V/STOL blows away implicit assumptions...

There's lots to know in aviation. Why things are this way, not that way. Why aeroplanes do this, but can't or won't do that. Well, that's what makes us buy like this, use for that, operate and maintain as follows... It's valuable knowledge, hard to get from a course - particularly the cross-domain, broad-context, knowing-how-it-all-fits-together stuff.

But all that learning brings a risk or two: the implicit assumptions, the ones you forget you're making. I can see two areas where they’re a potential impediment:

A typical challenge for a Consultant: a new task to tackle, in an unfamiliar area, and the need for rapid and robust education. The need is to ensure that you're asking the right questions for your Customer (some Consultants call them clients – prostitutes call them that too): your aim is to structure your thinking, and probably help with theirs, preserve your own credibility and to waste nobody’s time in the process.

Implicit assumptions are also a potential trip-up when you’re evaluating a new idea: for yourself, or for someone else.

My time in Aviation started by getting acquainted with the Harrier, a jet capable of doing great damage to all sorts of things, implicit assumptions among them. To my delight and surprise, I’ve since had another two V/STOL aircraft to think hard about professionally: one with some tricks very applicable to offshore operations, and one whose major competitor might just be oceanic freight. So it was a pleasure to come across the article (linked) – take five for a quick read. Not every “interview with a former pilot” will give you a quick mental workout as it points out and challenges such a range of implicit assumptions, across the whole spectrum of military, mission, capability, operations, maintenance and support.

If you’re unfamiliar with the V-22, and want to see the effects of a super-high disk loading, a procurement process that allows everyone to add their own preferred toy to the vehicle, and an industrial partnership between a gorilla of the Military-Industrial Complex and a downhome tin-bender (Bell fans don’t bridle – times have changed a lot since UH-1 was the most innovative product in the lineup) I can recommend Richard Whittle’s 2011 book, “The Dream Machine.”

I have no affiliation with any of the authors or companies mentioned here - maybe I should be more entrepreneurial...