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Re: Hand on Shifter

In a message dated 97-04-18 18:38:37 EDT, you write:

<< I fly airplanes.  I'm a licensed pilot (PPL).  Pilots are taught to 
 keep one hand on the other controls - throttle, mostly - most of the 
 time.   >>

Me too... 
So what's your point ? 
An aircraft unless Aerobatic ( exceptions like the 
C152A of course ) has built in stabillity...
You can let go of the yoke/stick in trim level flight 
and open the sectional chart and do some plotting 
in flight, no big deal. At other times such as cruise 
at altitude you will often find that flying hands-off is 
best because the aircraft's stability will do a better 
job of maintaing straight & level flight in smooth 
air than a pilot can with occaisional inputs
That doesn't mean you can drive hands-off.

In primary flight training you are taught to keep your 
hands where they will do the most good and be spring 
loaded for action such as on final approach with one
hand on the throttle & on the throttle for takeoff to prevent
the knob/lever from engine vibration creeping just in case 
the friction control isn't tight enough. 
Note... keep your hands where they will do the most 
good ie: the steering wheel, especially with rack & pinion 
where a bump steer could possibly take the wheel 
from your hand. In an accident people often end up 
with broken thumbs or fingers because the wheel 
got wacked and they had their hands wrapped around
the spokes instead of the rim. Next time there is a 
race on TV check out the in car camera shots and 
see where professional race drivers keep there hands. 
I can assure you that none have their elbows on the 
door while their hand is on the roof line. The only time they're
on the shifter... is when they're shifting. You've got a
lot more time to plan ahead for a downshift than for someone
taking your line.

<< I don't believe that the hand on the shift knob actually causes 
 any wear.  It may have 20 years ago, but cars are designed to survive 
 normal, inadvertant, inputs now.  >>

No they're not... Automotive stick shift technology is just like
aircraft piston engine technology... virtually stagnated in the '50s.
Manual transmissions are no longer cast iron boxes with monster 
bearings that weigh a ton,  perhaps the've been optimized for
bearing sizes for less rolling resistance ie: more fuel efficient but 
the basic stuff is still the same, & I harldy think they are
more able to accept abuse.

Perhaps you are different, but if anything I found that both
riding motorcycles and flying airplanes made me one damn
poor lax driver... It's less demanding and sometimes boring
and although in my youth I could have gotten away from
the sheriff on Thunder Road that abillity has been tarnished
by flight.  

I'll admit it... Once on an anoying stretch of flat staright road 
between corn fields, I folded the map and put it back 
on the passenger seat of my Audi 4000s 
( required Audi content ).  I had opened it in front 
of the windshield and checked out my progress just 
like I would have done in an aircraft... 
at 70mph, steering with my knee. If a nice large
buck had walked out of the corn I would have been
toast.  When I realized what I had done I stopped 
and changed my underwear.

Vince Lyons