I flew to North Carolina via Atlanta last weekend, and just as we were about to take off from Atlanta the pilot told us that we had technical issues — some kind of display of one of the engines wasn’t displaying as it should, and we were going to have to taxi back to the gate and have it dealt with. Since it was already 8pm, everyone immediately began revising their vacation plans on the assumption that we were all staying in Atlanta overnight, and began working their cell phones to tell people that (as I did)…

Then about fifteen minutes later, the pilot came on again to tell that it was all good, and the problem had been resolved — it turned out that it was just a “switchology” issue. We took off just a couple of minutes after that.

So what I want to know is: was the pilot just messing with us (and dryly implying that the reason that they display wasn’t displaying was that someone forgot to switch it on)? Or is there actually an aviation-related discipline known as “switchology”? (I realize that modern airline cockpits probably have a hideously complex array of switches, and for all I know there are -ologists who specialize in getting them right… but I’m still guessing that “switchology” is as jokey a word as “entomology” is for people who debug software.)

2 thoughts on “Switchology?”

  1. It looks like ‘switchology’ is a real word. I think it means the order in which switches are used to change modes–probably in your case someone had flipped a switch at the wrong time.

    I’ll ask my human factors colleagues at NASA for more info

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