Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ten Things Only A Pilot Cares About Her New Car

  1. The specified fuel capacity doesn't indicate whether it includes any unusable fuel.
  2. The fuel gauge is non linear and has no calibration, showing only the vaguest qualitative information on fuel remaining.
  3. The odometer, tripmeter, gas gauge and low fuel warning light are all combined in one multifunction display, giving a single point of failure for all information on fuel status.
  4. The manual does not list a speed for best range.
  5. It does, however, give a marvellous little chart showing the optimum speed for shifting gears, at different altitudes.
  6. The door open caution light is on the hot battery bus, meaning that it always illuminates when a door is open, even with the ignition off and the key removed.
  7. The low coolant temperature caution light always illuminates during the first few minutes of the trip, but according to the manual, action need only be taken if it remains illuminated for "a long time." It should be suppressed until after "a long time" so that the development of a problem presents a noticeable change to the caution panel, and so it doesn't irritate me when there is nothing I'm supposed to do about it.
  8. It has an event data recorder (i.e. a flight data recorder, for things that don't fly), that records the status of things like speed, brake and accelerator pedal depression and seatbelts, at the moment of airbag deployment. Cool. I never knew cars had those.
  9. The manual specifies a maximum carrying capacity of the car, but does not indicate how much options like an air conditioner add to the empty weight, nor does it specify if that max weight depends on a particular zero fuel weight.
  10. Use of a two-way radio in the vehicle could apparently affect seatbelt function. Even Airbus doesn't have fly-by-wire seatbelts.

So yeah, I replaced the car. It gets good gas mileage, holds me and all my stuff, and so far no one has driven into the back of it.


Anonymous said...

It's not only Pilots who care about these things... we mere mortals care too.

I just got a "new" (to me, that is) car, and I spent about 30 minutes failing to find the fuel tank capacity... you are not along!

Oh, my car has an electronic compass, but there's a warning in the manual to inform drivers that, if you turn the fan on to the "fastest" position, this may affect the reading of the compass. Only the "fastest" position, mind you. Go figure...

Anonymous said...

Buy a Beemer.

Aviatrix said...

I'm not surprised by the fan interference. I once checked out in an airplane where turning on the windshield defroster could affect the compass by more than twenty degrees.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find it mildly annoying that the article time stamps are displayed in 24h clock, but the comments are displayed in 12h clock on the same page? Or am I just too obsessive compulsive.

Aviatrix, I find it funny that a majority of your 10 reasons focussed on weight and fuel management.

And here most people think that aviators don't do anything in the cockpit (flightdeck) but steer the plane like a glorified automobile.


Aviatrix said...

The comment timestamp thing didn't annoy me before, because comments turn up in my mailbox and I read them there, but it's going to bother me now. I'll have to add it to my list of peeves for Blogger.

Anonymous said...

Seems my public service today is to bring annoyances to the light of day for other people. I should have just found work in a Quality Assurance dept.

Yellowbird said...

Does the manual contain a W&B chart? MEL?

Is there an STC to hang fuzzy dice fomr the rear-view mirror?

Anonymous said...

Most importantly, is their a little plastic float plane in the rear window?

Also, you never mentioned the type of car. Is it Diesel?

silver horde said...

We just bought 2 new Aveo. The most important feature? The colour, ofcourse!!
Good gas mileage was also of interest.

Greybeard said...

Best range/Best fuel mileage:

If it's an automatic, conventional wisdom is that best range and mileage happen when the tranny shifts into its final gear. Any faster, and you incur greater drag.
(Tire pressures should be at max. too.)

I drive a 4300 pound car. With the increased fuel prices I have been experimenting. Last week I allowed for the additional time required and made the 32 mile drive to work at 45 m.p.h.......the tranny shifts into 4th gear at 40, but if you drive at that speed it kicks back into 3rd when you start uphill......the extra five m.p.h. kept it from doing that.

At 45, this 4300 pound, 3.5 liter V6 car got 32.8 miles per gallon!
(Your mileage may vary!)
I'll be allowing for the extra time and driving at 45 for the foreseeable future!
(And thanks girl for prompting me with something I can blog about!)

Aviatrix said...

That is so awesome that someone else cares about cruising for best economy in their car.

I have to copy Greybeard's experiment and see what I get. I just have to make sure I don't keep changing the radio station as I try to lean the mixture.

Anonymous said...

Does the flaps setting on the car have any effect on the fuel usage?