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Old 05-12-2015, 01:00 AM   #101
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Truer words have never been spoken. Take Marin for instance. He's a writer and an excellent wordsmith, creating mountains of information that boggles my mind. That, however, doesn't make him right! I get a kick out his flying parallels as if there aren't any other pilots or ex pilots on the Forum. (There are plenty, staying quiet & enjoying the banter.)

Now, I know that we are to be PC in our posts and not single individuals out for criticism, but I'm sorry, I just can't help it! Navigation is simple? Anyone can do it? I would have liked to see Marin at the Navy's Arctic Survival School in the 1960s where they gave you a map, compass, an unopened ration can & a knife and told you to Navigate through the Maine woods in December to a pre determined destination. That would have been worth writing about!
Good thing you had your Arctic Survival school in Maine. Your Silva would not have done you much good above the Arctic circle. (Yes, I've spent quality time there in Greenland, Canada, and AK.)
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:06 AM   #102
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Marin, the pilot in you would appreciate this paper in the Journal of Navigation by Peter Hoare on navigating lancaster bombers during WWII..... Pm me if you want to read the article, I have the PDF.
Jim
Jim--- Thanks much for the info. I know very little about the Lancaster operations in WWII other than they occurred mostly at night and the plane was very cool. There is/was a restored one in Canada that has paid at least one visit to the Museum of Flight here in Seattle some years back. While I didn't get to ride in it I did get to crawl around in it a bit. I was on the field when it took off and the sound of four RR Merlins in full song was impressive, to say the least. Makes a B-17 sound a bit wimpy.

I have the PM function turned off on my account. If you have a link to the PDF post it here or in Off Topic if you would. I'd like to read it.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:30 AM   #103
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Marin: yes, I found that your pm is disabled. There is this article in the RIN magazine....
http://www.rin.org.uk/Uploadedpdfs/I...%20-%20opt.pdf
...and there is another that I have in their refereed journal, that is unavailable on the internet without paying for it. The refereed journal article is the one in greater depth.

My dad flew Canadian built lancs during the war. He was very, very fond of the aircraft. I saw the CWH Lancaster in 2010 at the Abbotsford airshow. Here she flys with Mt. Baker in the background.

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Me in my dad's office, with Randy the flight engineer!

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An internet acquaintance is a volunteer with the flight. Her grandfather was a pilot on the squadron at the same time as my dad. He took over one of my dad's aircraft.


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Old 05-12-2015, 09:03 AM   #104
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Ok, I can't help myself....navigating is so simple your dog can do it? Doubt that. The first part of navigating is getting a position fix of where you are..which is a small exercise in trigonometry...yes, everyone can do it, but math comes easier to some than others. Even the military pilots tell their nav computers where they are before they set their autopilots to where they want to be. Oh yeah...and subs get a good position fix before there inertial nav systems work too. For me personally, I like the overview a paper chart gets me.....whether or not I like the electronic equivalents remains to be seen.
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:32 AM   #105
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wyoboater,
Yes going fwd when you don't know where you are is not a good move. But "math" only comes into the picture if you bring it in. But starting out knowing where you are is almost a given. The name of the game is keeping track of where you are as you go fwd. Looking on a chart or even a map many observations can be made from features on the map or chart. If you can see well observing where things are and your relationship to those things with or without a compass indicates where you are. If you need the exact spot you'll probably need math or/and instruments but approximations are good enough for most of the time. Things appear different from different angles so you soon could become disoriented. One must keep track of the known things that can be seen and not get distracted depending on how familiar one is w the area. A deep conversation w someone in the wheelhouse is not a good idea.

There's lots you can do w/o math and instruments if your observations are keen. Years ago I took a 7 day trip in a 17' OB boat from near Seattle through the San Juan's and Gulf Islands, across Georgia Strait, up Burrard Inlet and the Frazer River and back w only a map/chart or two. Nothing else.

I know exactly what you mean "overview". It's the big picture. Without a good general idea of the lay of things going fwd may be iffy. The chart plotter's image of Johnson Point means nothing to my wife ... she wants a map or chart of a big area that shows her something meaningful. To be comfortable and know where to go next you've got to know where Johnson Point is relative to other things.

Some people relate to navigation or electronics through numbers and relationships shown in a formula whereas others understand basic relationships of physical things w more innate means. Ohms law can be fathomed by the formula or just knowing when resistance increases current drops. It make sense. But one must basically know what current, resistance and the force of voltage is.

That's funny though your "doubting" Marin's dog can do it. That means you're alluding to the possibility that Marin's dog actually can do it. HAHA I wouldn't go there but given no math, instruments or other measuring devices Marin's dog could quite likely do better at finding his way home than Marin. Given other circumstances of navigation though Marin may best the dog .. his or no.
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:42 AM   #106
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wyoboater,
That's funny though your "doubting" Marin's dog can do it. That means you're alluding to the possibility that Marin's dog actually can do it. HAHA I wouldn't go there but given no math, instruments or other measuring devices Marin's dog could quite likely do better at finding his way home than Marin. Given other circumstances of navigation though Marin may best the dog .. his or no.
In the recent navigation class I took there were was a nice Labrador. I think she understood the concepts, but she had a hard time with the parallel rule. So there were no lines drawn on the chart.
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:53 AM   #107
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Our dogs have a hard time with pencil LOP's too. I don't think they really understand it.

That said, our dogs are (seriously) testers of a new GPS tracking device that uses a mesh type of network to find them across the globe. It also does a nice job of very local, on-boat tracking to alarm on distance from the base unit in case they should go overboard - we have one dog who chases dolphins and has gone diving off the boat while underway.

Anyway, they appear to have no issues with GPS technology. Just sayin...
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:02 AM   #108
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Dogs and navigation . . . . . . . . no thumbs!
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:41 AM   #109
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Navigation In Depth

I think Marin's main thrust though, is the importance of understanding the principles and calculations that underlie navigation. Someone buys their first boat, has a plotter, GPS, travels somewhere. Have they learned anything about navigation? If not, is that a good thing? Is it okay just because they have redundant systems?


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Old 05-12-2015, 11:43 AM   #110
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Is navigating simply the ability to get from point A to B?

Once upon a time I had a very brilliant dog. When she was old enough to venture out in public, but still a puppy, I took her to a large park in my area. I think the park is 6,000+ acres and mostly woods. We went for a walk on a trail but it was a hot day so we veered off into the woods to go to a creek so the dog could get wet and cool off. After cooling off and getting food and water we took a short course from the creek back to the path.

I noticed that the dog would keep me in a bubble. The dog was a German Shepard and she would move in front of me, lag behind or maybe go off on the flank to sniff around but she would not let me get too far from her. I would stay in the bubble.

After awhile, it was obvious the puppy was tired so we went back the way we had come. All of the sudden the dog went off trail and starting heading off in the woods. What the heck I thought as I called her back. Course as soon as I wondered what she was up too, I had figured it out.

The course she took through the woods was the exact path we had taken on the way out. The entire time we had walking OUT, the dog had been smelling the scents of the dogs and people had come before us. When we reversed course, she was still smelling those scents but now was picking up our scent too. When our scent left the beaten path, the dog simply followed our scents back to the creek.

Hmmmm, said I. I really did pick out a smart dog. What I did not know then was that I would use this to save my bacon in the future....

Years later, we went back to the same park but at a different entrance to go for a walk. Hurricane Fran had closed the park for months and the downed trees had required the rerouting of some of the park trails. We got to the park later than I wanted, basically the sun was setting when we head out. The trail was only four miles so it would only take a little over an hour to walk. I grabbed my back pack with water, compass, flash light and some food and we were off at a brisk pace to get back before dark...

Or so we thought...

The older trail sections had worn through the top soil into a subsoil that was white. This made following the trail easy as the sun went down. But then the trail was routed into a new section to avoid masses of down trees. The new trail was NOT worn down into the white sub soil and following the trail was no longer so easy.

The sun was dropping FAST! I opened up the back pack to get out my flash light and realized I had left the flash light in the house where I was using it for a project. . We kept walking...

