Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photo of the week June 26th, 2013

Yogaga sits majestically on the West bank of the Volta, standing guard over the Kpong Hydroelectric damn. It dominates the landscape of Lower Manya Krobo. The North face is well covered with trees, being a forest reserve, but the southern face is comparatively naked from logging and other activities. At the Eastern base there is an active latterite pit, used to supply filling material for many tracks and dirt roads. The mountain is not very tall, just under 1500', yet is still the source of orographic precipitation (rain caused by the warm, moist air being forced up and over terrain). For pilots flying Visual Flight Rules (VFR) it is a point of reference from Dodowa to Akosombo, and from Koforidua to Battor - provided the visibility is good! All the same, this resource is not frequented by tourists and remains one of Ghana's hidden treasures. Photo courtesy of WAASPS Ltd

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24th, 2013

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. A simple mantra that keeps pilots alive all over the world. It translates to ‘Fly the plane, make sure you know where you are, where you are going, then communicate with others about where you are (position, altitude and heading) and your intentions – or indeed any emergency conditions you may be in.

This mantra has served me well for over twenty five years. I always get frustrated at lack of communication from others. The ability to sit and say nothing – often with the head down to avoid eye contact, coupled with the conviction that ‘silence protects’ is alien to me as a pilot, and as a caring human being.

I am sure we have all been in the situation where we ask a question and the response is silent. Younger teenagers appear to have this down to a fine art, which can be attributed to their ignorance of life skills. As adults the ‘silence routine’ is seen not only as bad manners, but it is, in reality, a form of problem exacerbation and even crisis escalation. Barely better than silence is the use of non-committal short, generally low tone, responses such as ‘whatever’, ‘if you like’, ‘so what’ and ‘who cares’. Sadly, we seem to be seeing an increase of this sort of response across the globe. I have to blame the movie makers for making such behaviour popular, and ask the script writers to consider the need to stimulate eloquent interaction for better understanding.

In an aircraft the silence routine is a sure way to reduce your chances of survival. Deciding not to initiate communication, or respond appropriately, in an accurate and timely manner could be the last decision you ever make. The aviation family’s safety and success is grounded in clear, concise and appropriate communication. Declaration of a problem is the first step towards support in solving that problem. ‘Pan Pan Pan’ the urgency call, gets you everybody’s ears; ‘9G ZZZ, 5 miles north of Zyphos Airfield at 2000 feet, heading south, passenger with chest pains, request to land and medical assistance’ will not only get other pilots to make sure that they move quickly out of your way, it also ensures that the people on the ground get ready to receive the aircraft and passenger in need of attention. It is simple, it is short – Identification of station calling, location, problem, request. Everything else then falls into place and it is a proven, established and efficient system.

The movies prefer the distress call ‘Mayday, mayday, mayday’ (which comes from the French for ‘help me’ or ‘m’aider’) which is generally related to aircraft emergencies. ‘Mayday, mayday, mayday, 9G ZZZ engine failure, 20miles due west of Zingbong mountain, 3000 feet’ is enough to get everybody to respond. Other aircraft will quickly divert as necessary and the whole support network of the aviation industry is instantly at your disposal – just for starting your sentence with ‘mayday, mayday, mayday’ or ‘m’aider, m’aider, m’aider’ – simply put ‘help me, help me, help me’. That is all that it takes.

Sadly, our day to day lives seem to lack the discipline and infrastructural support of the aviation sector. We heard stories last week of a women being stripped naked in public, by mob rule, to search for ‘allegedly stolen money’ – including a body cavity search – whilst she cried for help. Help was not forthcoming, and we do not hear of the outcome after the accuser remembered that he had left the ‘stolen’ funds at home.

How many people are responding to the calls of children in challenging conditions when they call for help in the only way they know how, looking up at an adult with eyes wide, a small tear stain down their nose, scared to open their mouths in fear of another beating? Perhaps this background contributes to the ‘silence routine’ we see in our workplaces.

How do we respond to those around us who are asking for help without sincerity? For example ‘Help me I need money’ is a common cry for help. When work is offered, and it is turned down, the ‘mayday’ was clearly not sincere!

