September 16, 2007

How Do You Get Where You're Going if all You Doing is Controlling the Altitude?

"Hello My name is Bennet and I am a Private Pilot."

There needs to be a 12 step program.

Aviation is an addiction. It has been 11 months since I last landed an airplane. I still get cravings when a small plane goes over head. You would think it would go away with time.

When I was becoming addicted, a student pilot, I learned navigation by dead reckoning. Wikipedia defines it as:

Dead reckoning (DR) is the process of estimating one's current position based upon a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known speed, elapsed time, and course.

Winds aloft, altitude and other stuff factor in too but the point is you navigate by deducing where you should be based on speed time and course. The way you know you got it right is there is a big lake, railroad crossing, interstate junction or what ever out the window when you expected it to be there. If you like doing sudoku you'll love dead reckoning.

Dead Reckoning factors into how I help my kids manage diabetes. Now I figured I was weired thinking like this, and OK I probably am, but there is a brilliant blog article by Scott Hanselman on BG that really works to help explain diabetes and guess what? Right! It is a aviation analogy. It's right here go read it. I'll wait for you to come back.




Great stuff huh?

OK now Scott's on the right track but he is only talking about altitude and as you may have deduced there is more to dead reckoning than the altitude. When he takes off from New York he's got 360 dregrees to choose a heading from 359 of them are not going to LA.

Altitude control keeps him from a sudden, unpleasant and potentially fatal interaction with the ground. It also keeps him from the equally unpleasant and potentially fatal, if a little longer in the making, altitude sickness.

Altitude control doesn't have anything to do with where you're going.

As brilliant as Scott's piece is, and it is brilliant, there is a big part missing. How do you get where you're going if all you doing is controlling the altitude?

This is the 'have a life' part. The love movies, play games, invent your own barbecue sauce, write blogs, go to theme parks, eat sushi, have a passion part of life. Other than not hitting the ground or passing out from lack of oxygen altitude isn't as important as course.

Get a little feedback to see if the navigational fix you were expecting is out there. See if theses instruments are on gauge: Faith, humor, friends, being a part of something bigger, sanding up for someone who can't stand alone, sitting back an letting someone else have a go.

How do you fix a course?

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