One standout team at this year’s Tour de France has a familiar name to aviation emblazoned on their chests: Garmin.
After Stage 6 of the grueling 21-stage event, two members of the Garmin-Chipotle team — Christian Vande Velde (USA) and David Millar (GBR) — were in the top five for the overall championship. The team has been leading the fight against blood doping in order to clean up the sport. While I was cheering for Vande Velde as a torch bearer for American cycling, I was struck by the omnipresence of GPS technology in our lives.
The aviation segment at Garmin only represents a small part of the company’s overall business. Satellites in space are now governing all aspects of life from extreme exploration to day-to-day package delivering. While I love having the technology in the cockpit, the way it improves situational awareness, provides more direct routing, and keeps me out of restricted areas, I’m vowing not to completely part with old ways.
When I’m in the mountains I like to take along a compass and altimeter. I keep track of time as I’m hiking and pick out checkpoints. I’ve managed to keep myself out of trouble, even in some of the most confusing wilderness areas in Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. Mostly, it’s a matter of applying the same principle we learn about in aviation: trust the instruments.
For even more fun, I want to learn celestial navigation like super navigator Christoforo Colombo. AOPA Pilot published an interesting article on the subject back in 2003.
All this boils down to a greater respect and understanding of new technology. There’s nothing like hitting “direct to” and watching the box work its magic. Go Garmin-Chipotle! You’ve got a lot riding on your shoulders.
Tags: Nate Ferguson