More challenging is when we see a need, and in our best intentions we seek to help. We ask to sit with the person who appears to be challenged, and ask them ‘What is the matter?’ to which we receive a deafening silence. It is as if the person in need believes we are mind readers. We ask again, and again. Each sincere desire to understand the need and help to address it, met with the deafening silence of non-communication, often coupled with ‘head down mode’. We can do nothing. We are rendered helpless by the silence and lack of eye contact.

‘How do you feel?’ is a good question, but not an easy one to answer. Yet any answer is better than silence. ‘I don’t know’ is better than silence. Even a ‘non answer’, a tangential conversation distraction is better, such as ‘I wanted to see my aunty’. It may not answer ‘how they feel’, but it opens a conversation line from which resolution of the issues may take a step closer. Shouting is far better than silence for it provides insight to the reasons behind the situation. Rational talking – or at least writing - is by far the best solution…

I once went through months of trying to communicate with a senior official in Ghana. I wrote countless e-mails, made many unanswered phone calls, and finally – many months and anguish later, they told me ‘I won’t read your mails or respond to you unless you address me differently’. I asked ‘how would you like me to address you?’ to which I received the silent treatment. At least I had an inkling of my transgression, and worked to find an eloquent address for the person, which slowly lead to reestablishment of communications. All those months of anguish, loss of productivity, concern, and frustration because one party simply refused to respond to any form of attempt at communication. The disclosure of the root of their displeasure was the start of the road to recovery.

Interestingly, last week I visited the World Bank office and spotted a laminated card on the wall related to ‘conversations’. It seems that there is a whole World Bank programme about personal communication and resolution of conflict over words said, or indeed not said. This is not about diplomatic solutions between states – it is about conflict within the organisation, the people in the same office!

Clearly, we all get into conflicts of some sort – most of them through misunderstandings or cultural perspective differences. It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that the only way to resolve inter-human challenges, sustainably, is through appropriate communications.

We each need to use our ears and our mouths in order to solve any problem or dispute. It requires that all parties not only speak, but listen, and that we all grasp the need for appropriate dialogue for personal development. It does not mean that there will be no shouting, banging of desks, or crying, but it does mean that we must communicate our needs, concerns and postulate solutions, together.

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail )

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Photo of the week June 19th, 2013

Ghana holds massive tourist potential with so magnificent views, especially those which combine such a variety of eye candy. Lakes, rivers, rainforest, savannah, hills, waterfalls ridges and escarpments - all waiting to be discovered. One of the biggest benefits of boosting tourism is putting financial means directly into the hands of the rural dwellers - whether from hostels and hotels, fuel sales, food or handicrafts, tourism tends to create direct benefits for the people, often those at the lower income levels.

The beauty of Ghana is magnified by its people who simply need a hand up towards success.

Photo courtesy of WAASPS Ltd.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17th, 2013

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

I watched the Pied Crow land majestically on the threshold of runway 19, my soul found pleasure in every movement of every feather. As he walked around, pecking a the surface, my gaze rose towards the Black Kite soaring on the mild thermal, just with teeny weeny twitches of the wing tip and tail feathers to maintain perfect control, as he swept his gaze around for a titbit to snatch up in his powerful claws. A Red Bishop flashed across my visual trajectory, taking my eye to the long piece of grass that he placed his feet upon with the dexterity of a surgeon, simultaneously folding his wings and resplendently shining his bright plumage in the sunshine as the thin stem wavered under the new load. Birds are amazing creatures, and I can watch them for hours, learning from them at every moment, drinking in concepts and ideas from their varied forms and plumage as they find unity with the skies and suitable foliage!

Birds don’t go to ‘bird-school’, no. They learn to fly in the same way that human children learn to walk and talk – at an early age, skills passed on by people without any teaching qualifications, but with a natural desire to protect and develop their fledglings.

We have recently started working with a young lady who has neither perceivable hearing nor functional speech. She is about 20 years old, with a smile and positive demeanour that could win over the hardest hearted person in the world. She has never had access to a hearing aid, and we do not know if one would help her hearing. What we do know is that it would be unlikely to help her learn to speak. We also know that she learns quickly and is able to overcome her disability in a functional manner beyond our expectations, using the existing observational and practical skills that she has learned to live her life with thus far.

