Madeline L’Engle describes her reading habits in Walking on Water:

As a child, when I came across a word I didn’t know, I didn’t stop reading the story to look it up, I just went on reading. And after I had come across the word in several books, I knew what it meant; it had been added to my vocabulary. This still happens.

She compares this method to reading with a dictionary beside her. In the latter, she professes that she became bogged down.

Perhaps this is the best way for learning how to use analytical tools and how to apply mathematics to leadership.

 

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Previous: Is it still in focus? | Next: Statistics and Punctuation

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Where Do We Go From Here

How do we find our way then, when we are exploring the unknown, blazing a trail into uncharted territory? How do we apply elementary statistical principles to transform uncertainty into decisive action? What is to prevent us from making a preposterous application of ATOMs when we deal with very complex situations, those in which our intuition fails?

These questions are not much different from those faced by Chuck Yeager before he ever broke the sound barrier or Neil Armstrong as he took that first step on the moon. Neither of these men, nor anyone around them–with hundreds or thousands of highly educated, very scientific people on these teams–knew what to expect. Or did they…?

ATOMs is a monthly column that introduces analytical tools of mathematics and statistics and illustrates their application. To read more about ATOMs, you can read Where Do We Go From Here, or view the online workbook here.

This column features a brief description, photo or video, and/or reference that talks about a Flight Test Technique that students at USAF Test Pilot School are currently learning. It’s an alphabetical list of FTTs together with a chronological account of what future test pilots and flight test engineers are doing right now. It will complement the previous Friday’s FTT tweets as well.

The goal of the first flight is to takeoff and then land the aircraft safely. #FTT #flighttest

Flying qualities in landing configuration are evaluated. #FTT #flighttest

Propulsion and basic air data FTTs are performed to validate basic performance of the test aircraft. #FTT #flighttest

#Video:First flight of the Boeing 747

Notable first flights (via wikipedia) #FTT #flighttest

Other posts:
Airborne pickup FTT (used on first flights)
First flight of the first fly-by-wire business jet from @EmbraerSA

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This post summarizes references and #FTT tweets from the previous Friday. What is #FTT Friday?

#FTT Friday
Each Friday, @FlightTestFact will deliver examples, definitions, and explanations of flight test techniques for the entire day. You can view these tweets by searching for #FTT and #flighttest as depicted below. You can also click on the picture below to be taken to the twitter search results. What FTT would you like to know more about?


For more information, you can read the post What is an FTT? or check out the alphabetical index or the FTT blog category for several examples, test cards, and videos of FTTs.

The original Airplanes by Design photo channels have been viewed over 7,500 times on Flickr and on Pinterest. However, it’s impossible to keep up with the people and companies who have dedicated photographers.

So here are the first 6 photo channels (in alphabetical order) that feature photos and (sometimes) flight test perspectives on airplanes. These are also unique ways to interact with flickr and pinterest that you probably didn’t know about.

1. Airventure Group on Flickr
Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II
Joining a group and sharing your photos in it is an often overlooked feature of Flickr.

2. Bombardier Aerospace on Flickr

3. Corporate Flight Management on Flickr
You can add individuals as contacts on flickr or subscribe to the RSS. As a broker of airplanes, this company has some amazing pictures on the insides and outsides of airplanes. Click the photo to link to their photostream.
2000 Bombardier Challenger 604 - CL-600-2B16 - sn 5473 - N303KR - 02

3. Dassault Aviation Group on Flickr

4. Embraer Aircraft tagged on Flickr
Tags are an excellent way to categorize aircraft and a powerful search tool on Flickr. Most Airplanes by Design photos are tagged with flight test.

5. Flightglobal – an awesome online magazine with plenty of airplane pictures on pinterest.

 

6. Grumman and other First Flights by Ole Primdahl on pinterest
He only posts pictures that I would feel comfortable sharing with my kids–thanks Ole.

Source: flugzeuginfo.net via Ole on Pinterest

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Airplanes by Design features photographs of aircraft from a test pilot perspective, highlighting aeronautical engineering characteristics and flight test facts. To see all of the these pictures (and many more of this aircraft and it’s unique design characteristics), click here. You will always be able to access any of these pictures by selecting the Flickr icon in the top menu bar.

WANTED: Your pictures and videos.

Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to share your Airplanes by Design stories and photos. See more Flight Test photos on Pinterest too.

