Re: ETOPS

From:         cp@panix.com (Charles Platt)
Organization: PANIX Public Access Internet and UNIX, NYC
Date:         21 Oct 96 02:51:37 
References:   1 2 3 4
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I am very willing to believe in ETOPS safety, but only on the basis of
sound logical arguments. Some of the arguments here seem unsound to me.

C. Marin Faure (faurecm@halcyon.com) wrote:

> The original question was is an ETOPS flight riskier than a flight on a
> three or four engine airplane?  The answer is still no, because whatever
> additional risk there may have been because of the fact there are only two
> engines has been eliminated by the reliability of today's equipment, the
> extra redundancy of the ETOPS systems, and the stricter maintnenance
> standards for an ETOPS airline.

Are you saying that even if there is an increased ETOPS risk, it has been
cancelled out by other safety improvements? Does this mean that if we kept
the improvements and abandoned ETOPS, we'd be even safer?

> The performance is pretty impressive.  If a three or four engine airplane
> loses one engine during takeoff, it has to be able to safely continue the
> takeoff.  Same rule.  But if a four engine airplane loses TWO engines on
> takeoff, it's in DEEP trouble.

I was told by a 747 captain that he could continue a takeoff on two
engines. But even if this is untrue, if an ETOPS plane loses two engines
on takeoff, it's in MUCH DEEPER trouble, wouldn't you say?

> And if the three engine airplane loses two
> engine during takeoff, it's all over.

Indeed. But an ETOPS plane doesn't have three engines to lose. Your point?

> seen the current data on the numbers of in-flight shutdowns of today's
> high-bypass fanjets on all airplanes regardless of the number of engines,
> and believe me, it's a tiny number), that they're almost not a factor in
> airplane reliability anymore.

Can you tell us how tiny the number is? I would be very interested. And
when you say they're "almost" not a factor, doesn't this mean that they
ARE, actually, a factor to some small degree?

These are not flippant points. I have a genuinely open mind here. But I
don't find your arguments reassuring.