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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, September 15, 1947, Image 6

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Air Forces Seeking to Simplify
Plane Controls to Cut Accidents
By A. A. Hoehling
The Army Air Forces has de
cided that it cannot find bette
. fledgling pilots than currently se
lected—so it is attempting to buil<
planes which are easier to fly.
By the end of the war cadet
were so finely screened both fron
8 physical and mental standpoint
that only one out of 10 was choser
finally for actual flight training
But still accidents happened. an<
still are happening and more of tor
than not a board of inquiry wil
wri e them off as “pilot error.”
At. Wright Field, near Dayton
Ohio, the youthful chief of the psy
chology branch of the Aero Med
ical Laboratory, Dr. Paul M. Fitts
recently got to thinking about th<
One Accident Analysed.
After reading reports on count
less accidents he decided thai
"pilot error" often could more
properly have been called "airplant
Early this summer, for example
« big C-97 crashed while coming in
for a landing at Patterson Field
which adjoins Wright Field. All but
one person aboard died in the flam
ing wreckage.
Army investigators were not long
finding the explanation—the pilot,
instead of pulling back his throttles,
had pulled back his mixture con
trols. choking off at once the four
engines of the lumbering craft.
4 The accident was understandable
, to Dr. Fitts when he learned that
4 the particular pilot had been flying
, C-47s for years, a plane which has
the throttle and mixture controls
in exactly reversed positions com
pared to the C-97.
• Altimeter Easily Misread.
• “Because of the factor of condi
f tioned reflexes," says Dr. Fitts, "a
•' pilot of many years' experience is
more apt to make errors of this
nature than a young pilot.”
The standard type altimeter may
be one of the greatest killers. Dr.
Fitts believes, not because of faulty
functioning, but because of its de
r eeptive qualities when read rabidly.
After a series of tests given to
experienced Army pilots, Dr. Fitts
l a found not only that it took them 7
, seconds to read the three hands on
the altimeter, but that 15 per cent
of them were making the "1.000
foot error."
This becomes a natural mistake,
he found, when the 100-foot hand
approaches the 700 or 800 foot mark.
J Then the 1.000-foot hand is almost
_ at the next highest 1.000-foot read
Army Private Fined $100
For Turning In False Alarm
Two men, one an Army private,
today were found guilty of turning
in false alarms over the week end
and the soldier was fined *100 by
Judge Armond Scott.
Pvt. David R O’Keefe, 25, sta
tioned near Warrenton, Va.. was
convicted of pulling an alarm box j
yesterday afternoon at Twelfth
street and New York avenue N.W.
Fourteen pieces of fire apparatus
answered the call.
In a second case Judge Scott
suspended sentence on Carl Erik
Dahlquist, 18. of the 4900 block
Tilden street N.W., who admitted
turning in an alarm at Forty-!
eighth and Davenport street N.W.
last night.
Sentence was suspended after the j
father of the youth promised the1
court he would take his son to
a veterans’ hospital for a psychi- j
' a trie checkup. The boy received
a medical discharge from the Army
last year, police said.
Sevenother charges that Dahl
quist had turned in false alarms
starting September 5 were dropped
by Assistant Corporation Counsel
Clark King, who said he had no
evidence other than the youth's j
own admission. v j
tsrner Williams creaks
Ear Drum Making Film
Ay the Associated Press
HOLLYWOOD. Sept. 15.—Esther
Williams suffered a broken left ear |
drum while swimming for an under- |
water scene at her studio Friday.
Ben Gage, her husband, said today.
Mr. Gage said she will have to
stay out of the water for several
days but that it is not believed the
hearing in the ear will be lost. Miss
Williams is being treated by Dr.
Joel Pressman, husband of Claudette
; Colbert. t
ing—causing the pilot, at a hasty
glance, to decide he is 1,000 feet
higher than he actually is.
Designs New Instrument.
It is Dr. Pitts’ belief that such an
I error was resDonsible for the crash
I of the Capitol airliner on a 1,700
. | foot oeak of the Blue Ridge in June
’ which killed 50 persons—and he so
testified at the hearing later.
’ In the design stage in his labora
j tory is a new type altimeter with
I! but one hand on the dial. The
j thousands of feet are recorded in'
a small space on the upper part of
j the dial. With this new altimeter
| he found errors were less than 1
ner rent
! Both Dr. Pitts and Dr. Walter
| Grether, chief of the cockpit unit
■ of the laboratory, are attempting to
"retailor” the -entire lot of plane1
I instruments and controls to fit
them more logically to the pilot's
way of thinking.
Motion Pictures Used.
Motion picture cameras, mounted
in the cockpits of planes, study the
eye movements .of pilots as they read
instruments and reach for controls.!
On experimental planes used by the!
laboratory, pilots try different- j
shaped controls to see which are the
j least confusing, even If the pilot is j
! blindfolded and wearing gloves.
The conventional billard-ball type:
i has been found to be the best for j
throttles. A wheel-shaped knob is I
used on the landing gear lever forj
its suggestive qualities, and a total
'of other easily distinguished shapes
on other controls.
Also under study is the possibility
: of making all instruments read In
j the same direction, even having the
pointers form a pattern on the
engine panel so that only a quick
' glance is needed to see how the
entire power plant is functioning,
and having switches with the same
“ofT” and ‘on’' positions.
Standard Controls Sought.
Dr. Pitts hopes that one day soon
the controls of all planes will at:
least be in standard positions, so
that no pilot, because of previous
conditioning, will reach for a mix-!
. ture control instead of the throttle, i
Other psychological aspects of
flight, he says, remain to be explored
such as the ‘‘X" factor in a mans'
judgment which may cause him to
do the wrong thing.
He believes that the better tailor-1
ing of cockpits will overcome a great
many causes for wrecked planes, butj
adds that he hopes that periodical
physical and psychological examina
tions will be devised which will tell,
when a pilot’s useful age has been
Woman Critically Hurt
In Fall Down Stairs
Mrs. Helen Shafer. 48. of 4491 Mac
Arthur boulevard N.W., found un
conscious at the foot of a flight ofj
stairs in the apartment building
early yesterday, was reported in !
critical condition with head injuries
today at Emergency Hospital.
Mrs. Shafer was found at about
1:15 a.m. yesterday. She was re-!
turining home after a visit with
friends in the same block.
New Pakistan Envoy
Blames Sikhs in Most
Of Indian Disorder
fty rht Associated Press
Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahan!. Pak
istan Ambassador to the United
States, said yesterday the Sikhs
" are principally to blanje" for the
disorders in northwest India.
The envoy of the new nation dis
puted statements of Diminion of
India officials that press reports of
the Indian troubles appearing in
this country have been "unfair'’ to
the Hindus, the predominating
group in the Dominion of India.
"The foreign press has been too
charitable to the Dominion of India
in reporting the outrages and not
too kind to us,” said Mr. Ispahan!,
who arrived here Saturday. "The
Sikhs have not been blamed enough.”
The Sikhs inaugurated the pres
ent disorders both in the Punjab
(Northwest India > and elsewhere in
India with organized attacks with
automatic weapons which amounted
to commando raiding,” he said.
"Their actions clearly displayed that
case. atMtvno »*»•« wcu paniativu »■«» wu
Refuses Cummeni on Weapons.
He refused to comment on the
source of the automatic weapons he
said were being used.
Although admitting the Indian
disorders were widespread and seri
ous following the establishment of
the two new dominions, he predicted
their early end.
"All these sad affairs are soon
going to end,” he said. “Both gov
ernments are prepared to carry out
their declarations for peace to the
Mr. Ispakani also termed “un
fair” the decision of the Moslem
Hindu boundary commission which
divided the Punjab between the
two dominions.
Sir Cyril Radcliffe Blamed.
"Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the British
chairman of the commission who
cast the deciding vote, is primarily
to blame for the Punjab decision.
He gave away to the Union of India
large portions of the Punjab that
are entirely Moslem and now the
Sikhs there are attempting to gain
additional areas.”
The Ambassador also disputed
statements from Dominion of India
sources that the two areas would
ultimately merge.
"I see no possibility of one India,"
he said. "‘Pakistan will remain.”
He also indicated Pakistan does
not plan to remain indeflnately
within the British Commonwealth.
We will remain in the British
Commonwealth as long as is necess
ary," he said. "We are not bound
o be a dominion forever.”
He said "our prime objectives are
oeace and development,”
Turning to Pakistan relations
with the Dominion of India govern
ment, he said, "our relations with
the Indian government have not
>een as helpful os had been hoped,
out before long the existing bitter
less will die out.”
He said Pakistan is "bringing
10 pressure” on the independent
Indian States to join Pakistan.
Housing in Shanghai, China, cost
10 times as much as in February,!
Opinion Polls Speed
Democratic Process,
Statisticians Told
The public opinion poll can mean1
as much in "the development of
efficient democracy in an indus
trial age" as the clinical thermom
eter meant to the development of!
modern medicine. Dr. Samuel A.
'Stouffer of Harvard University's!
: Laboratory of Social Relations, told
delegates to the International Sta-1
: tistical Institute here today.
Dr. Stouffer was one of a series
of speakers who discussed public
.opinion research at the institute’s
'meeting at the Shoreham Hotel.
If democracy is to survive in a
complicated industrial age, he said.i
It requires swift and efficient means
of communication upward from the!
people to their leaders, as well as j
downward from the leaders to the
“Calibrated Instrument" Hailed.
"The traditional methods by
which the people communicated to
their leaders—through the press and
radio, through word of mouth and
letters, through representation of
organized pressure groups, and of
course through free elections—will
never be outmoded as long as de
mocracy lives,” he said. By polls,
however, he said, the public tern
"erature c~n br taVcn with a “cali
brated instrument.”
He stressed the value of public
opinion polls for rapid information
on peoples’ sentiment. He cited
the 2-to-l opinion favoring con
scription immediately before World
War II, as shown by polls, although
letters to Congressmen were over
whelmingly against drafting men
lor national defense.
One of the greatest opportunities
of public opinion polls. Dr. Stouffer
said, is not so much to show whether
the public favors or opposes a spe
cific issue as to show how well in
formed the public is about the issue
and how specific kinds of misinfor
mation are related to specific
Another speaker, Alberto Jose
Castelli of Brazil, warned against a
tendency to regard public opinion
polls primarily as a tool of business,
rather than as an aid to develop
ment of the social sciences.
Reception Tonight.
Delegates to the Inter-American
Statistical Institute, one of the
groups meeting in the international
institute, which will continue
through Thursday, will be honored
at a reception at 9 o’clock tonight
at the Pan American Union. Women
from other countries, attending the
conferences, were to be guests this
afternoon at a tea given by the
American Association of University
Nearly 300 delegates were taken
on a tour yesterday of four Mont
gomery County farms.
O. W. Anderson, county agent,
who took the statisticians on the
visit, said they all seemed to be;
impressed by the size of the farms
and the quality of labor saving
He said 56 counties were repre
sented. s .
Farms inspected included the i
Spring Valley Hereford Farm andj
the farms of Thomas M. Garrett,;
Edward D. Frv and John H. Small.
-_- I
bene Tierney s Sister
To Wed Georgia Man
By the Associated Press
WESTPORT, Conn.. Sept. 15.— j
Miss Patricia Ann Tierney, sister!
of Gene Tierney the film actress,
and daughter of Mrs. Belle Taylor
Tierney, of Green Farms, will be'
married October 11 at St. Bar
tholomews Church, New York, to
Elliott Williamson Reed of Savan
nah. Ga„ son of the late Mr and
Mrs. Elliott W. Reed.
Miss Tierney’s sister will be
matron-of-honor at the ceremony,
which will be followed by a recep
tion in the New York Junior League'
club house. v
and many other kinds
1300 G St. N.W.
• -I
Raedy Permit Review
Due in Several Weeks
The Board of Revocations and
Restorations of automobile drivers'
permits will review thf case of
Municipal Judge Ellen K. Raedy in
the regular order of business and
it may be several weeks before any
action is taken.
Mrs. Mary Silver, who heads the
board, said today that the record of
the leaving - after - colliding case
against Judge Raedy probably would
not be taken up for several weeks.
"It will be handled when it comes
. up in regular turn.” she said. Wr
are working several weeks behind
the reports now.”
Judge Raedy last week forfeited
$200 cash collateral In the case A
police report, of the case, along with
| a record of the court action, has
been forwarded to the board by the
Under normal procedure, the board
will review the case and determine
whether the permit should be re
The action against Judge Raedy
grew out of an accident with »
parked automobile August 18 near
the intersection of First and K
streets N.W. The parked machine
was damaged slightly.
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