Learning to speak is best done when the mind is young, flexible and nimble. Our mother tongue is exactly that – the language we learned from the loving talk of our mothers – possibly from even before the day we were born. As we get older, learning certain things becomes harder. We know that those children who learn more than one language before they are five years old are empowered with abilities, through the development of their brains, which sets them apart from others in linguistic flexibility and other learning skills.

We see young violinists in Asia, mastering one of the most challenging musical instruments with dexterity and confidence simply through early exposure – often as young as two years old. We hear of children becoming mathematical geniuses before reaching the age of ten, through being exposed to the patterns of numerical expression and design from very before they can talk.

Each child is different in relation to genetic advantages, and disadvantages, physical ability and disability, mental strengths and weaknesses. However, we also know that the human being can overcome almost any barrier – especially if given opportunities during the early stages of development. The way a challenged person overcomes is different to how it happens with the physical or mental enablement of the ‘average person’.

In many of the developed nations, health systems are geared towards solving physical challenges of the pre-toddler to give them the best opportunities later in life. Likewise, parents spend small fortunes on educational toys – even for new-borns – to give them the stimuli that could make positive differences to their futures. When we consider the mother bird in a nest, feeding those hungry beaks and teaching their young to fly, for the long term good of their progeny, or compare that to a human mother ensuring optimum nutrition for her baby whilst providing verbal, visual and tactile stimuli to boost the growth and development of their loved child, we see natural parallels of care towards optimised self-sufficiency of the young.

In the human world, it is easier for those in a position of financial security to provide for their children, and consequently we often see that children from the more wealthy families appear to be better equipped for educational development. They tend to be well fed, stronger, fitter, larger and overall healthier, as well as not having to undertake many household tasks instead of studying. The hindrances to learning and development are fewer for the more financially secure children.

All the same, those from the less well-off circles have different advantages. They are often better equipped for certain types of challenges. Those who have struggled to achieve through poverty may be more ready to work harder to achieve their goals. They may never catch up on the academic side of their lives; the opportunities may have simply been snatched unwittingly from their path. However, they will succeed in ways that those from the ‘easier side of life’ may never consider – if they have the determination and personality to do so.

After many years of teaching, and coming across many challenged background young people, I have come to accept that the classroom is not for everybody – especially if the individual has not been given the necessary equipment from a very early age – long before that first day in school.

Such individuals benefit far more from practical, hands-on learning environments – apprenticeships that focus on being in the workshop more and in the classroom less – or even not at all. Some of the best workmanship you will come across will be from somebody who did not have opportunities or successes in academia. In fact, for some it seems that the classroom is more akin to a torture chamber that a place of learning exposure.

Likewise, it is almost as if a certain type of creativity is overwritten in the hard-drive of our minds through certain academic over-exposure at a young age. We consider the nervous breakdowns of the gifted ones, hot-housed before the age of seven, by the time they reach their early teens – as if some sort of data corruption has occurred in the complex wiring of their brains. It is a difficult balance to achieve.

I do not know the right mix of stimulated ‘v’ passive learning – but I do know that far too many young people in the developing nations are suffering from lack of positive stimuli, exposure and nutrition, and it is a major cause of lack of educational success in later life – and a reason for more vocational opportunities for teenagers and those in their early twenties.

I see so many six to eight year olds bouncing along the road, their eyes bright, the skipping steps, the pointing fingers, the inquisitiveness that shows the fertility of their minds – and yet it appears that the seeds of inspiration, innovation and enlightenment fail to get firmly planted, watered and nurtured, allowing the furrows of their minds to become chocked with weeds, sapping energy and dulling a brilliance that might otherwise have flourished.

I really believe that we need to help parents to understand the importance of early day’s stimulation, nutrition, support, encouragement and the very practical, supportive love and protection that will allow children to grow to become the commercial, industrial, economic and political leaders of tomorrow, with a sharpness and brilliance that we find hard to come across around the world of today.

If the birds can get it right, so can we.

