Re: A brief commentary

From:         Pete Mellor <pm@csr.city.ac.uk>
Date:         14 Jul 96 22:43:24 
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Michael Bain <meb4593@webevt01.ca.boeing.com> wrote
on Wed Jul 10 20:58:25 1996:-

> The cabin interior and entertainment systems are purchased by the
> airline separately.  Entertainment systems can be installed after
> delivery, and often are.

This statement surprises me. I am not familiar with the A340 entertainment
systems, but just about everything on the A3xx family is computer
controlled and integrated into the on-board network. On the B777, my
understanding is that the in-flight entertainment systems are totally
integrated into the computer network, and their design (not to mention
ensuring that a failure in the entertainment software could not propagate
to affect a more critical system) consumed quite a lot of Boeing's
effort.

> Unfortunately the passenger's opinion on an airplane is based on their
> experience in the cabin, over which an airframe manufacturer has
> little control.

Well, as Bob Newhart (sp? - the "Button-Down Mind" man) said in his
famous sketch on air travel: "You sit in your seat on the runway, and
you comfort yourself with the thought that every little piece of this
wonderful machine is a miracle of modern engineering. Then the ashtray
falls off ... "

>From the TV series "21st Century Jet", I gather that Boeing gave one
heck of a lot of thought to cabin design, from the overhead space, to the
leg-room, to the entertainment system. Certainly, nice points of cabin
design feature very strongly in the promotional literature. Boeing are
not only responsible for it, they're proud of it.

This is not affected by the fact that the cabin is highly reconfigurable
to operators' requirements (in itself one of the design points), nor by
the fact that bits were subcontracted out. You wouldn't claim that Boeing
were not responsible for the B777 flight control system just because
they outsourced its software to GEC in Rochester.

Peter Mellor, Centre for Software Reliability, City University, Northampton
Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK. Tel: +44 (171) 477-8422, Fax: +44 (171) 477-8585
E-mail: p.mellor@csr.city.ac.uk
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