Memory Alpha

Talk:Flight controller

36,850pages on
this wiki

Back to page

to "have the conn"Edit

How many times in any of Star Trek's many incarnations have we heard someone utter the immortal phrase "You have the Conn" ? What does it mean, exactly? (Moved from conn) The preceding unsigned comment was added by Broik (talk • contribs).

Given Roddenberry's history as a naval aviator, i had always assumed it was navy (or airplane) terminology for "you have the controls" -- but i've never seen a reference to this being the source of it. Seeing as "conn" is short for "flight controller" as of TNG, i assumed this to be a correlation. -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk 17:11, 13 Jan 2006 (UTC)

Conn is a word of itself, not an abbreviation. It no doubt has an etymology. And it is a role; Trek treats the officer with the Conn and the Officer of the Deck as always the same person, but they don't have to be; the OOD gives movement orders (Bring us to course 123, Mr. Smith) while the conning officer issues the specific orders that make this occur (Helm, starboard rudder and make your course 123 degrees, [to the bridge talker] engines to one half). Basically, The OOD has the captains responsibilities, the conn --often NOT an officer; even the OOD is often a CPO or senior PO -- is responsible for the handling (by managing the bridge crew). It is very important that things be done very carefully, which is why there is so much repeating back of orders and so forth. In combat (or other emergency) these jobs are split so that the OOD can focus on managing the crisis and fighting the ship. Finally, these are tasks rather than positions. ALL officers who could be eligible for command (what the USN calls "unrestricted line" officers must learn this duty to be eligible for promotion. It is an absolute requirement to assume command of a vessel. Ensign or Admiral, if you cannot stand a watch as OOD, you cannot give orders about the ship, only suggestions. And even mission orders are ultimately only suggestions, if the Captain decides that he simply cannot safely do what is being asked, and is willing to take the heat for it if his superiors decide he was wrong. 19:00, December 16, 2013 (UTC)

"conn officer"Edit

Has this term ever been used -- the only occurrences i find under google, besides MA, are fan sites? -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 15:57, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Conn officer is just short for flight control officer, which this article should be titled. source: ST:TNG Technical Manual The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).

But I simply do not see how this can be anything but an error born of ignorance --LOTS of people have the impression that conn simply must be an abbreviation. But is simply is not; it doesn't even descend from control or really the same route: control comes to us via Middle English, MAYBE via old French (but more likely not). Conn comes via the French conduce to the archaic English cond + the English conduce (which appears in LATE middle English via the Latin conducere, and which is also archaic.

In short, given a choice between an error born of a common confusion that shows in the apocrypha -The tech manuals have been contradicted to often to be otherwise -and a the actual history of a word which is being used exactly as defined in the exactly correct contexts by a group of people in which many would have actually performed that roll, on a warship in combat (in 1966, the folks who fought the second world war were only middle aged) I cannot see a contest.

Huh. I have a bug up my ass about this. 19:26, December 16, 2013 (UTC)

"ancient" word Edit

I changed the background referring to "conn" as an "ancient" word, and dating it from the eleventh century. Nothing anywhere near this recent is ever called "ancient" in the twenty-first century; and I don't think there's any reason it would be in the twenty-fourth century, if that's the perspective the background is supposed to be writing from. Just thought this might be better. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).

19th century Deadwood = 24th century Ancient West. --Alan 16:35, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Astrogation plotterEdit

The reference that this term was used it is as follows:

"We've managed to find a replacement for the Transporter Chief, but we still need an Astrogation Plotter, a Chief Engineer, medical support personnel."

Some of the blanks can be filled in by who was given new positions aboard the ship, including B'Elanna Torres as chief engineer. Since we know Stadi was killed and Tom Paris functioned as her replacement, as well as the fact that "astrogation" is (in sci-fi references) an alternate term for "navigation", it would seem the logical conclusion would be to merge the astrogation plotter with navigator, as that would seem to certainly define the role performed by said position.

Addendum #1: Well, perhaps this has gotten more complicated that I originally stated as flight controller may actually be the accurate term...despite the fact that this term would seem to apply to both.

Addendum #2: Okay, so the deeper I dig, the more facts of interest I've revealed. For some reason, we seem to make a distinction between navigator/flight controller, which combining flight controller and conn, when the terminology has not been as established as being universally interchangeable. Navigator seems to drop off at TNG and replaced with flight controller, however, the term "navigator" continued to be used on occasion in TNG: "Conundrum" (Ro Laren) TNG: "The First Duty" (Hajar), DS9: "Broken Link" (Amat'igan), and VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy" (Tuvok).

