Thanks for the links Ravenous - I need to make sure we have at least the documents by Don Eyles, et al, in the museum's collection associated with the AGC. We have pretty much all of the technical documents, including the six-inch thick code listings on 11 x 15 inch green-shaded fanfold. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that the software engineer responsible for the portion of the software where most of the troubles were experienced (not due to bad software, but bad data during the landing) was named ... HAL!!!
Don did discuss some things that better explain some of the events experienced by Neil and Buzz during their Excellent Adventure. While they did see some 1201 and 1202 warnings during simulator runs, they didn't see anywhere near the number, and especially at the times they did, during the actual landing. As a pilot of both helicopters and airplanes, I can definitely identify with their consternation at winding up with both their "heads in the cockpit" dealing with nattering alarms and blinking lights that should not have actually been occurring, instead of Neil remaining looking out the window, which delayed his surveying the prospective landing spots.
I knew that there was a problematic interaction between the landing radar altimeter and the computer (and had forgotten there was a separate rendezvous radar) and I had understood there to be an EMI issue between them (I need to go find the source that led me to believe that). However, the real problem was the overloading of the computer with bogus data from the landing radar altimeter. I found it quite unbelievable that it was possible for them to encounter so many unforeseen problems, such as the premature low-fuel warning due to fuel sloshing in the tank - why wasn't the tank based on a piston-style or collapsible design where the volume of the tank was always the same as the fluid contained inside? Perhaps it wasn't possible to seal combustible fluids within a piston-style tank within the weight constraints. Apollo 13 certainly pointed up the dangers of having to move fluid around in tanks with volumes larger than the contained combustible fluids.
I loved Neil's question to Buzz effectively asking whether they should ditch the landing radar altimeter - typical test pilot cockpit banter by guys wondering whether they were headed for a smoking hole. I also found illuminating his comment about the various scenarios leading to aborting the landing being the focus of the thousands of hours of training, but they looked for any excuse they could to make the landing happen. That was even to the point of potentially crunching onto the surface from as high as 40 feet when the fuel ran out, while the engineers had designed the landing gear to be able to withstand a powerless landing from only 10 feet.
I had misidentified the remaining fuel upon landing - it was 15 seconds to Bingo (a term used by military pilots as the point of no return if you don't head for a landing or to go get gas via air-to-air refueling), not 15 seconds total fuel remaining. They would have had no more than 20 seconds past Bingo before fuel exhaustion, so, they actually had 35 seconds of fuel left at engine shutdown.
There's a comment in the transcript about how, in 15 years or so, people would be relearning these hard-earned lessons when future landings on bodies in the solar system were attempted. Little did they know they would be off by at least 50 years if the first Mars landing occurs even by 2035, which isn't even considered a firmly achievable goal.
This put a bug in my brain about how to encapsulate the lessons of the landing as a scenario in the STEM educational game system I'm working on, Pi-finity! I'm thinking about not only reproducing the Moon landing, but also what a Mars landing would entail.
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close!
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!