Then my dear dog did something most unusual. She ran off after some deer and did not IMMEDIATELY return when I called her. WTH. Ok, I did not say WTH, but I am being polite. Dang b...tch left me standing in the dark woods! Well she came back a minute or so later looking guilty but with a happy face after running the deer over a couple of ridges.

At this point, the sun was gone and it was dark. I could barely see my hand in front of my face and the trail blended in with the forest floor. The flash light was at home. What do do?

Well, I let my dog walk me, aka navigate us, out of the woods. She had been smelling the people and dogs who had been on the path before us, just like she first did when she was a puppy, and she could likely see better than I could. With the exception of her deer detour she had been following the path just as I had been. The dog had light colored hair on the back of her legs which was easy to see in the dark so I just told the dog to go and I followed her back to the parking lot.

The dog could not read a map, or use a compass, much less a modern chart plotter, but she sure as heck knew how to navigate.

I used to go through that park off trail using a map, compass and distance measured by my pace to find places buried in the woods. Great fun.

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Old 05-12-2015, 12:03 PM   #111
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Someone buys their first boat, has a plotter, GPS, travels somewhere. Have they learned anything about navigation? If not, is that a good thing? Is it okay just because they have redundant systems?
We have to recognize that we're into the transition right now. We can look to many other similar industries/products/endeavors and see a model for what's coming.

Yes, it is OK that the boater of 2020 won't know much about navigation. They really won't need to. That might be difficult for us to see because we're on both sides of the transition. So let's compare it to the automobile.

When I had my first car after graduating from college in 1980, I had a toolkit in the trunk (and a service manual for the car). I'm not saying that I was a mechanic but I knew enough about how to clean a carburetor, adjust points and plugs, and keep it all working given the normal types of problems that could occur. Fast forward to about 1995 and I doubt I could really do much to fix anything except incredibly obvious issues. By 2000, there were no longer tools in my car although I still carried a pressure gauge and did my own oil changes and basic maintenance. By 2010, cars appeared without stems on the tired - the pressure is all digital. By 2012, some BMW's can't have their oil changed without being at a service center - there is no user-adjustment or ability to drain the fuel.

And through all of this, cars are incredibly more reliable. The kids graduating from college this spring probably don't even know that they once were able to change oil on their car.

And if you get into trouble in a car, your cell phone (a type of redundancy) is right there with help.

You might not like it. It might feel strange. But it's progress and it's a really good thing.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:08 PM   #112
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I saw the CWH Lancaster in 2010 at the Abbotsford airshow. Here she flys with Mt. Baker in the background.
Nice shots. There is a video in the hydroplane museum in Kent, Washington about the evolution of rhe Rolls Royce aero engines. The video spends quite a bit of time on the Merlin, of course, and its application in the Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, Mosquito, Lancaster, etc. Lots of cool footage I'd never seen before of all those planes. The one thing I kept wondering as I watched the scenes of the Lancaster is why they didn't put a retractable tail wheel on it?

Something I learned is that the Rolls piston aero engines were all named for birds of prey. I always assumed the Merlin was named for the fictional wizard. I didn't know the Merlin is a bird. Rolls turbofan engines are named after rivers.

And kudos for picking up on my basic point about the value of in-depth understanding as a basis for becoming skilled at navigation regardless of how one ultimately chooses to do it.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:14 PM   #113
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I think Marin's main thrust though, is the importance of understanding the principles and calculations that underlie navigation. Someone buys their first boat, has a plotter, GPS, travels somewhere. Have they learned anything about navigation? If not, is that a good thing? Is it okay just because they have redundant systems?


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My answer is yes. As long as you have a back-up, it doesn't matter to me if it's a laptop based system or paper charts. Although I would pick the electronic back-up for simplicity and accuracy.

Bookkeeping is now done on the computer using accounting softwares such as Quickbooks. Most people don't know how to do bookkeeping by hand. Are these folks less qualified bookkeepers? I think not.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:33 PM   #114
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A navigator will use all tools available and understand their limitations and plan accordingly.

