Saturday, February 15, 2014

It's Enough to Make Me Forget the Wheels

I really should be working, not blogging. But I have to pass on this pearl of operational wisdom.

Wheel up landing ARE NOT authorized

The above is actual wording from a Power Point slide I was given, to help me develop better in-house training on our aircraft. I'm not sure which bothers me more: the grammar or the implication that the operator who developed the slideshow thought there was a real possibility that they might hire a pilot who was stupid enough to need to be told this. I'm leaning towards the grammar bothering me more, because I can't just tell myself, "Chill, Aviatrix. Someone forgot an s." I'm endlessly tortured by the indecision of whether the s is missing from the end of wheel or the end of landing. Either, but not both, would fix it. But perhaps the grammar issue is a positive, distracting me from the message.

Maybe it's a joke. Throw that in, lighten up the mood. Certainly it's lighter than the preceding slide, which lists the dimensions, ply and recommended pressure for all the tires. I don't truly understand the purpose of slides like the tire one. No one should be expected to memorize this stuff. A photograph of a tire that has been damaged by excessive braking (been there, done that), showing the various ply exposed would make a better slide. Hmm, did I take a photo of my shame? You have to look up the part number to order a tire anyway, so knowing the size isn't sufficient. The only useful datum in the list is the tire pressure, and we write the recommended tire pressure on the rims in Sharpie because who wants to trust memory or look that stuff up when you don't have to.

When I teach systems and procedures to professional pilots, people who have both completed commercial pilot training and worked for a few thousand hours in industry, I shouldn't need to tell them which way up the airplane goes, right? I should be able to assume a basic grasp of the concepts embodied by hydraulic and electrical power. But the little voice that caused the person who made that slide to include the instruction above spoke to me. It tells me I should explain that the hydraulic system is a means of transmitting a pushing force at a distance, around corners, by means of fluid pressurize. And I've figured out how to do it too. I'll invite non-pilots in the organization, people who do flight following and who might benefit from knowing what "we have a hydraulic problem" could mean to the beginning of the session and load them up with a quick overview of "what the pilots already know." In case they don't.


Rhonda said...

But not both?

I am trying to picture a "wheel up" landing. I thought the phrase was always "wheels up" because airplanes have more than one wheel. So I would think that there would always be an 's' there.

And the discussion is either of landings which ARE not permitted, or a landing which IS not permitted.

Is there some bit of jargon that I'm not understanding? Because I'm reading it as a pair of missing 's's.

As far as including it in a presentation, I'm guessing it's nothing more than a joke. I heard once that the plane that carried the space shuttle was marked "black side down" at the shuttle mount points. Urban legend or truth I don't know, but either way definitely a joke.

PPL Driver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PPL Driver said...

What if you're flying a floatplane? A wheels up landing is probably recommended...

Ed Davies said...

Shuttle carrier aircraft mount point label

majroj said...

Are senior pilots expected to teach? That is cool, if they are instructor material.

I "hang around" (virtually) many senior emergency medical and disaster preparedness folks and teaching seems to be part of their territory, too.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the word "landing" does not need to be pluralized because if you do land wheels up the chances are high the aircraft will not have an opportunity to do a second one that way.

sean said...

The problem is not with the compound modifier, it's with the singular subject.

Like Rhonda, I always thought the phrase was "wheels up" (i.e. one or multiple wheels not on the ground). If "wheel up" is an acceptable term (one wheel fails to deploy?) then this is not where the s needs to be. "wheel up" or "wheels up" is the compound modifier of "landing" either way.

The problem is that the singular "landing" is combined with the plural "are".
Either "landings are" or "landing is" would be correct grammatically, but not "landing are".

For the regex geeks;
/wheel[s]? up landing[s are| is] not permitted/.

majroj said...

I'm stuck trying to pick between two versions of a "wheels up takeoff".

1. Normal excellent takeoff with a retractable gear craft.

2. Maybe a Harrier or other vertical takeoff device, sitting on its belly?