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Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
English language

Homonyms can lead to egg on face

The latest attack of homonyms not caught by the spell checker occurred on the bottom left corner of page A7 of the Monday paper.
In the shaded sidebar article, the Associated Press provides a timeline of what was known at the time of writing about the Asiana/Boeing 777 accident at San Francisco mid-day on Saturday. Under the heading "Four seconds out," the writer describes the "stick shaker" as "a yolk the pilots hold."
The "yoke" on the airplane is the two-handed control wheel that is used to turn the airplane, attached to the control column extending from the floor. The name given to this wheel goes way back into the antiquity of aviation, but based on its shape, likely comes from the device used with draft animals to pull wagons.
The "stick shaker" is a mechanical system connected to the control column to provide audible and physical warning of an approaching aerodynamic stall. In this case, under these circumstances, the airplane may have been too slow too low to recover even if take-off/go-around power had been applied instantly.
So, best check that dictionary when confronted with an unfamiliar word. Otherwise, the yolk may be on you.
John P. Frey, Jr.
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