Talk:Trim tab

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July 11 Merge[edit]

Merged Trim tabs into this article, placed redirect on Trim tabs

Sorry.. never signed this when I was an IP editor. Resolving Chaos 16:58, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Trim Tab Metafors[edit]

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a motivational speech. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the speaker and credit him for this.

A reference from Buckminster Fuller using another Trim Tab metaphor and relating this to the trim tab on the rudder of a ship as noted in this Wiki. However, the metaphor used by the speaker of the seminar related to an aircraft trim tab.

The speaker stated that a Trim Tab adjusted incorrectly by even one-degree, the error would cause the aircraft to be off-course. Further, if an aircraft left Los Angles with New York City as the destination, this one-degree error could cause the aircraft to br off-course, and arrive in Washington DC instead of New York City.

The speaker’s metaphor culminated by stating that a person can change the course of their life by small degrees that ultimately achieved significant results. Small changes applied at a correct fulcrum make a greater difference in the end, then radical changes make in the short term and will have a lasting impact on an individuals’ life. “Change the direction of your life using your Trim Tab.”

This seems to be practical advice making a difference in how I have made personal changes in my life.

In view of the sweeping changes being implemented by our current Administration, maybe a lesson could be learned.

If anyone can help credit the referenced speaker who gave this speech, that would be appreciated.

14Terence (talk) 15:22, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm inclined to be a pedant here. There is some technical truth in that metaphor, but there are better technical analogies. The speaker really is trying to talk about sine error, which describes the notion that small angular errors can become large translational errors. If the trim tab on the rudder of an airplane were off slightly, however, it's not that the airplane would head off in some fixed heading with respect to its starting heading; rather, "flying strait ahead" with no hands on the controls would instead become "turning right or left at a constant radius". Assuming there was no wind and you tried to get from LA to NYC just by aiming the plane and letting it fly, if the rudder's trimtab weren't set right, you wouldn't end up in DC, you'd end up back in LA.
So yes, there is engineering terminology to describe the notion that small changes can be magnified down the road, but a feedback loop is also necessary. In reality, if you held a constant altitude, but otherwise let a plane fly, you might just wind up on the eastern seaboard if you aimed at NYC from LA. For aviation metaphors for life, I heard a great graduation speech (an oxymoron, I know) by Joseph Costello (filling in after the surprise death of Douglas Adams) relating life choices to target fixation. In life you have to identify potential pitfalls, but beware of dwelling on them, lest you inadvertently run into them: identify potential problems, but then identify a good path and stick to it. —Ben FrantzDale (talk) 13:07, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


Since the very earliest planes wont have had trim tabs, it would be useful to have a short section on how and when they were first introduced? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 26 September 2015 (UTC)