Have your say on today's Aardvark Daily column

Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:33 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0115.shtml

It is clear that bureaucracy and regulation are hindering the adoption of new technologies and materials to the aviation industry and that may well be counter-productive by making things unsafe rather than safer.

How many other highly-regulated industries are similarly ankle-tapped by bureaucrats and red tape I wonder?

Why is it that the toys we fly have technology which is decades more advanced than the full-sized aircraft that blunder about in the skies over our heads?

Shall we run a sweepstake to see how long it is before there's a very significant incident with injury (or worse) involving manned aviation at the Tokoroa airfield?
aardvark_admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3022
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 2:10 pm

Re: Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby goosemoose » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:30 am

Someone in the know, a few years ago now, told me the reason why (GA) aviation was so old fashioned was lawyers. Specifically american ones. The stuff they've got now works and has proved reliable over the past decades. If they try something new it could be used as the basis of a lawsuit if the unexpected happens so they just stick to the tried and tested.
goosemoose
 
Posts: 527
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 1:05 pm

Re: Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby latewings » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:49 am

One of my pet hates is microlight operators who insist on flying without a radio (NORDO). My backup handheld radio has a headset adapter with either PTT or voice activation which cost me a couple of hundred: pocket change in comparison to most aviation costs. Surely any pilot with an RPL (recreational pilot license) and half an operational brain cell should own and use one. Sadly I overestimate the neuron capacity of some open cockpit ballast by several factors.

What surprises me about the situation you describe is how the two managed to avoid seeing each other on the downwind leg given NZTO's left/right circuit pattern that avoids aircraft over the town. The elevation is 1221 feet so both should have been 2200 or thereabouts on their respective downwind legs, unless one or the other decided to fly low level (which should be enunciated anyway)

In regard the technology available a Jodel D11 is little more than a seat (which looks like an afterthought anyway) inside a couple of fabric covered planks with an asthmatic engine powered by a hamster in a wheel at the front. Adding anything like a TCAS to it would probably upset the W&B into the non flying range. Most microlights accidents I'm sure are caused by insect ingestion from the slack jawed yokels that buy and operate them.

</chuckle>
latewings
 
Posts: 288
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 10:18 am

Re: Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:51 am

Yep, that's dead right.

When I was doing a lot of avionics work, I was horrified at how "old" the technology was -- both in design and construction techniques.

I was told that "it works so we're not changing it" and that if designs were changed, recertification would cost an arm and a leg.

As a result, this stuff was decades behind the cutting edge and horrendously expensive at that. I actually made good money by designing and building a cigarette-packet sized VHF Av-band transceiver that I sold to glider pilots. It was about 10% the size/weight of the "certified" equipment and cost half as much. This size, weight and cost saving was achieved very easily by simply using more modern design techniques and components -- oh, and skipping the certification process.

Honestly... I was using dual-gate RF MOSFETs and integrated circuits on PCB whilst the "certified" gear was still using germanium transistors. Ah... happy days :-)

It would probably shock the bureaucrats to discover that none of my transceivers ever failed or resulted in fires, crashes or injury.
aardvark_admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3022
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 2:10 pm

Re: Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:56 am

latewings wrote:What surprises me about the situation you describe is how the two managed to avoid seeing each other on the downwind leg given NZTO's left/right circuit pattern that avoids aircraft over the town. The elevation is 1221 feet so both should have been 2200 or thereabouts on their respective downwind legs, unless one or the other decided to fly low level (which should be enunciated anyway)

Yeah, the microlite was flying about 200ft AGL and I think the student/instructor in the D11 were probably more focused on things inside the cockpit than outside. Once they lined up heading towards each other then I suspect the microlite disappeared into the ground-clutter (it was a Bantam) and visibility was a bit hazy to be fair.
aardvark_admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3022
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 2:10 pm

Re: Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby latewings » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:34 am

I was horrified at how "old" the technology was


Once ADS-B becomes mandatory for all GA we might see some improvement in on-board tech. A quick peruse on TM's aircraft for sale shows a good number of airframes that Orville and Wilbur may have flown (yes I'm stretching history here).

I did my IFR in a non G1000 aircraft. The examiner was surprised, but pleasantly so as his affinity was towards steam powered cockpits. In some respects the tech has proven reliable (to an extent - I've had several DI failures) but there's huge room for improvement and advancement, which is where the LSA aircraft are heading with their glass cockpit displays.

Learning to fly means the pilot must use the most important instrument on board: their eyes. Most (myself included) when starting out tend to needle watch rather than focus outside the office.

Interestingly skydivers have been using tech for some time. Audible ditters to alert the end of free fall, Cypress automatic openers on the reserve chutes and jump computers for the odd wingsuit or speed divers to track the jump. Small units that perform functions very well (the number of cypress save vids on YT attests that) and are cutting edge in terms of weight and functionality. Seems GA is still a long way behind as you say.
latewings
 
Posts: 288
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 10:18 am

Re: Hi-tech vs no-tech (15 Jan, 2018)

Postby joeseph » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:36 am

Not sure of the current situation, but about 20 years ago I introduced a TDR to an aircraft engineer (time-domain-reflectometer: useful thingy to measure lengths of cable, and really useful thingy finding how far along cables were broken)

The usefulness of being able to reasonably accurately measure distance to any wiring break wasn't lost on this engineer, who jumped on the thought that it would save buckets of time in troubleshooting the miles of cabling that modern (and older) aircraft have.
He enthusiasticly took it to work (a large NZ aviation company) and you guessed it, wasn't allowed to use it on aircraft "because it hadn't been certified" and I suspect they're still using multimeters to this day. Perhaps I'm being too cynical but it seemed to guarantee repairs took longer than needed.
joeseph
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 2:11 pm


Return to Today's column

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: phill and 4 guests