So with that said, perhaps we should merge everything (except helmsman) into "navigator" and make the "conn" article a bit more distinctive, in terms of defining it as being the one "in charge of the bridge". --Alan 18:39, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree that astrogation plotter could probably be merged to flight controller. However, I think the flight controller article and the navigator article should stay separate. The flight controller (or conn) is a combination of the duties of the helmsman and the navigator, as seen on TOS. It thus wouldn't seem right (at least to me) to merge flight controller into navigator and leave helmsman by itself. If anything, helmsman and navigator should probably be merged into flight controller... but I would be somewhat against that since they were separate entities during the 23rd century. --From Andoria with Love 04:45, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

RIKER: "Navigators on this ship have been doing flight handling assessments the same way for years, Ensign." --Alan 03:06, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Like I said, in the 24th century, navigation and piloting (helm) duties were merged into the conn. So, yeah, they were navigators... they were also helmsmen. How many times was the conn/"navigator" also referred to as "helm" on TNG & VOY? Also, I believe Riker was referring specifically to navigation controls in that quote, yes? Anyway, my point is, if we merge flight controller into navigator, then that will leave us with one article discussing navigation in the 23rd century and navigation as part of flight controls in the 24th century, and a second article only discussing helm control in the 23rd century despite the fact helm control was part of the flight controller function in the 24th century. Am I making sense? --From Andoria with Love 05:11, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Astrogation plotter should be kept separate from conn/flight control. The quote at the top of this section from Janeway says they "still need an astrogation plotter", an episode or two after Paris was officially assigned to the conn in replacement of Stadi. They can't still need one if it's the same position Paris already has. I would take AP as being a role similar to what Seven of Nine would eventually fill; something involving stellar cartography/astrometrics and charting the course home, but not actually flying the ship. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).

That's not true. That quote was taken from the first episode following the premiere. There was never any official confirmation by that point that Paris was permanent at that position. --Alan 19:11, November 8, 2009 (UTC)

"Background Incorrect on having the Conn"Edit

Presuming the Wikipedia article on Officer of the Deck is correct, the background section of this Flight Controller Article is incorrect.

See [1], and in particular the 2nd paragraph of the section 'Relieving the OOD'.

To summarize, in current US Navy practice, there are two separate things: 'having the deck' and 'having the conn', which are not the same thing. The officer on the bridge who 'has the deck' is in overall command, and is responsible for deciding what the ship will do. The officer who 'has the conn' has only the specific responsibility of having control of the engines and rudder, giving specific orders to the helmsman (an enlisted crew member) to change the rudder settings, and to the lee helmsman to change the engine settings. And the helmsmen only take instructions from whoever has the conn. In normal situations, the Officer of the Deck 'has the deck', and the Junior Officer of the Deck 'has the Conn'. Unless it is an emergency, the officer who has the deck would not bypass the officer who has the conn. E.g the Officer of the Deck who has the Deck and is therefore in command might decide that the ship should slow down and turn to starboard, but he would give that general order to the Junior Officer of the deck who has the Conn, and that officer in turn would give specific orders to the helmsman as to the rudder setting to change to, and the engine speed setting to telegraph to the engine room.

Note in the Wikipedia article section I'm pointing out, the examples of how the deck and the conn are transferred separately. The Captain MAY choose to assume both the deck and the conn, but both would then be specified as it must always be clearly understood who is in charge of each responsibility.

The Background section of this article ia therefore completely incorrect, as it says the 'conn' is the "sole responsibility to control, or direct by order, the movements of a ship. On a Starfleet vessel, as on its Terran wet-navy antecedents, this responsibilty resides with the Deck Officer, also known as the Officer of the Day" This misses the point that the Officer who has the Deck only gives general movement instructions, while the (more junior) officer who has the conn gives the detailed movement instruction to the helmsmen to get the effect the officer who has the deck asked for.

With respect to Star Trek, at least in TNG and Voyager it seems to me that what is shown is actually mostly consistent with a progression from modern naval practice. In TNG and Voyager, it appears that at any one time on the Bridge there is one officer who 'has the Bridge', as the equivalent of the current Officer of the Deck 'having the Deck', while the Flight Controller is the (usually) more junior officer who 'has the conn'. The big difference to now being that the Flight Controller who 'has the conn' then inputs the more specific instructions for engine speed and direction into the helm console rather than issuing them to a human helmsman and lee helmsman. (One would suppose that in fact the very specific control of the warpfield, impulse engine and RCS thrusters is via a computer autopilot, which the Flight controller is directing, so the Flight Controller, being the officer with the conn, is in effect issuing specific instructions via touchscreen to a computer helmsman, rather than verbally to a human helmsman as currently.)

Mostly in TNG/VOY the Captain or whoever 'has the 'Bridge' issues general movement orders to the officer who has the Conn like 'Get us out of here, Mr Paris', or 'Back us off slowly, Ensign', while leaving it up to the Flight Controller to actually choose the specific instructions to input into the helm, which is quite consistent with the current practice of the junior officer with the conn giving the specific instuctions to the helmsmen. Of course, the one difference is that in the current world the officer with the conn gives command by voice to enlisted helmsmen, so any officer at any position on the bridge can 'take the conn' at any time without having to move to the helm, whereas in Star Trek, short of reconfiguring another workstation panel or giving the computer steering commands by voice (both of which have happened), an officer has to move to the helm console to 'take the conn' and be able to input specific speed and directional control. Which makes those instances of Captains ordering officers to take the Conn and them going to the helm station also consistent.

