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Getting on a plane and seeing a cockpit full of toggle-switch controls older than you are

10 comments

I didn't submit this suck topic, but allow me to relate some firsthand experience in this. I used to work on B-52s. The whole aircraft is cluttered with wiring that doesn't go anywhere. When they removed an old system, they'd just pull the boxes at each end and leave the wiring in between because it's not worth the effort to remove it. It's kind of wierd that you can release some iron bombs by pulling a lanyard in the ceiling of the cabin and letting them drop to the ground, yet you can also push some buttons at the same seat and launch a cruise missile to a precise target 1,000 miles away.

When the last B-52 was built(1961), my mom was ten years old. The Air Force plans on using them until 2045. How would you feel if Delta used an 80 year-old airframe?

Posted by Pastor of Muppets on 05/16/01

Hey - Get the Hell Off my side! This wasn't meant to be a Vietnam War story thread.
Posted by Northworst Frequent(ly Scared) flyer on 05/16/01

In defense of the DC-9, have you heard the one:

"When they retire the last A-320, they'll send a DC-9 to pick up the pilots."

Posted by Herschel on 05/16/01

Am I the only one that thinks old toggle switches are reassuring? I work with PCs and they are forever crashing. Do I really want a lot of microprocessors and code replacing a lot of solid copper and wires? Sure, there's something to be said about airframe stress, but fly-by-wire in a passenger jet kinda gives me the creeps. When a chip fails, there's no going back. When a switch fails, at least you can jiggle it and hope.
Posted by tholt on 05/16/01

I always check the dataplate on the doorjam when I board a DC-9. I took a USAir flight a few months ago and the manufacture date was "January 2, 1970". eek.
Posted by JPC on 05/16/01

Just remember that the FAA buys more vacuum tubes for their computers than anyone else.
Posted by Jim M on 05/17/01

There's something irresistable about seeing the consoles in the new planes - nifty displays heavily backlit. Man - think of the Quake you could play on one of those machines. Or, for that matter - flight simulator... wait a minute, this is a real flight!
Posted by Saint Nick on 05/18/01

I used to be a flight attendant for United, and every time I got on a plane I would look on the origination certificate to see who was older: me or the plane. I only won about 35% of the time.
Posted by Brian D on 08/02/01

Regarding the January 2, 1970 doorplate: So not only is the plane old, but the last guy to inspect it as it rolled off the assembly line was probably hung over.
Posted by Amy on 08/10/01

Do the planes built in the 70s have all sorts of ashtrays like the cars did back then?
Posted by blair on 08/23/01


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