Saturday, October 22, 2011

Which way..?

“Honey, why don’t you just ask for directions?”

It is human to err.., get lost should I say and if science is to be believed then there are more people that suffer from topographical disorders than we care to believe or admit – which kind of explains a lot of things, I mean what man dares to say, “I am lost!”!? (Perhaps that is why so many resources are being thrown at the problem of navigation – so no man needs to say, “I am lost”! :)

Of course I have no problem in admitting I was lost, once. Thankfully just momentarily and I have to add, it was at 18000ft in my hang glider, high above a very flat landscape with no identifying features and I must have been suffering from hypoxia too – for a brief moment I couldn’t figure out why the sun was now on my right instead of the left before I realised that it probably means I am flying in the wrong direction! Many of my hang glider friends concentrate so much on circling in the rising updrafts that by the time they are high they have lost all sense of cognitive features. (I admit. That must be the most ambiguous sentence I have ever written! :)

Of course for aviators, getting lost it is not a new thing and the seriousness cannot be overestimated – it is no coincidence that billions of dollars have been spent on aviation navigational equipment. The industry is high tech probably second to none. In the hangar that we operate from there are two coast guard survey aircraft with survey and navigational equipment on board that are more than the value of the aircraft alone. (Using sophisticated infrared radar they can read the name on the side of a ship from 10 000ft at ten miles at night!). Around airports you will find even more high tech navigational stuff, VOR’s, Secondary Radar’s, Tracking beacons, transponders etc. But every now and then I get surprised with the ingenuity of man.

Wish you were here!

PS: A friend said, because our little orange plane lacked navigational equipment they did that especially for us.

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