Dear Colleagues

1.  As an engineer are you hurting or furiously busy ?

Whilst there is no shortage of bad news about the economy, many of my colleagues are furiously busy (and we also can’t find adequate (competent) instructors for some of the varied training projects we are engaged in), there is a level of unease in the engineering community. We have prepared a simple survey about how it affects you - which will take you 2 seconds to undertake. We will publish these results by the end of the week on our home page and in next week’s email. Please click here

Thanks very much.

2. Design for human beings

As David Learmount (of Flight Global magazine) noted last Friday: “If you know you are facing a ditching, the crash-landing of an aircraft on water, it is crucial that you land the plane absolutely level. You must not try to keep the plane airborne and if you land it too slowly you will drop out of the sky. It is quite clear that he got everything absolutely right." The Airbus' entire flight, from take-off to splash landing in the Hudson, lasted about five minutes.  Film footage showed water shooting up as the plane made a perfectly straight landing -- a brilliant piece of handling that experts say prevented a tragic break-up of the plane. As one remark summarized it: “There was "one impact, no bounce, a gradual deceleration and neither one of them realised they were in the water. The captain issued a one word demand: evacuate.' And the captain returned to the plane a couple of times to check no one was there. The captain was the last off the plane.''

What an absolutely brilliant piece of flying and superbly heroic action afterwards by Captain Sullenberger.

This illustrates a very important point. With all the automation that we are doing with our incredible PLCs and computers, we have to remember that we are designing them for humans to control and to interface with especially when there is (catastrophic) failure of machinery involved. When I continue to see the plethora of badly designed alarm systems which pour truckloads of alarms out when a crisis hits a plant; I worry that this point is often missed. Or see some enormously complex operator interface which is designed for a rocket scientist and not a human operator, I get even more twitchy. In some respects one could argue that Airbus, who have an advanced operator interface (and who replaced the pilot joystick with fly-by-wire) have been successful in their human engineering interface design in allowing Captain Sullenberger to land the plane after such catastrophic failure.

3. We are proudly presenting our new live webinar on: Applying e-learning to Boost the Return on Your Engineering Training
After the success of our Industrial Wireless webinar we are now presenting the next web conference on the usual Wednesday - again, at no charge. And moving to other countries in successive weeks after these Australian/Asia Pacific presentations.

Wednesday February 4

There is a choice of 2 session times:
Session 1: 11am Sydney, Australia time (8am Singapore, 9am Perth, 1pm Auckland)
Session 2: 2pm Sydney Australia time (11am Singapore, Noon Perth, 4pm Auckland,)

What will it cover?
We can reveal to you some of what we’ve learnt as we have developed our online training delivery.
This popular session is based on presentations that we delivered last year (some were online, and some were classroom based).  We’ll cover:
1. What e-learning is about
2. Which e-learning works best?
3. Costs of e-learning
4. 11 Practical suggestions for setting up your own program
5. The future of e-learning
This is a live, interactive webinar.  And it’s free!
Join us from anywhere - and bring the expert to your desk!  If you have an interest in technical training you will benefit from this free session.  This 45 minute web-based session will be live, in real time.  All you need to participate is a computer with adequate internet connection, speakers and (ideally) a microphone.
Simple to join…
We will send you instructions about how to download the software and join well ahead of the session. Places for each webinar are limited to 20 only.

Yours in engineering learning