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail )

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Photo of the week June 12th, 2013

The rains are not just creating inconveniences, but are also increasing risks to health, property and livelihoods. The sudden, and often localised, downpours can rapidly knock down crops, block or damage access routes (roads, tracks, etc) and damage buildings. The subsequent effects of flooded latrines, standing water and lack of hygienic conditions, complicates and compromises the lives of the rural dwellers in many ways. Spare a thought for the rural folks who are currently dealing with mud, water, lack of access and increased disease quotients. Photo courtesy of Medicine on the Move

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10th, 2013

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

As a pilot, knowing where you are, where you are going and when you will arrive is expected at all times. Navigation, map reading, understanding the compass, the GPS, radio navigation aids, etc. are all considered normal requirements. Pilots are expected to use mathematics and geography in the same manner as their maritime parallels, just a lot faster. A cargo ship or cruise liner travelling at 25 knots is considered fast. An airliner travelling at 300 knots is considered slow! Supersonic aircraft can travel at speeds over 1,000 knots – which would make the travel time from Accra to Takoradi just 6 minutes!. Imagine getting lost at 1,000 knots!

Ah, I hear a question. ‘What is a knot?’ This is a good question. The knot is a measurement of speed. It is not an internationally accepted unit under the ‘SI’ International System of units, yet it is a standard measurement of speed for wind, maritime vessels and aircraft. One knot is the same as 1.852 kilometres per hour or 1.151 statute miles per hour. Its origins go back a long way, and involve a lump of wood and a ball of string – literally!

Let us go back in time. Are you ready? Warning: Some poetic licence is about to be used: Whooooosh. Pfffffzt. Kbang. Whoooooaaaa. (flash of light and some eerie music).

We are aboard a sea faring vessel in the eighteenth century, sailing on the open water. The wind is in our hair, and we cannot see land, the sky is without clouds, and we wonder to ourselves ‘how fast are we going?’. Well, we are in the 18th century, we only have a simple timing device made of glass and filled with sand, it is similar to an egg timer, called an hour glass or sand glass, but ours allows the sand to fall from one end to the other in thirty seconds – it is a thirty second timer.

So, we have a way to measure time, and we know that speed is the relationship of distance travelled over time. We now need to know how far we travel in one thirty second time slot, which we can measure with our thirty second sand glass.

We look around us, there is nothing but water, and we have no reference points. We ask the Captain (a pleasant fellow who seems totally unperturbed by our time travel arrival on his vessel) if he has a tape measure – he does not. But he can tell us that the vessel is 15.433 metres wide at the widest point. You jump for joy, because you just worked out in your head that 15.433m x 2 x 60 =1851.96 metres! Why is that so amazing? No, it is not because you worked it out in your head – it is because that is practically 1.852km (since there one thousand metres in a kilometre), and you know that 1.852km is significant (find out why later). In your excitement you ask the captain for long ball of string and a small wooden log. The Captain obliges, and watches as you carry out your tasks.

You tie one end of the string to the log, and then measure 15.433m and tie a knot in the string, you continue to tie knots in the string at a pitch of 15.433m until you have lots of knots in the line. You have worked out that at a speed of 1.852kph, the vessel would travel 15.433m every thirty seconds, hence 15.433m (the distance between the knots) x 2 (since there are two lots of 30 seconds in one minute) x 60 (because there are 60 minutes in an hour) =1851.96m or 1.852km (which is important for some reason we are yet to discover!), and now can test the theory.

You walk to the stern (back) of the boat and drop the log overboard into the water. You set your 30 second sand timer and let the string pass through your fingers – counting the knots that slip past you. At the end of the thirty seconds you have counted fifteen knots – and so you know that the boat is travelling at 15knots x 1.852 kilometres per hour, or just under 28 kilometres per hour.

The log overboard with a string with knots in was the way that speed was measured for hundreds of years, and it was reported using the speed ‘knots’.

However, the distance between the knots was never intended to be related to kilometres. Not at all. It was a specific distance in relation to a specific dimension of the planet Earth, measured from North Pole to South Pole (also known as a line of longitude). Since there are 180 degrees (from 90 degrees North to 90 degrees South) between the two points, and since each degree is made up of sixty minutes (thanks to Babylonian mathematicians), it was decided that the distance between the two poles would make the reference distance for all navigation, whereby ‘the distance scribed upon the surface of the planet of one minute of one degree of a line of longitude would be called one nautical mile’. Or in other words, that would be 10,800 nautical miles from pole to pole, or 21,600 nautical miles around the planet (that is 40,003.2 kilometres to travel around the world). The string was then calibrated (remember they did not have calculators or computers then) using reference marks that related to a speed of one half of one nautical mile per hour, if measured for thirty seconds. Thus one knot is equal to one nautical mile ( one second of one degree of travel on a line of longitude) per hour! Sailing vessels could purchase pre-manufactured kits called which had a simple piece of wood tied to a reel of knotted string, accompanied by a calibrated sandglass! Simple – and without a need to recharge it – which was good since they did not have electricity either! Considering that they had far less educational material and content then, than we do today, and had no electronic calculators or computers, they had to make it simple, reliable and repeatable.

