Re: FLY-BY-WIRE (AIRBUS vs. BOEING)

From:         josjg@euronet.nl (Jos_Gielen)
Organization: Euronet Internet
Date:         15 Jun 95 14:25:27 
References:   1 2 3
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bosc@perige.eis.enac.dgac.fr (Jean-Francois Bosc) wrote:

>I didn't say that we are ready to suppress pilots right now.

Nice choice of words!!
What is the objective here? Suppress pilots?
We are talking aviation safety here, aren't we? There are enough
people in this world in the suppressing business already, I should
think.

>There will still be unpredicted cases, and they will for sure
>cause losses. But at some point it will become safer to accept
>these losses than pilot induced losses.

What are the citeria used to determine this point with. It can't be
prediction, since were are talking about "unpredicted cases".
Will it be trial and error, with the travelling public as guinea pigs?

You must remember that flying is done in a extremely complex and ever
changing environment. A great number of  pilots decisions relate to
these ever changing circumstances. Routine decisions can be captured
in algoritms, the unpredicted cases can, by nature, not be captured in
algoritms.

>I think the main point is that systems are careful 60 seconds
>per minute and 24 hours a day. And software reliability is
>increasing, and will keep increasing.

Despite significant developments in the flight guidance and software
field the last 15 years, aviation safety hasn't improved significantly
during this same period. Software and automated systems have great
trouble keeping up with increasing complexity and commercial demands
in the airline industry. I have to agree that without these systems,
aviation would be a lot less unsafe, given these decreased margins.

>One of the consequences of automation is that at some point
>humans loose their knowledge of "what's going on", and therefore
>become useless. Even if something goes wrong, they won't have
>the ability to react correctly.

That is unfortunately the way Airbus is going. Automation without
keeping the pilot in the loop by improving the man-machine interface.
A dangerous combination, and a basic flaw in Airbus philosofy.

You do not eliminate human error by taking the pilot completely out of
the loop as you suggest. You simply institutionalize human error by
building fully automated airplanes. The human designer can err as well
as a pilot. There are numerous examples of faulty designs to prove
this.
Unless you are able to build, by some miracle, an airplane completely
without the interference of *any* human being you are able to
eliminate human error.

Jos