Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cringely stupidity

Sometimes Bob comes up with a real boner.

My hobby is building small airplanes and one of my favorites is a Davis DA-2A, winner of the Outstanding New Design contest in 1966, the same year my Oldsmobile (and my current Thunderbird convertible) was built. That little Davis can teach us a lot about cars.

I didn't build my DA-2A, but I am rebuilding it right now and know it intimately. My Davis is an all-aluminum two-seater with an 85-horsepower engine. The engine was built in 1946, the plane in 1982, and the whole thing cost under $4,000 at the time, though today I have more than that invested in the instrument panel alone. The plane weighs 625 lbs. empty, 1125 lbs. loaded, has a top speed of 140 miles per hour and can travel about 600 miles on its 24-gallon fuel tank.

Why can't I buy a car like that?

Um, because a fender-bender would kill everyone, stupid!

Cars used to be made like that airplane of yours. Then Ralph Nader wrote a little book called "Unsafe At Any Speed," and the fit hit the shan.

The threat model for airplanes and cars are entirely different, which requires entirely different priorities. Cars need to be crashworthy, because crashes are very, very frequent compared to airplanes.

Those who can't, teach. Those too stupid to even teach, commentate.

No comments: