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They could not find an average man

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Old 03-20-2016, 08:44 AM
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Default They could not find an average man


The flaw of averages - long read - go here https://beta.thestar.com/news/insigh...-averages.html
During the start of the jet age, the U.S. Air Force was losing a fair amount of pilots - most chalked up to pilot error. A young lieutenant realized the fatal flaw in the cockpit design of U.S. air force jets.

The US Army Air Corps, which later became the U.S. Air Force did a study on pilots and came up with "average" size and then made the cockpit fit "the average pilot"

This wasn't too much of an issue with prop driven planes, which tended to be slower and a bit more forgiving. Early jets were much faster and much less forgiving.

The long and short of this is that the lieutenant mentioned above went through 20,000 people that fit the pilot size range qualifications and did not find a person that met the calculated average.

To their credit, the U.S. military looked at this report and made adjustments so that the cockpits fitted the pilots - adjustable seats, pedals, rudders, etc. (a lot of this started to make it's way into automobiles)

Once they found out that there was no average pilot and jet powered planes had cockpits that adjusted to fit the pilots, the rate of "pilot error" jet crashes plummeted.

I bet there are some take aways here../

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Old 03-22-2016, 11:56 AM
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Crashing jets often plummet. ( yuk yuk ) It's interesting that they would do something so simple and logical. It was I suspect a different age and a different time in our history. Detroit is still struggling with this. I had to modify the seat frames of two of the last three cars I've owned to get adequate leg room ( I'm 6'2" ). I shall file this away with all the other minutia about industrial history that clogs my brain. Thanks for the insight.
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:41 AM
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("...in war, getting set in one's ways is often the biggest killing of all, where the military is often be loathed to be adaptive or innovative..." remarked the goblin reminded by commendable previous post about how parachutes were frowned upon during the first world war, sighing "...I think it had something to do with that unvoiced "the captain should go down with his ship" mentality...")
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:34 AM
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I wonder why it took a survey of 20,000 pilots. Why didn't they just listen to them one at a time? "My feet don't reach the pedals" is a good indicator of a design flaw.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:40 AM
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Everyone's feet reached the pedals - but not at an optimum point.

The size standard for a U.S. military pilot was set in the 1920s, and was not re-evaluated until the late 1940s. In that time they went from slower prop planes to fast jets and exact fit became critical.

and if you have to ask "why didn't they listen to 20,000 pilots one at a time" then you might not understand how large bureaucracy's work.
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