Down in Busan, South Korea’s seaside second city, one of the greatest temples on the peninsula quietly sits. Samgwang Temple is large, imposing and beautiful on any typical day, but becomes a new spectacle altogether for Buddha’s Birthday; for the holiday, it suddenly blossoms with the soft glow of 10,000 lanterns.
It’s absolutely a sight worth seeing, and taking your time to get lost amongst the lanterns in such bright and colorful lights, can be pleasantly disorienting. Each individual lantern is sponsored and paid for by a follower of the temple, an obvious, visible sign of its influence.
There are quite a few lantern festivals throughout Korea and Asia, but this is certainly the largest density of lanterns that I have ever seen.
To get to Samgwang Temple, go to Seomyeon Station on Busan Subway Line 1, where buses 63, 54 and 133 will take you to “Samgwansa Entrance;” unfortunately this is a misnomer and not the actual entrance to the temple. From the bus stop, cross the street and walk up the narrow road before you. From there, make your first left and then your first right. Finally, follow the road and the enormous temple will be at the top of the hill.
For more on Korean culture, food and festivals, you can always check out “The Kimchi-ite” archives by clicking here.
Recently the Korean pop music hit video for “Gangnam Style” has hit a world record for the most “likes” on YouTube, beating out even Justin Bieber, and has spawned countless parodies, wannabes, and flash mobs. Today’s Photo of the Day is a slightly more subdued Korea, taken by Flickr user AdamJamesWilson in South Korea‘s Daejeon, about an hour by high-speed train from Seoul (and Gangnam, of course). The photographer notes that the lights are part of an art installation, partly to disguise the entrance of a parking lot. The lights and the couple in silhouette give the photo a romantic and dreamy quality, though you know just after the photo was taken they broke into a pony dance.
Powerful engines providing stellar performance and short field capabilities are just some of the features that set the Boeing 757 apart from the rest. But there has to be something that pilots dislike on the airplane, right?
Well, there are two features in particular that I don’t care for.
I dream that someday someone from Boeing or Airbus will call me for advice on cockpit ergonomics. Each company does their best to lay out a cockpit to please the end user – the pilot. But sometimes there are just a few quirks that slip through. An item, which an engineer may spend only a day or two thinking about, can have a lasting impact on the pilots that fly the airplane for thousands of hours.
Generally speaking, Boeing takes pilot input into account when designing the pointy-end of their airplanes. The following two items that pertain to the 757 and 767 may seem nit-picky, but I thought I’d share them here anyway, even including a video to highlight my second personal peeve.
To be fair, these airplanes were designed in the late ’70s and went into service in the ’80s. And Boeing has, to some extent, fixed these issues in the 777. But here are my minor gripes, with a video to demonstrate the second annoyance.Chimes
You know the chime that accompanies the seatbelt sign when it cycles on or off? It happens to be my text message alert tone right now-appropriate, I suppose. Well, there’s a slightly more annoying sound in the cockpit that is supposed to represent various different alerts such as:
HF and VHF SELCAL – When air traffic control needs to get a hold of us, they have the option of sending a SELCAL (selective calling) ding that alerts us. Upon hearing the ding, we need to look either on the forward EICAS screen where the engine information is displayed for a clue as to what the ding was, or overhead to see if the SELCAL light is on. Unfortunately, some earlier airplanes didn’t have that EICAS notification feature, so we only have the overhead to differentiate the sounds.
Flight Attendant Call – We aren’t immediately sure if it’s ATC calling with a flight level change or if a flight attendant is checking to see if we need a bathroom break. The look around the cockpit for the various clues to the source can be amusing to someone riding in the jumpseat.
During the preflight, it’s a regular ding-fest. As we request the flight plan data to be uploaded to the airplane, dings come in rapidly (I’ve lost count at eight dings in less than a minute) for these items and more:
Forecasted winds at altitude uplink
Takeoff performance data uplink
Unfortunately, this is a time when the crew-chief on the ground calls us through a headset plugged in at our nose wheel. We may easily think it’s another nuisance ding and not answer him as these flight plan items are coming in.
As we taxi out, we could also miss a flight attendant call when the latest ATIS information is delivered or we get our load closeout information, which includes the number of people on board, the weight of the airplane and our stabilizer trim setting.
Inflight, these dings create a Pavlovian response. Around an hour after takeoff, flight attendants usually call with meal choices for us. Just as your mouth starts to water after hearing the ding, it’s always a letdown to discover that it was just the other guy updating the winds in the FMC.
Years ago, I met two Boeing engineers while I was riding in the back of an MD-80 to Dallas. On my left was an engineer who was the liaison for Boeing to the FAA as they made changes to the cockpit flight computer known as the FMC and to my right was an engineer who did the actual programing of any new features in the box.
