Sunday, September 12, 2010

DC 10 2CV C4

Do you remember an airplane built by McDonnel Douglas called the DC 10 ?

A medium to long range passenger airplane with three engines that could carry up to 380 passengers.

The first one was built in the late 1960’s, the last one in the early 1980’s and although the design of the DC 10 is 50 years old some of these airplanes are still in use as cargo planes.

One day in the past a pilot was met.
He was flying the DC 10 for more than 10 years.
This pilot was asked if it was not boring to fly the same airplane for so many years.
This, he explained, was a completely wrong presumption.
It was not boring at all to fly the DC 10.
Because, the pilot explained, on every flight he discovered something new about this airplane.
Even after 10 years and countless hours still discovering new things of an airplane!
Pretty amazing!

It brought up the question if then anybody in the world knows literally everything of this complex machine.
Or is it a man made machine so complex that nobody knows everything about it?
That for each aspect of the DC 10 a specialist knows everything but that no specialist knows everything of all aspects?

If a machine can be made so complex, one may wonder who is the master and who is the tool.
If there is a problem and the aspect-specialist is not available, it is the machine that is in control.
But most of all we may wonder how much a pilot actually knows about the workings of his or her plane.
Is it 60 % or 20 % or 80 %?

This is part of the evolution of mankind.
Human beings used to make tools that were simple, helpful and easy to fix.
Machines with a limited amount of aspects.
Most people could understand the workings and therefore when there was a problem, repairing was easy.

We don’t need to go to the Stone Age to find examples of this fact.
Let’s take cars.
The French produced a car called the Citroen 2CV.

Built from 1948 to 1990, it had a two cylinder air cooled engine of the most simple technology.

Therefore very few aspects to it.
If it broke down, it could be fixed with the tool box you have in your garage.

But in 2008, Citroen made a car called the C4 with a computer controlled gasoline engine of 1.6 liter and 16 valves.

Complex as hell: in case of a break down, no tool box from the garage was of any help.

More and more complexity means more and more dependency.
And guess what, we do this to ourselves.


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