IN the days when the top speed of aircraft was of the order of 100 to 150 m.p.h., the designer relied on the pilot's impressions and the pilot in turn relied on being able to jot things down at odd moments on the pad which he had strapped to his knee. This method of flight testing, often known as ‘flying on the seat of the pilot's pants’, had the great disadvantage that the pilot might be preoccupied with one problem which might completely mask other more important, but less apparent, happenings.
Rimmer, B.M. (1952), "Instrumentation of Aircraft for Flight Testing: A Review of Practical Problems Associated with the Recording of Instrument Readings in Flight", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 2-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb032120
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