I once surfaced from a scallop dive into a bank of fog and rain that rolled in while we were doing our thing off the coast of nh. The boat was a 15 foot Glastron, we were 6 miles from shore and the year was 1974. No charts, no electronics just two cold wet divers with 20 dollar ikelite wrist compass between them. Best tasting scallops ever.


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Old 05-12-2015, 01:02 PM   #115
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But it's progress and it's a really good thing.
it's actually not, although it depends on what one considers a good thing. A more reliable car, sure.

The company I work for is hiring a ton of new, young employees. It has no choice-- the veteran workforce is retiring. This transition is occurring throughout the company including our own department. The young employees are whizzes with mobile communications and computer-based skills. But their lack of a rounded exposure to reality, largely the fault of their education, and their attitude of "I'm owed" is reflected in their inability to see the big picture, their inability to think and act independently, and most damaging, their inability to see the logical path to solving complicated problems. By which I mean production problems, logistics problems, tactical problems, and strategic problems.

The result is that every undertaking takes more time, costs far more than it should, and the end rsult is less effective and comes out with far more problems that have to be fixed. It's a growing dilemma the company I work for is increasingly struggling with and there's no solution.

Our customers are increasingly pissed at us for missing delivery dates and delivering products with defects that take time and cost the customers a ton in schedule disruptions and lost revenue. And we are paying out more and more money every year in penalties and warranty claims.

In my own department our costs are skyrocketing, our productivity is dropping, and our customers are less and less satisfied. The work itself hasn't changed in all the years I've been there. The only thing that's changing is the age of the employees and their attitude, skill, understanding, and approach to the work.

Working with these people, and I'm talking people in their later 20s and early to mid 30s, is in many ways like working with children. They are great at focusing in on details but their big-picture skills are incredibly bad. And what's particularly detrimental is their inability to quickly grasp a complex concept. It has to be explained over and over until you're practically reduced to See Spot Run dialogue.

This chacteristic is becoming prevelant all across the company and as a result the company's performance is suffering.

I see this reflected in boating, with the younger boaters I talk to increasingly baffled by the realities boaters face. Like navigation.

What Jeffery describes is actually a death spiral. As boating (or any activity, actually) becomes more and more dependent on automation, the participants become less and less self-reliant. Not just in changing oil but in all aspects of life, particularly decision making.

This is probably the most damaging problem and is in my opinion and experience the thing most responsible for dragging the company I work for down. Knowing how to do something is sometimes not enough. Being able to make the right decision as to what to do is often more important. This is as true for the boater as it is for the airplane company.

Jefferey takes a very short-term view of this. Sure, not having to know how to change an engines oil is fine. Not really understanding how navigation works but knowing which buttons to push to make it happen is fine, too.

But what's really happening here? People are gradually becoming dumbed down. And this basic approach to life will, in my opinion, eventually lead to Major Problems. Not so much in driving a boat around. But in companies like the one I work for and in international relationships and even in the path our own country takes. You want a glimpse into the future, read the stuff the posters on OTDE are railing about. Much of what they are reacting to is the result of this "dumbing down," which is a worldwide phenomenon, not just a boating one.

Which is why people who still have a degree of self-reliance and the ability to see and understand the big picture and who can solve problems on their own, and most important have the breadth of knowledge to make good decisions quickly, tend to react, sometimes strongly, when they see notions like Jeffrey's expressed which simply magnify and hasten the dumbing down process and the consequences it brings.

PS--Earlier I said there is no solution. Actually there is one, and one I expect Jeffery will heartily approve of. And that is to remove people entirely from every active phase of a process, be it boating or building airplanes. And that is exactly what's happening. The company I work for is introducing full automation as fast as it can and getting rid of people as fast as this will allow. The food industry, particularly the fast food industry, is doing exactly the same thing.

Perhaps the ultimate realization of Jeffrey's vision will be boaters who never leave their homes. Instead, they will sit comfortably in their living rooms-- or perhaps a Boating Room-- and operate their boat by total remote control and experience boating vicariously with 3D glasses and surround sound.

