Re: Safety and design rankings (was Re: Flight controls)

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works
Date:         15 Dec 92 00:13:29 PST
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In article <airliners.1992.144@ohare.Chicago.COM> rdd@rascal.ics.utexas.edu writes:

>> Is the MD-11 comparable to the 747-400 in this regard?  I would assume
>> so since they are of comparable vintage.

>I would suggest not: the former is more of a derivative, the latter more of
>a new type, with its new wing (which was designed to support the all-upper-
>deck concept, plus maybe one more derivative after that) ...

My understanding was that the 747-400 does *not* have a new wing but
rather a tweaked version of the original.  I recall some statement
from Boeing regarding the lack of winglets on the 777, which noted
that the 777 had a new wing and starting from a clean slate it was
more efficient to not have them, whereas working from an existing
design as with the 747-400 it was helpful to have them.

>... electrical system, extensive use of composites, new APU, etc.

Hmmm ... sounds a lot like the MD-11 as well the 747-400.

>My PERSONAL mental "ranking" of the sophistication of these airplanes is 
>about:

...

>              FMS only, varying or no glass, no standards
>                                |
>                747-300,737-300,-400,-500, MD-8X, F.100

What I've seen suggests the F.100 is quite advanced, probably not far
behind the A320 and perhaps closer to the Airbus philosophy than to
Boeing's.

>                    INS/PMS, conventional otherwise

Ok, I'll risk it ... what's PMS?  (We're talking about airplanes!)

>             two-man            |                    three-man
>      DC-9,737-100,737-200<-----|

Every first-generation 737 I've seen has a third seat for the flight
engineer.  I believe this was one of the selling points of the DC-9
over the 737.

>The FMS's used on these airplanes are generally done by Honeywell, except
>that Boeing's using Smiths Industries for the 737, for some reason.

Boeing recently made a substantial change to the FMS on new 737s, and
offers a retrofit kit for older new-generation 737s.  I believe this
was a replacement ... perhaps away from Smiths?  Having observed the
trials and tribulations of friends with MGs and their Smiths electrics
I'm not enthusiastic about a Smiths FMS!  :-)

>LASTLY, note that the manufacturers are MUCH more assertive about preventing
>customers customizing their cockpits.  This really got out of hand ...

I've always wondered just what the flight engineer really does on a
767 equipped for three flight crew.  I believe QANTAS does this.
Also, some A310s lack the FFCS (Forward Facing Crew Cockpit) having
instead what I assume is a cockpit more like an older A300.  All of
these are due primarily to union/labor pressures.

>Performance is now ensured by legal contract, rather than design,
>with the dollar being the bottom line.

Well, mandated, at least, if not ensured.

-- 
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