Picture a Plane

Some months ago I was on a train, wasting time. Not that time on a train is generally wasted, but I was doing nothing else than being on a train and getting worked up about what I was seeing.

In front of me was an information panel showing the destination of the train, Schiphol. The fact that Schiphol was an airport was clarified by a pictogram of an airplane. And this pictogram was what I was so worked up about.

Plane pictogram

Look at it. It shows all the essential features of an airplane – fuselage, wings, vertical stabilizer – but it doesn’t picture a plane. It might have been a plane at some point in time, before it was squashed against the wall by a giant flyswatter.

An airplane is a very three-dimensional means of transport. It needs its wings to get up in the air and stay there, and it needs its vertical stabilizer to keep it going in the direction you want it to. Usually, means of transport are pictured from the side. That works very well with bicycles, cars, trains, buses and helicopters, but not with airplanes. You will overlook the wings, and without those it will crash.

If these wings are so important, let’s picture the plane from above. Or from beneath? I couldn’t tell the difference because the vertical stabilizer, without which the plane will most certainly crash, has now gone missing.

plane above pictogram

A front view maybe? In that way both wings and vertical stabilizer are visible. But it also leaves you with the feeling that you are standing on a runway about to be run over. No, thank you.

The solution is to picture the plane from an angle. This way all its features are disclosed and in the right proportions. It actually looks like a real airplane! Thanks to the anonymous GB who shared it on the internet for free. You saved my day.



1 thought on “Picture a Plane

  1. Koos

    Kenmerk van een model is dat het een vereenvoudigde weergave van de werkelijkheid is. Dat je zo’n hoge staart (‘vertical stabilizer’, nooit van gehoord) niet ziet als je van boven kijkt, doet er toch niet toe? En dat je de vleugels niet ziet als je van recht opzij kijkt toch ook niet? Je ziet de piloot ook niet, zonder/door wie een vliegtuig crasht. Het eerste plaatje is inderdaad prut, maar het tweede is prima voor ikoon-doeleinden. Het onderste is wel het mooiste, maar daar mis ik toch een motor aan bakboord. En raampjes, op zijn minst in de kokpit!


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