Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (IPP) - Today is the 100 year anniversary of the invention of the altimeter. The altitude measuring device was invented by a German immigrant named Altwin Timothy Meterous and the word altimeter is derived from his name.
Altwin loved his beer but soon realized that if he drank more than twelve brewskis before piloting his Red Baron styled biplane that he would not land the plane quite as smoothly as he would have liked.
Altwin set out to develop a device that would measure how high he was. Obviously the more he drank the higher he would get. The altimeter was taken along on his plane rides because he would often lose count of how many beers he had consumed while flying around the countryside. Much to the inventor's amazement and delight the instrument seemed equally capable of measuring his height above the ground as well as it seemed to measure his blood alcohol content.
Today's airline pilots take the altimeter for granted as they sit around the airport bar and down a few cold ones before hitting the runway and then throwing the plane into auto-pilot for that transoceanic crossing.
There is a famous quote at the altimeter museum that says, "a man with an altimeter always knows how high he is but a man with two is never sure".