Gauge Problems the Big Guys Don't Have

Posted October 2002

Absolutely beautiful day for flying today...clear skies, temperature in the low '50s.  The leaves are changing color along the Cascade range.  Dead smooth, the cockpit reasonably draft-free, the helmet, jacket, silk scarf, and gloves doing a wonderful job of keeping me comfortable.

Had one chuckle, though.  Was flying along blissfully, when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the gauges flicker.  Full attention to the panel immediately, but nothing. Everything's rock-steady.

Hmmm.  Relax a bit.  Start looking around.

There it was again.  I think back, hard, to what I thought I saw.  It looked like a needle flickering back and forth.  But it was on the flight-instrument side of the panel...not the engine gauges.  You'd expect a tach to flicker a bit, if the cable was binding.  You'd expect the oil pressure to flicker, if Very Bad Things were about to happen to the engine.

But the flight instruments.  I thought very carefully about what I thought I saw.  It made even less sense...if I had to get pinned down, I thought I knew which gauge had the flickering:  The compass.

The *compass*?  I'd just refilled it a week or so ago, but I really couldn't think of ANYthing that would make a whiskey compass appear to have a flicking needle.

So I stared at the compass for about fifteen seconds...then saw it again.  And started laughing.

The flickering?  It was a reflection, in the compass window, of my silk scarf fluttering in the breeze.....

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