Oh, I hear somebody saying ‘that was not simple!’ Yes, it was – it really was. Can you think of a simpler, more reliable manner through which to measure speed at sea without the modern gadgets we have today? The problem today is that we often fail to see the simple solution, because we are surrounded by a complicated world that prevents us from using our brains as much as they had to in the eighteenth century. They HAD to think, they HAD to innovate – they could not just sit back and take things for granted – far from it. They were brave, they took risks, they were ready to give up their lives based on their mistakes, and discover new wonders based on their successes. Fortunately, there were many successes.

We thank our captain, and slip back through the time vortex - Whhhhhooooooop Splooooosh - finding ourselves back reading Fresh Air Matters in the twenty first century. We trust you had a good trip!

We see far too may complicated systems being put into place, at great cost. Many of such systems are unreliable, based on overly convoluted approaches, lacking a good dose of common sense. If the challenge of measuring speed can be resolved with a bit of wood, a ball of string and an egg timer… then surely we can solve all the world’s problems without complication… if only we put our minds to it.

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail )

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Photo of the week June 5th, 2013

We all notice the heat and the cold, the wet and the dry of the weather, yet we often fail to notice the cloud types associated with the conditions we enjoy or suffer.

This sort of cloud formation is often referred to as a mackerel sky. It is associated with short term weather. An old maritime rhyme goes 'Mackerel sky, mackerel sky, never long wet and never long dry.'

Mackerel sky appearances can come from two different cloud types : cirro cumulus or alto cumulus - even experts will look at the sky and argue over cloud classification since there are many shades of grey in the classification of such formations.

For the layman there are many online cloud identification resources.

Take a look skywards and spare a thought for all the rural dwellers who are suffering from the recent downpours, hoping for a dry day or two to be able to repair their homes.

photo courtesy of Medicine on the Move

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3rd, 2013

Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. Yaw

OK, I give up. I really do. I thought that school was supposed to teach people things – not get them to pass exams and then forget all about what they were supposed to have learned.

Almost daily I meet supposedly educated people, those who went to school, and in many cases universities, who are unable to write, calculate or even be in possession of basic general knowledge useable at employment level. All the certificates and diplomas in the world are nothing more than toilet paper, if the knowledge that was supposed to be learned is not retained. Sadly, the pre-occupation with ‘passing an exam’ has become so great that ‘learning and retaining the knowledge’ has become a thing of the past

I have lectured at colleges and universities and been an examiner. I am not an outsider to the system. Educational systems like ‘passes’ and ‘exam scores’ as a measure of success. It is a flawed system.

For day-to-day working, the person must be able to remember subject matter beyond passing qualifications. Passing your driving licence, because on that particular day of the test you remember the rules of the road, is not good enough – you need to remember them EVERY day. If you don’t, you should have your driving licence taken away from you. The same should happen with degrees, exam results and, of course, pilots licences.

For example, imagine you had to look up your name every time somebody asked you – you would feel silly, I hope! Your name is a necessary part of your daily interactions. Likewise, you remember that there are 100 pesewas in a Cedi (I hope!). However, I have recently come across far too many people who cannot give me a snappy, correct or even reasonable answer to even half of the following questions…

Q1. How many metres are there in a kilometre?

A1. Kilo means ‘thousand’, so one kilometre is the same as one thousand metres.

Q2. How many grams are there in a kilogramme?

A2. For the same logic, there are one thousand grams in one kilogramme.

Q3. How many millimetres are there in a metre?

A3. Milli means a ‘thousandth’, therefore there are one thousand millimetres in one metre. (a millimetre is ‘one thousandth of a metre’). (it scares me how few people seem to know this)

Q4. How many milligrams are there in a gram?

