“Never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

Good luck, old lad. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that.  That’s nonsense.

Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.

Douglas Bader’s advice to a New Zealand school student in 1954, who had lost his legs.

“If everyone rode a motorbike before they drove a car we would lower the road toll.”

Motorcycle courier “The late Phil Irving, great engineer, wrote a wonderful, typical sort of Irving theory, he said if everyone rode a motorbike before they drove a car we would lower the road toll.

And there was some funny reasoning in it because he said that if you’re really stupid you’ll start hurting yourself.  And the most you can kill is two people. 

Whereas if you’re really stupid in a car you could kill 4 or 5.  Or another car, and kill even more.  And you’ll stop doing it.

And, but this is the important thing and the serious aspect to it. You’ll learn a lot about looking at the road, reading signals, and seeing slippery bits and all the rest of it.  And it will make you a better car driver, and there’s no question, it does.”

as related by Will Hagon, on Tony Delroy’s Nightlife, 21/10/2013

thrill the ignorant

‘Any pilot given the task of providing a display for the public should set out to thrill the ignorant, impress the knowledgeable, and frighten no one.’

– Squadron Leader Ian Dick – Red Arrows (1972-1974)

Sam Newman’s Rules of Living

Sam_Newman140From the Steve Price / Sam Newman Radio Show, 19th April 2011

  • You can’t be too thin or too rich.
         Particularly if you’re a woman.
  • You are what you put in your mouth.
  • New car dealers will be open on Sunday.
  • Never blame those who work for you, blame the person who employed them.
  • Pedestrians, get out of the way. 
        Get off the road, it’s for cars.
  • Never call someone’s bluff unless you know what the answer is going to be.
  • If you have to tell people how good you are, there’s a fair chance you’re probably not.
  • Sex, money, power and charisma explain everything.  In that order.
  • No Twitter.  No Facebook.  No YouTube.  No MySpace.
  • Ban dogs poo-ing near cafe’s.
  • Trucks should keep to their own lanes.
  • Bring back capital punishment
  • Up the speed limit
  • Ban the Burka

Kindness reverberates

Each small act of kindness reverberates across
great distances and spans of time, affecting lives
unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the
source of the good echo, because kindness is passed
on and grows each time it is passed, until a simple
courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years
later and far away.  Likewise, each small meanness,
each expression of hatred, each act of evil.

– from Dean Koontz’s From The Corner Of His Eye.

… you do not have the outcome of death to motivate your reactions.

From Issue 77, Nov-Dec 2010, Flight Safety Australia magazine; in an article discussing the use of Flight Simulators

Other instructors say the pause button on a simulator can be overused. Chief Flying instructor of Coffs Harbour-based Professional Pilot Training, Robert Loretan, remembers an experience early in his career that taught him a hard lesson about how to use simulators appropriately.

The incident happened when he was an exchange instructor in the US Air Force on the Northrop T-38 Talon supersonic trainer.

‘I taught a girl on a T-38s in an all-singing, all-dancing, six-axis, terrain-modelling, full mission simulator. The T-38 at 160 knots on Finals with a simulated engine failure was behind the drag curve, and too slow to go around, or even maintain a three degree approach path. To imprint this danger into her perception I put the simulator on Finals too slow and too low and we could not maintain the approach path in afterburner, so we crashed short of the runway. We did this three times.’

‘The images were very real and I was scared by the experience. I became determined not to let my jet get into that situation. However, she was relaxed and just hit the reset button to put us back on to Finals as though nothing had happened.’

‘She went flying with another instructor a day later – they got in the same situation, she delayed her reaction because she did not understand the outcome, and they hit the approach lighting just short of the runway. Fortunately they got the ’burner in on the second engine just as they hit, and they got enough vertical trajectory to eject safely as the aeroplane broke up.’

‘I blame myself a bit – I let her crash in the simulator and taught her the wrong thing when I thought I was doing the right thing. The problem of practising dangerous activities in a simulator is that you do not have the outcome of death to motivate your reactions: if you let ‘You explain how you’re flying the aeroplane by attitude and set it up for them – their eyes aren’t even outside – they’re flying by artificial horizon, because that’s what you do on flight sim. You can pick it straight away. ‘it get to the point of crashing you can cause a negative transfer into the perception of the pilot.’

However, Loretan says the safest place to practise dangerous activities is in a simulator.   ‘As an experienced pilot, I transferred the aeroplane skills to the simulator to build my situational awareness for operations in the aeroplane. She took the same experience in the simulator to the aeroplane and damaged her situational awareness.’

The Tombstone Imperative

Sketch of the collapse from the inquest files VPRS 24P3 Inquest Deposition Files, unit 120There is a term in aviation safety, called “The Tombstone Imperative”.  Yes, it’s a bit of gallows humour.

The term means that a fault or flaw will not be fixed until the costs of the deaths outweighs the cost of fixing the problem.

Health and Safety laws in Victoria received a massive kick-start 40 years ago today.  35 construction workers lost their lives on 15th October 1970, when, during construction of the West Gate Bridge, span 10-11 collapsed and fell 164 feet.

There are many factors which led to the span collapsing.  If I had to name one, I’d say the rush to get the project finished.  It was running behind.  The rush led to construction management taking decisions which cost lives.

The 35 workers deaths weren’t in vain.  In the words of survivor Tommy Watson

“In those days, we didn’t have legal rights around safety like we do today, we couldn’t get an independent engineer to look at it,” he recalls. “It was all on the boss’s say-so and the engineer Jack Hindshaw assured us it was safe. His words were ‘If it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t be here.’ Well, he died and took 34 men with him. I learned from that day, to never, ever take the boss’s word on safety.”