At which point it will no longer matter what kind of anchor one has because if it drags in a storm there will be no consequences, right?
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:27 PM   #116
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Bookkeeping is now done on the computer using accounting softwares such as Quickbooks. Most people don't know how to do bookkeeping by hand. Are these folks less qualified bookkeepers? I think not.
Equally qualified if their role is limited to bookkeeping, but less qualified in accounting.

When we don't know the principles behind what we're doing, then we're limited to just doing that and ill equipped for exceptions or expanding our roles. As an employer, I always want my employees to understand fully their job and how it relates to others. That way they're also able contribute with suggestions and ideas. So my training is never about just doing the task, but always includes understanding the job, it's purpose, and the underlying basics.

Similarly, one can easily use the equipment and head out and be ok the vast majority of the time. But if they don't understand the principles, then they'll deal poorly when the compass reading is off or the GPS is giving an obviously incorrect view to the plotter. They will not be prepared to deal with problems or exceptions. And if they follow equipment or paper blindly it will one day get them into trouble. However, if they realize these are just tools, based on data that at any moment can become wrong, subject to errors, then when they see the water they're approaching is a decidedly different color than the channel they've been in, they'll still respond to it and avoid the shoal that wasn't there last week. They'll also know to source information from locals including tow boat captains and dockmasters and other boaters.

Years ago I was driving over the mountains of TN and NC on a rainy day, temperature near 50 degrees. Weather forecast was for rain all my 380 mile trip. I had a CB I never listened to but was bored. The conversation shocked me as the trucks approaching were all discussing the ice forming behind them and how treacherous the roads were getting. Turned out to be a major snow and ice storm across the state.

Educate yourself, observe, and listen. That's what navigating is about and most any other task you undertake in life.

We had no reason to want Captain's licenses. However, as much time as we spent boating, we wanted to accumulate all the knowledge we could and we saw the combination of the structure of licensing and on boat training by captains to be the best way to do so. We know things we hope to never use, especially in the medical and fire fighting and rescue topics. And every day we learn more. If you ever think you know it all, you're in trouble. Just yesterday on a center console we used a depth finder and a pole to check a canal and see how far off the chart was. Honestly it was like looking at two entirely different canals.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:48 PM   #117
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If you ever think you know it all, you're in trouble.
Probably the most relevant statement in this thread and one which the "I've been doing this forever" crowd should pay heed to.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:49 PM   #118
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It's really easy to poo-poo the inevitable changes that happen in this human experience we're all on. No one grows their own food, pans for water, or solves DR problems any longer. Oh, I'll bet that when sextants were introduced, their use was considered heresy by the entrenched of the day. Those damn 30 year olds who think they can use the celestial bodies! It's always that way.

I hope that as I continue to age, I'll keep enjoying the new things the younger generation gives to us, because they are the ones seeing into the future with creativity, not us.

I feel really great about where this planet is heading given the next generation coming up behind us. Thankfully, we didn't destroy the whole thing, although we gave it a good try.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:56 PM   #119
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.... keep enjoying the new things the younger generation gives to us, because they are the ones seeing into the future with creativity, not us.
i would totally agree with you if the evidence supported it. Unfortunately it doesn't. For a dose of reality, talk to the HR managers, program directors, customers, finance department, etc of the company I work for. They do not share your rosy view of the upcoming workforce, which is one reason we are trying so hard to minimize it as quickly as possible.

I like working with the younger employees in our organization. They have new ideas and very creative ways of looking at things. That part is great. But when it comes time to execute those ideas, to make decisions about implementing their ideas... not a clue.

A good friend of mine is one of the top directors of photography in the commercial production industry in the US. He says exactly the same thing. The young folks entering the field have wonderful ideas and are full of cool new concepts of how to shoot and edit. But they can't execute their ideas to save their lives. As a result, costs skyrocket, deadlines are missed, and the clients are not happy.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:08 PM   #120
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They do not share your rosy view of the upcoming workforce, which is one reason we are trying so hard to minimize it as quickly as possible.
Perhaps the jobs once thought of as desirable, really aren't any longer. Maybe there's more to life than working in some office to make someone else get rich.

Therein lies the value of being young - seeing it all in a way that we can't possibly see.
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