Friday, April 6, 2018

Shouldn't acronyms be pronounceable?

On April 3rd there was a press release titled NASA Awards Contract to Build Quieter Supersonic Aircraft which said:

“NASA has taken another step toward re-introducing supersonic flight with the award Tuesday of a contract for the design, building and testing of a supersonic aircraft that reduces a sonic boom to a gentle thump.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, was selected for the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract, a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract valued at $247.5 million. Work under the contract began April 2 and runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will complete the design and fabrication of an experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane, which will cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 mph and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.”

But, of course, Lockheed Martin referred to the aircraft by the unpronounceable acronym LBFD.

I think whoever at NASA came up with the name and acronym should have first run it past a person in their mythical Office Of Pronounceable Spellings (OOPS). The guy or gal in that office would have objected to that acronym, and told them to come up with something pronounceable – like QUAC (Quiet Unobtrusive Aerial Craft). If it’s a QUAC, then it sounds no louder than a duck quacking (rather than a car door closing).

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