Ouija Board Succombs to Technology

One had to wonder why in the age of Blue Force Trackers and cell phone-bound GPS units, the anachronistic ouija board stayed around this long on America's aircraft carriers, but it now looks as if this antique is destined for the dust bin.

One of the most low-tech pieces of equipment on one of the Navy’s most high-tech ships is being replaced.

The “Ouija Board,” which has tracked aircraft movement on aircraft carriers since World War II, is being phased out of the sea service in the name of technological development.

It is the simplest of systems aboard nuclear reactor-powered ships. In a room next to the flight deck, with a window overlooking part of it, a handler officer watches over a tabletop model of the carrier. The officer’s assorted crew move models of jets, helicopters and other assets around the model deck to match the movements of the real-life counterparts lumbering just outside.

The Ouija board’s computerized replacement is currently only onboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, where its performance will be evaluated this summer. Plans are to install the new system on all carriers by 2015, according to Marcia Hart-Wise, a spokeswoman with Naval Air Systems Command.

The upgrade will require a handler to track flight deck activity via computer, working with a tri-screen display and a monitor that will be fed data directly from the flight deck, said Bruce Chiodi, who is leading the program for NAVAIR.

The Navy story reports that not all handlers are happy with the high-tech replacement.
“I am not a fan of fixing things that are not broke,” he said in an email. “I am old school, I guess.”
Yeah, and as one of our colleagues pointed out, where's the Air Boss going to put his coffee? Show Full Article

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