Altimeter Check

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Kurt in S.A., Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    I did some searching but couldn't find much on the subject. I've been wondering when and why the altitude changed from 7,250 feet to 7,258 feet. Did the Academy get higher or did West Point and Annapolis sink?? :shake: It was always 7,250 feet for me.

    I heard about the 7,258 number about two years ago and didn't understand the reason for the change. Someone I know managed to go to the Academy library and look at the Contrails. Turns it it changed between the class of '79 and '80. The '75-76 Contrails shows 7250 while the '76-77 Contrails shows 7258. Man, that must have been tough when those freshman became 3rd classmen and had to constantly be correctly themselves when the class of '80 arrived.

    OK, that's the when. Now, why? Coupled with that, is there a specific spot for the given altitude reference? The Terrazzo? Top of Spirit Hill? I don't recall anything ever being given. The altitude is all over the map from say Falcon Stadium up to the Chapel Overlook. Is that Flat Iron included in that. :wink:

    Anyway, if anyone has some insight, especially those members of '79 that had to deal with it, I'd really appreciate hearing back.

    Thanks...Kurt
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Maybe it's the hill in the middle of the Tzo. Maybe they added more dirt. Maybe most people really never noticed or cared. Maybe GPS being used isn't as accurate as mil standards. I bet, if you took 3 people with 3 different brand GPA; including those included in the android phone; that they wouldn't be exactly the same. Oh well. Hope you don't mind if I don't do a lot of research on this one. But I guess it's a little interesting. Maybe the land didn't get higher..... Maybe the orbit changed and the satellites are 8 feet further away.
     
  3. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    Thanks, Mike...I think! :wink: I was hoping to find someone who was there at the transition and might have asked the same questions. At least I would have...
     
  4. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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  5. Scratcher

    Scratcher Member

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    Sir, my altitude is seven thousand, two hundred and fifty eight above sea level. Far, far above that of west point or annapolis.
     
  6. 2bornot2b

    2bornot2b Member

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    High Altitude!

    ha! ha! :thumb:
     
  7. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    Still no resolution to this change...I realize no one else is really interested! :wink: I decided to check the USGS National Elevation Data...they have a map which lets me hover the mouse over any spot which gives the elevation. For the terrazzo, the elevation is right around 7150 feet. The best I can do is around 7230 or so at the Visitor's Center.

    So, I guess neither 7250 or 7258 is correct! Maybe 8 more feet was need to ensure proper intimidation of other football schools when they show up for games. :scratch:
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Well, I don't think that's it, considering that the stadium is no where near the tzo. It a couple hundred feet less. around 6990-7000.
     
  9. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    Actually, the NED shows the stadium around 6600 feet. The last time I was there, I seem to recall that the number 7250 is written into the walls of the stadium...I can't confirm that, but thought I saw it. Clearly, the stadium is well below that number...but 7250/7258 is so much more impressive than 6600!!
     
  10. aseanag

    aseanag Eagle2013

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    There is a path between the visitor center and the Cadet chapel. Maybe the peak of the path can explain the difference in altitude. I always have to stop at one of the lookout to catch my breath. :smile:
     
  11. scraper

    scraper Member

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    Try at the Entrance to Harmon Hall at the top of the hill as ou turn in.
     
  12. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    I know this forum is more about what's happening today, but I thought I'd provide the rest of the story as I've been able to figure out. I've had discussions with the AOG office but they didn't really provide any more info than I already had.

    I mentioned at the beginning, that the "altitude" went from 7250 to 7258 for the Class of '80. There appears to be no reasonable rationale for that switch. I contacted just about all the Cadets who were involved in Contrails for the '76-77 year, but none of them had anything to do with this section of the book. Given that this was all hand-typed or set at the time, an explanation might just be that it was a typo. In the transcription of one year to the next, someone mistook a "0" for an "8" and it's been that way ever since.

    It was suggested that maybe there was a large volume of dirt that was removed during construction that could have accounted for the altitude. I have a contact in the Engineering Mechanics Department who went to the Civil Engineer's office and found the pre-construction maps. No such "mountain" needed to be removed.

    What he did find was that the terrazzo level is below 7200 feet, probably like 7160. He also found an interesting flag note up by the road that leads into the parking lot for the Visitor's Center. The flag points to a tree next to the road and states "7252.31 EL. Nails in root of 16-inch pine." He went to that spot and found what might still be the tree...no nails but now 19-inches!

    It's unlikely in my mind that someone would have rounded this number down to 7250 feet as the altitude for the Academy. However, in a weird way, any visitors must pass by this tree on the way to the Center and to the overlook to the Cadet area...something of a "portal".

    So, no firm explanation for where 7250 came from nor any justification for adding another 8 feet.

    Kurt
     
  13. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    I truly approve of these efforts, and applaud you sir. This is the kind of crazy, pointless endeavor that separates the curious from the determined.

    :thumb:
     
  14. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    Hey, I resemble that statement! Thanks...

    Kurt
     
  15. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Those "markers" you find on USAFA attached to trees...I had one in my yard when I lived in Quarters 4194 in upper Douglas Valley.

    They were put there by the US Geological Survey and were the precise altitude at that location, using the available equipment of the time. The one in our yard was from 1964.

    And as satelllites are more precise, using laser precision, etc., you will find that "well established elevations" around the world are being "revamped."

    It's a "not big deal issue."

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  16. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    Steve -

    Correct...not a big deal issue. But...I was just disheartened by a "tradition" being changed. I learned that my altitude was 7250. Beginning in 1976, everyone learned 7258. Kind of changes the meaning of tradition.

    If was not a big issue, why even change it at all? And since no one knows where the reference point was in the first place, how did they know where to go to "revamp" the measurement?

    I just think they could have left well enough alone. But in the end, my current thinking is that someone botched it and change a 0 to an 8 by mistake.

    Kurt '74
     
  17. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    '74?

    I was at your graduation! Grabbed a hat for my baby brother! And then gave Mike DeLorenzo grief that he didn't save his for me!

    But I agree with what you're saying here.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     

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