They were excited to tell me about the new CPDLC or Controller Pilot Data Link Communication feature they were testing out on one of our 757s. The idea was that an Air Traffic Controller could send us a text message that would tell us to climb, descend, turn or change our speed. The test program would only be for Miami and a few of our 757s. Later this innovative concept expanded to other air traffic facilities for use primarily with the 777 and some newer Airbuses. After the test period, it was deactivated on the 757.
I couldn’t believe my luck. Finally I could give them some input about the ding issue.
“When ATC contacts you via this CPDLC thing, I would imagine there would be a ding?” I asked.
“Yes!” one of them said proudly.
I then prodded them on how we were supposed to differentiate the different dings for different functions, all sounding exactly the same, as they came in.
The engineer asked why we didn’t just look at the EICAS screen as it would either say, CPDLC, FMC, Ground Call, or Flight Attendant.
I explained that this was nice, but that more than half of our 757s didn’t have this EICAS ‘ding alert’ feature.
His partner jumped in, describing the studies Boeing had done that indicated that humans could only differentiate between five different sounds in a cockpit.
I sighed and pleaded for a simple telephone ring for the flight attendant call that comes in on the handset, and then for a few different tones for the rest. If I were to mistake the FMC alert for the HF radio call with these new sounds, how would that be different to what we have now?
I felt bad for them. Pilots love Boeing products so I think they were a bit taken aback. I dropped the subject and stretched out in the middle seat of the MD-80. I certainly wasn’t going to mention my second peeve to them. That is:
Dim and Dimmer
Depending on the airplane and configuration, there are between 32 and 34 different dimming switches and knobs to change the lighting intensity on the 757 and 767 cockpit lights. Of course, I knew you’d think I was exaggerating, so I made a quick video showing each light and dimming knob from a recent flight.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve written earlier about how much I love the 757 and these annoyances are amusingly minor in the grand scheme of airplane design. Maybe flying the MD-80 for a while will give me a new level of appreciation for this grand airplane.
Cockpit Chronicles takes you along on some of Kent’s trips as an international co-pilot on the Boeing 757 and 767 based in New York. Have any questions for Kent? Check out the Cockpit Chronicles Facebook page or follow Kent on Twitter @veryjr.
With the holidays fast approaching, trees, houses and fences across the world are beginning to glow with decorative lights of all shapes and sizes. Whatever your religion or beliefs, these festive displays add a burst of warmth and color to the dark days of December. Flickr user herb.g does a great job of capturing this holiday spirit in today’s shot from Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania – the flickering colors and soft-focus blur of the lights create an eye-catching work of abstract art.
Taken any great photos during your recent travels? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
The SkyMall Monday headquarters can get pretty dark at night. Not just because it’s built into the side of a mountain like a Bond villain’s lair, but because we here at the home office love to sleep. We don’t enjoy it when anything disrupts our slumber. So, we keep it dark and quiet. Sometimes, however, someone has to get up in the middle of the night to tinkle, and that just causes trouble. Once lights get turned on or screams are generated by toes stubbed in the dark, everyone is awake and upset. Hurtful things are said, bedside books are thrown and another episode of COPS has all the domestic dispute footage that it needs. Thankfully, there’s now a way for people to relieve their bladders without pissing everyone off. No, not rubber sheets. Those are gross and noisy when you are making whoopie. Once again, SkyMall has answered the call of nature people with very specific problems with a logical, practical and handsome solution. Just like cars have headlights, it’s about time that we took responsibility for our own illumination. That’s why we should all keep a pair of Brightfeet Lighted Slippers next to our beds.Here at Gadling, we know a thing or two about footwear with lights. With the Brightfeed Lighted Slippers, we can finally keep our feet warm and our toes away from hazards such as end tables, doors and venomous armoires. The LED lights are weight-activated and light-sensitive, so the lights will only be turn on when you wear the slippers in the dark. Now, instead of turning on the bedroom light and waking your husband/boyfriend/one-night stand/guy you drugged for sport, you can tip-toe to the bathroom quietly and safely.
Think that people should be allowed to turn on the lights when they have to get up in the middle of the night? Think that without turning on the lights that people will urinate all over the toilet seat, floor and toothbrush holder? Well, you should stop peeing while you have an erection. You should also read the product description:
It’s like having nightlights on your feet – ideal for night time trips to the bathroom, kitchen or kid’s room.
It’s not only like having nightlights on your feet, it’s literally having nightlights on your feet. Though, I usually prefer my nightlights to look like Sesame Street characters or smell like lavender.
Waking up in the middle of the night is never fun. Waking up someone else in the middle of the night is a recipe for a fight at some ungodly hour that results in you being cranky at the office and your coworkers to suspect that there are problems at home. Then they’ll start asking if you want to go to lunch at the local Outback Steakhouse to talk and, well, that just sounds depressing. So, if you’re going to pee at 2:00am, I suggest that you do it quietly, efficiently and away from your sleeping companion(s). Get your hands (or, I suppose, feet) on some Brightfeet Lighted Slippers and start making your way to the bathroom – and through life – unimpeded.
Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.