Saturday, May 21, 2016

Words mean different things to different people

A few years ago (OK many years ago)  McDonnell Douglas Aircraft company was celebrating the first flight of their new aircraft, the fabulous MD-11.  A bunch of movers and shakers were invited to witness the flight from an auditorium in (I think) the Engineering Center in Long Beach.  (Nobody could really witness it in-situ, unless they were in a chase plane.) They had all sorts of stuff live on the giant screen in the auditorium.  I happened to be there on other business, and they graciously invited an engineering ragamuffin like me to view the showing.  The MD-11 took off from a field East of Long Beach and proceeded out over the Pacific Ocean so as not to be over populated areas.

 The Computer room, filled with Cray computers was just across the hall from the entrance  to the auditorium.  Suddenly, the screen went blank.  No sound.  No image.  There were all sorts of rumblings in the auditorium.  The door to the Auditorium flew open and a young geek shouted into the room "We've crashed."  After a few heart attacks in the McDonnell family and management, he amended that statement to the computers have crashed and could not process the telemetry.

This is a posting in praise of a truly great company.  However, even the greatest company is at the mercy of it's lowest geek.

This posting was brought to mind because of a moronic commenter's statement on a popular blog asking why we should even carry black boxes on aircraft if we couldn't immediately retrieve them after a crash.  Someone see that the moron gets an invite to the Engineering Center where they recover and refurbish the  black (orange) boxes to be read.  Those engineers and techs are truly awesome in what they accomplish!

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