Re: A320 cockpit visit)

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works
Date:         24 Jun 93 00:37:54 PDT
References:   1 2 3
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Robert Dorsett writes:
>1.  The A320 should be compared to aircraft with similar avionics and
>operating philosophies: those are the airplanes listed.  There have been
>no 757 crashes (released 1982), one 767 (1983) crash, two (?) A310 (1982)
>crashes, one (?) A300-600 (1982) crash, and no 747-400 (1988) crashes.
>Yet in the first three years of operation, the A320 had three.

I don't know what "released" means but those dates aren't internally
consistent either since the 767 preceded the 757.  First flight for
the 767 was 1981, 757 and A310 were both 1982, A300-600 was 1983, and
the 747-400 was 1988.  First delivery was the following year in each

With regard to crashes, I came up with the following:

    757		none

    767		5/26/91 Lauda Air 767-3Z9(ER) OE-LAV crashed 20
			minutes after departure from Bangkok after
			an in-flight deployment of the thrust re-
			verser on one engine.

    A310	7/29/92	Thai A310-304 HS-TID crashed into a ridge
			on approach to Kathmandu after reporting
			some problem had been resolved.

    A300-600	none

    747-400	none

Note that the A300-600 is a substantially different aircraft than the
earlier A300 models.  In particular, the critical area for the purposes
of this discussion is the flight deck.  The A300-600 shares the same
modern glass cockpit as the A310, whereas the older A300 models had an
older "lots of gauges" cockpit.

Looking further at the crashes of the A320's peers, neither exhibits
the "pilot error" problems claimed for all three A320 crashes.  The
Lauda 767 was, I believe, ultimately blamed on inadequate redundancy
in the thrust reverser mechanisms on the PW4000 tied to an inability
of large twins to survive an in-flight thrust reverser deployment on
only one side.  I'm not sure a final cause has been assigned to the
Thai A310 crash though what I recall hearing seemed to be suggesting
pilot error.  However, this was under difficult conditions at a poorly
equiped airport that is *very* difficult to land at -- nothing at all
like the circumstances of the three A320 crashes.  The question then
remains: why have three A320s crashed, allegedly due to pilot error,
when none of its technological peers have crashed except for reasons
unrelated to the pilot interface?  The spate of early 727 crashes due
to pilot error doesn't appear to be comparable.

For the record, I could find two of the older A300s that had crashed:

    A300	10/7/80	Malaysian A00B2-120 OY-KAA (leased from
			SAS) crashed while attempting to land in
			heavy rain at Kuala Lumpur.

		9/28/92	PIA A300B4-203 AP-BCP crashed 8 miles short
			of runway on approach to Kathmandu.

In addition, Iran Air A300B2-203 EP-IBU was shot down 7/3/88 by the US
Navy over the Persian Gulf, and several other older A300s were destroyed
on the ground in the Middle East.

Karl Swartz	|INet		
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