Right-Arrow-Detour-Sign-X-M4-9RAt the beginning of the year I asked, “where do you see yourself this year?”

Two months later, I want to know: Did you see yourself here at this waypoint? 

Why do I ask that? Here are three reasons you might feel like you’ve detoured.

1. You envisioned the goal–not the journey to get there.
I started a new personal project in November–looking at it today, I’ve only filled up two pages of the 100 page composition notebook I bought for it. #Epic is not a word I would use to describe it.

Do you have a similar project or goal that you started recently?

2. Using the tools is hard.
For example, perhaps you are still struggling to make Evernote as awesome as everyone says it is.

Maybe, just maybe, you still waste too much time on Facebook (even though it has connected you to some amazing people).

3. When you started, it revealed shortcomings in your leadership or character or knowledge.
I only say this because it hits so close to home.

That journal of eating habits doesn’t get done, because you don’t really want to know how bad your eating habits are–thus, eating habits are not improving.

Or the feedback you got on your writing project showed you how much you need to improve or rethink your message.

I only have one suggestion for navigating the detours: You need to spend more time studying the map!
1. Take another look–is your vision really in focus? Start here for some observations about vision.
2. Follow the recipe.
3. Review the map legend.

If we had looked at the map in a little more detail, I think we would have seen all three of these speedbumps.

Previous: Four P’s in Recipe | Next: How to learn

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Where Do We Go From Here

How do we find our way then, when we are exploring the unknown, blazing a trail into uncharted territory? How do we apply elementary statistical principles to transform uncertainty into decisive action? What is to prevent us from making a preposterous application of ATOMs when we deal with very complex situations, those in which our intuition fails?

These questions are not much different from those faced by Chuck Yeager before he ever broke the sound barrier or Neil Armstrong as he took that first step on the moon. Neither of these men, nor anyone around them–with hundreds or thousands of highly educated, very scientific people on these teams–knew what to expect. Or did they…?

ATOMs is a monthly column that introduces analytical tools of mathematics and statistics and illustrates their application. To read more about ATOMs, you can read Where Do We Go From Here, or view the online workbook here.

Jon Acuff says this aboutimg-book-start-small the Wright brothers:

Even the Wright brothers started with a kite.

I’m a Wright brothers superfan, so that caught my eye. It was enough to get me to read  the first chapter of Start. Having only read the first chapter, I feel like the commentary that follows is warranted.

I have a piece of advice for those that read Start.

Learn how to fight off a shark attack.

How do you fight off a shark attack? You punch the shark in the nose. What if that doesn’t work? Poke it in the eye with your bloody stump.

If the first chapter is any indication, Jon’s book is going to make you want to start, but will you be able to go the distance?

What do I mean by that? I predict bloody stumps, Jon.

Let’s use the Wright brothers as an example. Let me show you the black eyes that came after their Start, a list of some of their lesser know accolades:

They were underfunded. Their top competitor had $70,000 in US grants (that’s $1.8 million in today’s dollars). The Wright flyer cost about $1,000 to build. (The well-funded guy failed, by the way.)

No 15 minutes of fame. Their “first flight” only lasted 12 seconds. You would miss it if you blinked.

Famine came before fortune. For two years, in 1906 and 1907, the Wright brothers made no flights at all.

So I have to ask again: Readers of Start, can you go the distance?

Are you ready for what comes after the start?

Michelangelo ran out of the Sistine Chapel, left the job like a scared schoolgirl, weeks after he was commissioned to paint the ceiling.

Charlie Duke was born in a world without spaceships, but he then became the youngest man to walk on the moon and almost lost his wife in the process!

Are you willing to continue fighting with the shattered remains of your fist?

Because fear punches back. 

So fellow readers, if you really are doing work that matters, then three years from now I predict a two year famine. So take a lesson from Will and Orville and start stocking up your basement with water and canned goods.

I can’t wait to read the rest, Jon. I promise to hold it with my good arm.

ML_Start Poster_web2

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Outliers – Who to Follow is a column that introduces you to Outliers, leaders of significance, people you should follow. Following them will not just add value–it will multiply value in your life and leadership. Follow the list @markjonesjr/multiplyleaders on twitter to get introduced to more leaders who are Outliers.

If you would like to read about Outliers (and not the regular flight test content of this blog), please subscribe to the feed for this column by clicking on the link below.

