Monday, January 26, 2009

Joint troubles of wooden aircraft WWI & WWII

Read to this passage from 'Structures' by J.E. Gordon and listen to what he is really saying to us today:

"In England, in both wars, we manufactured very large quantities of wooden aircraft, which always seemed to be having joint troubles of one kind or another.
As far as aircraft are concerned this was not wholly surprising, for I remember being shown, right inside vital glued joints in the main structure:

1. A pair of scissors
2. A first-aid manual (pocket size)
3. No glue at all

On the whole I do not think that most of these accidents were caused by sub-normal or abnormal people; I am afraid the guilt lies with very ordinary people, and that was just the trouble. Naturally, people get tired or bored, but I think the root of the matter was much deeper than that. Very few of those who made, or failed to make, these joints had any personal experience of a situation in which the failure of a joint could cause a fatal accident, though collectively they had a great deal of experience with things like cupboards and garden sheds, where the strength of the joints mattered very little. All our efforts to persuade them that a badly made joint was morally equivalent to manslaughter foundered on a deeply held folk tradition that it was silly to fuss about such things and that strength is a boring subject anyway. All this would not have mattered so much if it had not been practically impossible to inspect the joints properly after they had been made."

Seriously, I think even though times have changed we can't rely on policies and on other people doing what they are told. We are all ordinary people and a policy can't expect to stop people getting bored or tired, some people might say policies increase levels of boredom!


Cocobarks said...

One could take that non-fiction passage and drop it into a piece of fiction and have a very nice bit of building tension.

Igneos said...

I think your instincts are right for the fiction, Gordon has a very conversationalist style.

I will grant you that the slide show is a little bit cryptic this time but look for connections between key words and look for the woodwork picture that comes up every so often that might give you a clue.