Friday, February 15, 2008

Rare But Useful Aircraft Component

I have a photo that isn't a very big mystery. I'm sure many people will recognize it right away, but it made me laugh with surprise when I saw the object I have photographed, and I think that some people might not know what it is. And before you see the picture, it's a little bit like a riddle.

Almost every airplane I have ever flown has come from the factory with one of these equipped. I am usually glad that it did, and would be inconvenienced daily if it had not, because I use the functionality. I sometimes wish that airplanes came standard with two. But this is the first time I have ever seen one still installed on an airplane I have flown. What is in the picture?

So see if you can guess what it is without the picture, and post your answer below. If you need to see it, click here for the picture, answer what you think it is there. If it's really obvious what it is, and you don't want to spoil the fun for others, just tell us you know what it is, and keep the others guessing.

Don't read any of the comments before you have formulated your guess, or it might spoil the game for you.

14 comments:

Blake said...

Cigarette lighter!

CanuckPilot said...

Very chrome retro style emergency fire starter. (also know as a cigarette lighter)

nec Timide said...

Yup, just what I was going to say. One of great things in transitioning from rental to owning is that the socket is still connected to power.

dpierce said...

It's the dust cover for the GPS' power outlet ...

Anonymous said...

Hey, I guessed right! And my airplane has the receptacle which the mystery part plugs into, still installed and working, but not the part in your photo.

GPS_Direct said...

Have you found a creative use for the ancillary equipment that goes with this device?

Usually mounted one to each side of the cockpit?

I find them a handy place to clip my headset controls.

Lord Hutton said...

Bottle of scotch?

Greybeard said...

dpierce-
Clever!

Anonymous said...

I once lit a cigarette on a cross country flight and had the newly rated pilot in the right seat panic thinking that the airplane was about to explode. Kids!

Astroprof said...

Do you actually use that component, or do you use the socket that it plugs into?

Soaring Student said...

Last summer, for the first time since 1988, I bought a new vehicle (I've purchased new-to-me vehicles, usually former rental units, in that timeframe). This new vehicle came with one of those incenditary units, rather than the more common flap labeled "12V Power Outlet".

And while it is easier to grab then to lift a flap, the fool thing rattles around on the floor while not being used as a dust cover.

Amazing that it has not yet been lost. Of course, a replacement would probably cost $600 or so.

Marty said...

I was going to guess "beverage holder"! Doh.
That particular specimen is awfully shiny.

Anonymous said...

sheesh a shiny chrome plated cigarette lighter ... now i understand why airplanes are so expensive!

syrad said...

That's what I was going to guess! Woohoo! I personally can't wait until I get to an airplane that has a standard electrical socket in the cockpit. I've seen them on some jets larger than what I fly and I did covet them.