Progress Moves On

Nov. 22, 2017

Boeing will use touchscreen technology by Rockwell Collins on all five flight displays of the B777X.

I always look at high-tech miracles with a trace of doubt; but hey, we’re talking abut Boeing and Rockwell Collins here. You gotta pay attention when these two giants team up.

How many of you remember when Congress enacted a law saying that all God’s children gotta have alarm beacons in their aircraft? I’m talking Congress, now, not FAA, but Congress. We shoulda known better. Congress has no business trying to run aviation. Congress can’t even run itself, and has proved it!

As an aircraft salesman, I sold a new Piper about that time. Turned out it had a beacon that did not match the new congressional standards. I told the customer I’d get him a new beacon. Then I learned there were no new ones available. Didn‘t bother Congress at all, but played havoc for me and my customer.

But hey, Congress won’t be controlling this touchscreen progress. Boeing and Rockwell Collins will.

A few weeks ago my two-decades-old pickup died dead, so we bought a Honda Civic with lotsa high-tech options including—by golly—touchscreen operations on the dash.

I love the car — hate and detest the touchscreen stuff.

In my old truck, one button turned on the radio.

It requires a NASA rocket engineer to even find the radio controls on the Honda touchscreen. It’d take a total fool to operate the radio without pulling off the road to ponder this in his heart.

But — no worries about Boeing and Rockwell Collins providing touchscreens in huge airplanes. I got faith in them.

OTOH, I still remember when aircraft fuel gauges “improved” in the 1980s. Turned out to be a safety problem instead of progress. Reckon I better stop thinking of all these old problems, huh?

More power to you, Boeing and Rockwell Collins!