Friday, June 23, 2006

View From the Bridge

This is one of the most exciting places anyone could sit, the Captain's chair of an aircraft carrier!
USS Midway (CV-41) was homeported in Yokosuka, Japan and is docked in San Diego harbour. She is 972 feet long and displaces 60,000 tons.
Below is the view from the Captain's chair looking forward. In the distance is the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The deck is a dangerous place during Flight Ops. Even us aircrew have to be led around by the Plane Handlers.
In understanding of the Universe, humans are like ants crawling around the deck of an aircraft carrier. To avoid being squashed, intelligent ants might figure out the rhythms of the flight deck and catapults. If they are very intelligent, they might eventually explore down to the engineering spaces and see the boilers. Even if they understood this source of steam, it would not help them understand USS Ronald Reagan because that ship is nuclear-powered. It is silly to think that we are close to understanding the Universe.
Until the 1920's most astronomers would have told you that our Sun is made of IRON, and burns in the sky like a big hot poker. Then a woman named Cecilia Payne suggested that it might be made of hydrogen. That idea was so roundly dismissed that she had to change her PhD dissertation. Years later the astronomers finally agreed with her.
"The reward of the young scientist is to be the first person to see something or to understand something. Nothing can compare with that experience; it engenders what Thomas Huxley called the Divine Dipsomania"--Cecilia Payne
NEXT TIME: we'll get a closer look at USS Ronald Reagan.


Blogger QUASAR9 said...

So what's it like sitting on the "driving" seat of an aircfraft carrier?

5:29 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Good morning Q9, and thanks for all the helpful comments. You are always a welcome visitor.
Sitting in that seat was a thrilling feeling of command, almost as good as scientific discovery.
It makes one respect the training and discipline necessary to run that big boat.

7:40 AM  
Blogger QINSHI said...

Louise I was trying to think what the deck remind me of. Did you ever see the film "navigator" - yep the navigator's flight deck.

11:50 AM  
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