A4. By the same logic there are one thousand milligrams in one gram.

Q5. How many litres are there in a cubic meter?

A5. This catches some people out, but it is actually how the definition of the litre is derived. One metre cubed contains one thousand litres. Some people do not appear to know what a ‘metre cubed’ is – it is a volume ‘one metre by one metre by one metre. To expand that, one metre cube of water weighs one tonne, and one litre of water weighs one kilogramme. For the record, one cubic metre of air, under reference conditions, weighs 1.225kg – making water roughly eight hundred times heavier than air.

Q6. How many millilitres are there in a litre?

A6. Using the logic of Q3, there are one thousand millilitres in one litre.

Q7. How many degrees are there in a circle?

A7. This is important knowledge for navigation, manufacturing, construction, etc. The number is 360. But why? Well, time and circular measure are connected. Both were the development of the Babylonians – and they loved the number 60. That is why your clock has 60 minutes in the hour and 60 seconds in the minute – and if you look at an analogue clock, you can quickly see that the hands of the clock always work around in degrees of movement. For Geometric and Navigational purposes, the division of the clock face was not accurate enough, they needed to increase the resolution, so they developed the degree, 360 degrees in one circle. Now, in order to get 360 degrees, simply imagine that you superimpose a hexagon onto the surface of the clock, and then divide each face by 60 units (I know they were funky people with their love of 60), and then you have 360 degrees in a circle. The protractor is a great device for visualising this, but few people understand it.

Q8. How many minutes are there in a degree?

A8. Each degree is divided into 60 equal parts, each one being called a minute (the same as the Babylonians divided each hour into 60 minutes, it was their standard way of dividing things).

Q9. How many seconds are there in a minute?

A9. Yup, each minute of a degree is divided into 60 seconds, for the same reasons.

Q10. What is Pi?

A10. Pi is the CONSTANT relationship between the diameter (a straight line crossing through the middle of) any given circle and its circumference (the distance around the edge of the circle, which for any other shape edge is called the perimeter). If you put a piece of string around a circle, and cut it to length, then cut a piece of string the length of the diameter, and you calculate how many times the diameter will divide into circumference you will ALWAYS get Pi. Which is roughly 3.14159 or can be approximated at 22/7. Without knowing (and understanding) Pi you cannot compute important areas and volumes which include circles, spheres, or parts thereof, let alone use radians!

Q11. What is the formula for calculating the area of circle?

A11. Pi multiplied by the radius multiplied by the radius. (in other words Pi.r2) – if you consider the area of a square is ‘the length of one side multiplied by itself’ (L2 ), you can see the use of the squaring of the radius, and then knowing that Pi is related to the overall ratio of the circle, it suddenly makes sense. Yet, it is rare to find a person coming from any level of education with this BASIC understanding of something we use every day in our work.

Q12. How many cc are there in one litre?

A12. First if all what is a cc? Most people have heard of a car engine being ‘1500cc’ or an injection of ‘5cc’. But they rarely know that cc means cubic centimetre. That is the volume of one centimetre by one centimetre by one centimetre. Or, since engineers do not use centimetres, they use millimetres; 10 mm2, which is 1000mm3. This is not very big, believe it or not. If you have a one litre bottle of water on your table, it contains ONE THOUSAND cubic centimetres – or ONE THOUSAND millilitres or 1,000,000mm3 of water. So, let us assume that the bottle is circular, has a base diameter of 80mm (or radius of 40mm), therefore, in order to calculate its height (assuming it is a perfect cylinder) we can use the formula for volume of a cylinder which is Pi x radius2 x height.

So, 1,000,000 = 3.14159 x 40 x 40 x H

Therefore 1,000,000 = 5,026.544 x H

Which rearranges to 1,000,000 / 5,026.544 = H

Resulting in H being 198.9438469mm, or in other words, your bottle of water is roughly 200mm or 20cm tall. Furthermore, it contains approximately one kilogramme of water.

Knowing these FACTS is essential in manufacturing, mixing concrete, using wood, steel, or planning resources. It is time that education became about being able to use knowledge to do things NOT than just pass exams and collect useless bits of paper.

Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics ( e-mail )