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My kids love pizzookies. That’s what we call a cookie baked in a pizza pan, like the one pictured here. (I think we first called it that after visiting a national restaurant chain where they were served.)

Baking a pizookie, or using any recipe, requires four different kinds of steps in the list of instructions–four Ps: Purpose, Procedure, Process, and Performance.

ATOMs are like a recipe for using information properly to understand uncertainty and risk.

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1. Purpose
Obviously, we want to bake a pizookie and enjoy it’s deliciousness. More specifically, though, our purpose is to follow the recipe, the instructions, to the best of our ability, to help us create this culinary delight. Our purpose is not to learn something about cookies but to actually do something, to make them.

2. Procedure
Some of the steps in the checklist are procedures–I would suggest that these are black and white without need of interpretation or judgment. “Add 2 cups sugar,” for example, is a quantitative step done in a particular order.

3. Process
Then there are steps that do require judgment and experience: “fold ingredients together” or “mix well,” or “stir until…such and such consistency.” When is something mixed well? Did you know you can mix it too well and break down the chemical composition of the ingredients (thus altering the taste)?

For the inexperienced, these words can carry some uncertainty. There’s a specific culinary lexicon that one must understand in order to comply with these process steps, and part of understanding it, like language idioms, is experience.

4. Performance
Finally, when all is mixed together, the last step in transforming the ingredients is to do the actual cooking, and this is a performance step. How well the dessert turns out is a function (partially) of the ingredients and how we mixed them, but it also depends on setting the right temperature and monitoring the baking. The difference between process and performance are subtle, but performance is about measuring the outcome of a process. Our performance matters, because no one likes burnt pizzookie.

These four steps apply to equally well to both leading and also to using analytical tools (ATOMs). Understanding the purpose of a task (or tool) is critical to using it properly. There are black and white steps for use, and then there are processes which require judgment to implement. Finally, evaluating the outcome of the process and making sense of the results is key. Let me close with this question for thought:

Is it necessary to follow the steps exactly in a recipe?

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How do we find our way then, when we are exploring the unknown, blazing a trail into uncharted territory? How do we apply elementary statistical principles to transform uncertainty into decisive action? What is to prevent us from making a preposterous application of ATOMs when we deal with very complex situations, those in which our intuition fails?

These questions are not much different from those faced by Chuck Yeager before he ever broke the sound barrier or Neil Armstrong as he took that first step on the moon. Neither of these men, nor anyone around them–with hundreds or thousands of highly educated, very scientific people on these teams–knew what to expect. Or did they…?

ATOMs is a monthly column that introduces analytical tools of mathematics and statistics and illustrates their application. To read more about ATOMs, you can read Where Do We Go From Here, or view the online workbook here.

C-17 cockpit displays and controlsThe attitude of the airplane is where the nose is pointed. Is it pointed up or down? Is it in a bank to the left or right?

There is an instrument in every airplane that shows the aircrew what the airplane attitude is, like the blue and brown display pictured here.

Attitude applies to this airplane, the C-17, to paper airplanes, and to life.

The key principle about attitude is this:
You can set an attitude that will achieve the desired performance.

You are in control of attitude. Here are 3 things you can try with your own paper airplane.

1. Decide what attitude to set.
Do you want to climb? Then point the nose up. But if you want to descend for landing, then point the nose down. Now let it fly and watch what happens.

2. Evaluate the trajectory.
Does it perform like you expected? Perhaps it did better or maybe worse? For example, if the nose is too high, the airplane will climb too steeply, run out of airspeed, and fall back toward the earth. So how well did you do? If it didn’t go like you planned, then you can make a change.

3. Adjust the attitude.
Decide what adjustment to make, and apply the steps of this checklist again.

There are some corresponding evaluations that must take place when we execute these steps. By evaluation, I mean measurement and accountability.

How do we set the attitude, if we have nothing to compare it to, no standard or system of measurement? Determining the performance outcome of a change in attitude is also impossible without a standard.

I am not saying that the “measurement” has to be quantitative–we don’t need to measure in micrometers. But we do need to determine if we hit the target or missed it.

Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.

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You’ve just read observations, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs. Some people may not want the technical content that appears elsewhere on this website–if you only want to follow these more personal updates, I set up a special subscription for that option here: by Email or RSS.

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