Re: ATR-72's and Airbuses

From:         rdd@netcom.com (Robert Dorsett)
Organization: Netcom Online Communications Services (408-241-9760 login: guest)
Date:         21 Oct 96 13:31:38 
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Various responses, since I've actually read the book.  I hope that doesn't
disqualify me from taking place in this discussion.

In article <airliners.1996.2149@ohare.Chicago.COM> mikem727@aol.com (MikeM727) writes:
>
>>I just finished reading Stephen Frederick's "Unheeded Warning: the inside
>>story of American Eagle Flight 4184," and was wondering if the French
>
>Also, I would not hesitate to set foot back in an ATR today.  The boots
>were extended further back on the wing, which should solve the problem.  A
>little too late, however, for the folks who died in Roselawn.

Frederick does not believe the lengthening of the boots is adequate.  He
makes some specific technical points.


>Also, Frederick may not be exactly an objective source.  He definitely has
>some axes to grind.

Pretty much because the airplane tried to kill him, and did kill some of
his colleagues.  I'd have a big axe to grind, too. :-)


s_odle@earthlink.net (Scott Odle) wrote:

>Basing you decision on a book is very shortsighted.

Yeah, all it indicates is that someone did their homework and went through
a careful reasoning process.  Can't have that.  Better to get it off the
cartoonish reality of the 6 o'clock news.  Ah, a patch was developed.  That's
the end of that!  No need for additional oversight.


>Would it not be better to
>find out what has been done to ensure the safety of the ATRs instead of jumping
>to conclusions?

IMHO, the troubling thing about the book has nothing to do with the ATR-72.
It has to do *with* ATR, the consortium.  Frederick makes some disturbing
allegations as to ATR's reluctance to fix the problem, denying that a problem
existed (even after a crash in Italy), exerting pressure against the
Americans (influencing the French to threaten certificate action against
the 737 for the two unexplained crashes), and, most especially, threatening
LEGAL action against any critics.

The latter, in particular, is interesting to me, because it is a tactic which
Airbus has recently started using (VERY aggressively) against critics in
Europe (not to mention that childish tiff with Boeing on the A340 cruise
figures).  Respected media sources are increasingly afraid to speak up.
Nobody has the legal budget to fight a consortium with the backing of
governments which have identified its interests as their interests.

In Frederick's eyes, of course, the FAA is not without blame, either, for
sitting on its hands while all this was going on.

In fact, if there's a Blue Sky theme to drag out of this book, it has nothing
to do with the ATR: it's more the failing of oversight responsibilities of
the US government.  Companies will do what companies will do: it's up to
the government to protect the traveling public.  The processes used to do
so (so Frederick claimed) failed.


Jean-Francois Bosc <bosc@perige.eis.enac.dgac.fr> writes:
>Once again probably some totally independant and unbiased point of view. If I
>had to choose in which type of aircraft not to set foot, I would probably be
>more worried by the amazing number of Boeing crashes during the last few years,
>which were generally caused by technical failures, or remain unexplained ...

Perhaps that's just a tad more honest than blaming every crash on "pilot
error" and washing hands of any further need for investigation.


Lastly: I would  suggest that any Euronationalist apologist who is tempted
to respond to this or any other post on the book just read the thing.  It's
a remarkable piece of work, not least in the fact that it got
published.  The publishing industry's very cautious these days.  The author
must have done an awesome sales job  on the publisher's legal department
to get it out there.

As a work, the book has the usual human-interest fluff which is typical
of works of this type.  The technical arguments are better-formed than
usual.  And the political observations are not unique: they've all been
made before.  It's a fast read.

Beyond that, I'll say nothing, except to note with amusement the knee-
jerk responses.


--
Robert Dorsett                         Moderator, sci.aeronautics.simulation
rdd@netcom.com                         aero-simulation@wilbur.pr.erau.edu
                                       ftp://wilbur.pr.erau.edu/pub/av