"Dont think" warning on flight simulator

I watched a recording of the Mythbusters show on landing a commercial jet. One thing struck me as odd, during the simulation, there seemed to be a recording saying “Don’t Think,” which Jamie commented upon. What would be the reason behind the “don’t think” warning, assusming that’s what it said?

The recording is actually saying “don’t sink”. It’s warning you that you’re too low and you should be sure not to go any lower.

You can listen to the various sounds here.

The “Sink Rate” voice cue always sounds like anything BUT “Sink Rate” to me.

Those simulators cost millions of dollars each. You would think they could find a voice guy without a lisp.

I play flight simulators all the time and I understood what it said but that is what I was expecting as well.

These callouts are part of the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS.) There are six different GPWS modes and the “Sink Rate” and Don’t Sink" callouts are part of different modes.

“Sink Rate” is a Mode 1 callout which occurs when the rate of descent for a given altitude is excessive. “Don’t Sink” is a Mode 3 callout that occurs after take-off or during a go-around if the aircraft suffers a loss of height. It’s normally something you hear with an engine-out if you’re mishandling the aircraft.

I’ve never really heard it as “Don’t Think”, maybe depends on the quality of the cockpit speakers and the ambient noise.

If you think “Don’t Think” is bad, you should hear the Airbusses call its pilot a “Retard” in the landing flare.

Oddly, I understood that the voice was always a women (the voice cuts through noise better). But all out Saudi C-130s have amale voice. I wonder if they paid extra for that.

The “female voices are better” was a 1950s USAF canard.

Nowadays the cockpit warning systems are all synth voices of varying fidelity and indeterminate but male-ish gender. These are in addition to a large number of traditional bells, horns, beeps, & boops.

[Rant on]
Of particular annoyance to pilots is the crappy voice synth systems the FAA bought in the early 1990s to provide ATIS (local airport weather plus airport operating information) or in the late 90s to provide ASOS/AWOS (local weather only).

For a live example of early 90s voice synth, which we must listen to & understand perfectly every day over lo-fi 1950s-technology radios in a high noise environment, in the US call 714-546-2279. When he first came out the whole Serbia / Croatia / Kosovo breakup thing was in full swing & he was quickly dubbed “The Serbian Refugee.” Not real PC, but it reflected our attitude about the Fed’s care in selecting a voice that was easy for Americans to understand.

For an example of late 90s synth, try the live weather report at 314-426-0159. Much better, but still poor in a high noise environment.
[rant off]

Here is how that deal went:

The Sales team told the Saudis they could offer a male voice. Everyone agreed on a price to sell the apps and voice technology to the Saudis. A fairly typical contract is signed after much delay by legal teams.

The sales team goes back to R&D, or the Development team, and they cover (at some point, probably very late) that, ''Oh, by the way, we need a male voice, because we promised it to them."

The Development team wants to jump through the phone, or over the table, to beat the crap out of the Sales team. The Sales team pockets a big commission and is home for the holidays eating dinner with the family, while the Development team is working 'round the clock to record and refine the male voice.

When any faults in the voice are discovered, the Saudis go back to the Sales team, who openly criticizes their Development team, and they make the Development team work around the clock to fix bugs. The Sales team goes back to the Saudis and tells them that they put the crackdown on the Developers, and all will be good. Then the Sales team pats themselves on their backs.

And they lived happily ever after.


I’ve been taking a few safety classes and human factor classes for my Master’s Degree. I remember a few lectures on "The Voice"™ and the human interpretation of it. It was found (I only have anecdotal evidence, class notes, and a textbook somewhere around here . . .) that a pilot [sub]or train engineer, or systems operator, etc.[/sub] will respond to either a female or male voice, so long as the pitch, timbre, and speed of delivery is sufficient enough to evoke a somewhat automatic response. Through studies, I recall they found that the female voice worked better because most ‘Western’ pilots under duress responded better to it. . . But I can see the cultural dimension to the issue.


Let me see if I can’t find that book. . .

Having worked in the defense industry, I find this an all too-familiar story.

Yeah our Dash 8 EGPWS is definitely a male voice as is the TCAS.

Stephen Hawking used to do the automatic weather services for us, now they have a very natural sounding woman.

The 714 area code should be … something bad… GAH, that is horrible.

It sounds like an actual human reading a transcript to me.

The good ones do.

Hey, that’s kinda funny - John Wayne Airport hired the same guy for their ATIS as we did for ours!

I wonder if he knows the lady who tells you “any item left unattended will be confiscated by Airport Police” over the PA in at least fourteen airport terminals I’ve been through?

THE John Wayne Airport? SOmeone said they changed it.