So if we understand the Flight Controller position as being the (usually junior) officer position that 'has the conn' and gives the specific movement orders to the computer helmsman to effect the general movement wishes of the officer who 'has the bridge', then this is both consistent with being a progression of current naval practice, and the reason why the apparent 'helmsman' in TNG/VOY is an officer rather than enlisted crew as currently - he/she is actually the equivalent of the Junior Officer of the Deck with the Conn who makes the specific control decisions, not the euqivalent of the modern helmsman who just changes rudder and engine settings only as specifically ordered.

It also makes it quite correct when e.g. Captain Picard leaves the Bridge saying 'You have the Bridge, Number One' and not mentioning the Conn - as the Ensign sitting at the Flight Controller's console has the Conn, and that isn't changing. The big difference with current USN practice is that the Captain or First Officer doesn't say 'I have the Conn' before issuing a specific movement order, like 'Come to course 248 Mark 10' and then returning the Conn to the Flight Controller. However (a) that Wikipedia article does say sometimes a modern Captain won't take the time to say they have the Bridge or Conn when assuming either or both in an emergency; and (b) where the flight controller is inputing the commands by touchscreen, and in effect just acting like a modern helmsman when the Officer of the Bridge does give a specific order, it doesn't really need the verbal specification the way it does in the current world where the helmsmen need to be clear which officer they have to listen to for their orders. So one could see the formal statement of the passing of the Conn disappering between now and the time of Star Trek other than when instructing someone else to take over instructing the autopilot with specific movement isntructions via going to the helm station, reconiguring another station for flight control, or giving the computer verbal orders.

So - bottom line: I believe the current 'Background section' of this article is factually worng and should be removed. In its place should be something explaining:

(i) the current USN system of having an officer who 'has the deck' having overall control but usually just issuing general movement instructions, and a junior officer who 'has the conn' who works out and issues the specific orders to the helmsmen to get the overall effect the Officer of the Deck wanted.

(ii) the correspondence with TNG/VOY with the current officer who has the deck becoming the officer who has the Bridge, with a junior officer - the Flight Controller - still having the Conn, and working out and giving to the computer flight control system the specific orders to get the overall effect the Officer with the Bridge wanted. – 22:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Star Trek isn't the Navy and it should just be removed - period — Morder 22:34, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Next time, 88.108, it would be sufficient to say "the section is wrong" with a brief explanation. As Morder said, and as stated on MA:NIT, we don't make comparisons to reality in the articles, so he removed the section you spoke of.--31dot 00:58, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Another Relief conn officer Edit

Hey I was just watching Star Trek Generations and Commander Troy was operating the conn when the enterprise crashes. Should she be added to the list? -- 05:54, December 20, 2009 (UTC)

No, because she only manned it when the original Conn Officer, Jae was wounded. She wasn't a Relief Conn. She was the only person there. -- 13:48, March 2, 2013 (UTC)

Removed Edit

Background Edit

To have "the conn" is to have sole responsibility to control, or direct by order, the movements of a ship. On a Starfleet vessel, as on its Terran wet-navy antecedents, this responsibilty resides with the Deck Officer, also known as the Officer of the Day. The conn responsibility must be assigned away temporarily if the assigned officer leaves the bridge, even for such mundane activities as using the head. Even the entrance of the Captain onto the bridge does not automatically assign conn responsibility to him or her; it must be assigned by verbal exchange. Modern ships have a "conning tower", a raised platform with high visiblity from where the commanding officer gives directions to the ship's helmsman.
The word "conn" dates back to the eleventh century, in England. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word conne, which means to know or to be skillful.
Although the positions of helm and flight controller are interchangeable in the Star Trek universe, this is not accurate in present naval procedures; the helm position can be assigned the conn, but is not in fact "the conn".
"The Conn" has been used in multiple ways in Star Trek history. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Admiral Kirk leaves Lt. Saavik in charge of the bridge by saying, "You have the conn," while in "Basics, Part I", Captain Janeway tells Chakotay to replace Tom Paris at the helm by saying, "Chakotay, take the conn."
Most of this information was verified at Tolani Maritime Institute.

We can't compare the two and shouldn't compare the two. — Morder 22:37, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

This comes perilously close to arguing that we shouldn't pay attention to how words are used now simply because this is Star Trek. It is one thing not to make broad comparisons. It is entirely another to argue that we shouldn't turn to the history and usage of the word in its modern context when deciding what the writers (many of whom served; there was a peacetime draft from 1940-1973 except in 1947).

Definition of "relief" Edit

What does "relief" mean in this context? Does it refer to anyone who temporarily sits in the flight controller's chair and flies the ship, but who is not actually assigned to perform that function? --Pat Berry 17:09, November 8, 2011 (UTC)

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki