Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old Joke - New Ending

This post started out as me just posting a joke, but then I thought too hard about it.

Passenger: Why was the flight delayed?
CSA: The pilot didn't like the sound of the engine.
Passenger: Did they get another engine?
Old Ending: No, they got another pilot.
New Ending: No, they downloaded new sounds.

They're talking about putting artificial sounds on electric cars so that blind people can hear them. They already have artificial pre-stall warning symptoms (i.e. the stick shaker) on airliner flight decks, to mimic the feeling of the stall buffet in the airplanes most pilots learned to fly in. Perhaps someday there will be a reason to use artificial engine sounds to mimic the sounds pilots are accustomed to in monitoring our engines. Detonation, backfiring, missed cylinders, loose flyweights, or "scary banging sounds."

Usually gauges provide the information we need, but there have certainly been many times when an engine sound has made me look at the gauges. Gauge irregularities make us listen to the engines (make us look at them too, that's actually part of the procedure, to make sure they aren't on fire).

There's an unexpected aviation connection to breaking news. Prince William, who is second in line to the throne and will probably become the King of Canada someday, has just announced his engagement to a woman who is the progeny of a flight attendant and a flight dispatcher. Long live the Queen!


Tony Hunt said...

And Prince William is an RAF SAR helicopter pilot.

dpierce said...

I wrote an Android smartphone app that monitors your throttle position via the OBD2 port under the dashboard, generates an appropriate waveform, and plays a nice noise through your car's speakers (if you have a Bluetooth or AUX connection on your stereo).

It wasn't perfect, but you could pick from waveform profiles to make your car sounds like a Ferrari, Porsche, or Vespa.

Anonymous said...

If I ever own a mostly silent vehicle, I plan to equip it with a recording of horse's hooves on cobblestone.

Anonymous said...

I ride a mostly silent vehicle and I've never yet hit a blind person. It's the sighted people who leap off the kerb without warning and without looking who need to be run down by trolleybuses.

And yeah, long live the queen. Charlie boy is her successor so the longer she keeps going the better.

Aluwings said...

Just so we don't EVER have silent vehicles equipped with warning beepers simlar to those used on commercial vehicles when backing up! Arrrgghhh!

I once saw a passenger transport 'golf-cart' in the Dallas airport, that was piloted by a most resourceful lady with a lovely singing voice. She literally sang her way through crowds, calling out the usual phrases: "Excuse us! Coming through... watch out for your toes... etc.. interspersed with impromptu portions of other songs/lines" all in a rich lovely voice! So much more fun than, BEEP, BEEP, BEEEP !!!!!!

Unknown said...

Can't hear or see the engines on the plane that I fly, and they haven't yet added artificial sounds except for fire warnings. However, the artificial world is encroaching the cockpit rather rapidly. So far it's just artificial feel, necessary with boosted controls.

I remember however flying a single engine airplane all over the Lake Huron/Georgian bay area... Every time I was over water, especially in the winter, that engine would start making unfamiliar noises... Maybe I was just listening more carefully!



Chris said...

Whenever I fly at night I hear strange engines sounds and feel every bump. I have a theory that the absence of visual information makes you pay more attention to your other senses.