Flying without maps – learning by doing

West coast 2013 118I recently visited the excellent Museum of Flight near Seattle. It is in the area where Boeing is based and planes are test flown. That in itself was a good enough reason to go but there were was so much more to see in the museum itself.  We started in the Red Barn which covers the “Birth of Aviation” and as I wandered round I was drawn to watch a video playing beside one exhibit. It was dedicated to Elrey Borge Jeppesen.  According to the Wikipedia entry for him

“Elrey Borge Jeppesen (January 28, 1907 – November 26, 1996) was an American aviation pioneer noted for his contributions in the field of navigation. He developed manuals and charts that allowed pilots to fly much more safely.”

What particularly fascinated me about  “Jepp” was that the video was of him talking about his exploits as one of the earliest commercial pilots. He described how he followed railroad lines as there were no air maps. He took notes in his black book of landmarks  like rivers and lakes and obstacles like mountains to make sure he survived his flights .  These went on to become the “Jepp Charts” that pilots still use. It was touching to see Jepp as an elderly man being approached by a young trainee pilot who wanted to share how excited he was to meet the man who created the charts.

Few of us get the chance to create something completely new. But sometimes we develop something  new from strands of this and fragments of that . Because we rarely take the time to sit and think and reflect and notice things the danger is that we miss it. Suddenly we are doing this great new thing without appreciating how much effort got us where we are.

Jepp had his maps as evidence…what do you have?

(As an aside and without any affiliation of monetary benefit – I started to use the One Day app on my ipad. It is like a diary with short posts.  It might help as a resource for capturing your thoughts. There are of course many other ways!)

And the pic is a bit of an indulgence…I was on the President’s plane! Not the current one sadly… Can’t tell you how excited I was.