Re: safety

Date:         04 Jan 97 03:55:49 
From: (Arch McKinlay, VI)
Organization: McKinlay & Associates
References:   1 2 3
Followups:    1
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In article <airliners.1996.3050@ohare.Chicago.COM>, (Gerard Foley) wrote:

> Kian-Tat Lim ( wrote:
> : In article <>,
> : Andrew Weir  <100637.616@CompuServe.COM> wrote:
> : >It seems to me, [...] that if the accident rate is to continue to fall,
> : >aviation regulators [...] may have to insist on all those myriad
> : >recommendations made by investigators over the years that have not been
> : >acted upon, e.g.  rear-facing seats, full cargo hold fire detection,
> : >smoke hoods, cabin and/or cargo hold fire suppression systems,
> : >greater impact friendliness of the airframe, and much more efficient
> : >incident reporting.
> :       Most of the suggestions made above, though undoubtedly made by
> : safety authorities, have more to do with *survivability* in the event
> : of a crash than *crash prevention*.
>    Promotion of survivability reminds passengers that accidents happen.
> The more obtrusive the survival equipment, the less likely it is that
> anyone will let it got aboard a commercial aircraft.

Conversely, the suggestion all involve a weight penalty and liability in
maintenance of the survival equipment.

rear-facing seats:
some trains and some camping vans have them. US Navy cargo planes use them
off aircraft carriers fro obvious reasons (I watched a colorful
off-the-cat ditch of a C-2 where it immediately flipped over, the rear
doors blew open and the crew chief popped out within seconds and he began
then yanking passengers out by their collars. They all got out with nary a
neck injury.)  I've loved them ever since. Only Southwest airlines 737
have rear facers nowadays.

full-cargo hold fire detection:
As long as each carrier has different containerized systems, or none at
all, there will not be a standard fire sdetection system which can
reliably detect all sorts of fires in all sorts of bays. Some are
line-of-sight, some cannot be located in areas and detect all fumes due to
blockage.  Full coverage would require multiple systems, multiple
attachments variable by load, and require strict loading methods and
equipment.  A basic question is also unanswered, what is the miniumum
<fire> and time-to-detect?

smoke hoods:
Personal survival equipment is difficult to maintain, difficulkt for the
average person to figure out, susceptible to maintenance problems and
especially vandalism. All of which raises significant liability issues.

fire suppression systems:
Wait for halon replacement....
Same arguments as for fire detection systems above.

impact-friendly airframes:
FAA/CAA/ICAO etc. all have crash-worthiness requirements. Look at military
systems and space systems. Aerospace is a unique play between weight and
gravity. Higher impact survival means higher weight and less payload, if
any. The Japanese Zero fighter of WW2 gained a large performance margin by
not including armor and thus beat many US fighters in the beginning of the
war. Then the Grumman Iron Works fighters and engine and aero improvements
ate away at the p[erformance margin and the US armor allowed more mistakes
than the Japanese armorless versions. For most accidents occurring in
landing or takeoff, I recommend Sit over the wing box, you'll have less
view, but there isn't a bigger chunk of material to strap your seat
to....sit backwards if possible....

incident reporting:
The military has the best system because there is one part in which the
sanitized version is hangar-flown by others (discussed and analyzed for
errors and really effective ways to avoid, or if necessary counteract, the
event) and thus the same mistkaes avoided. Also the initial reporting is
better because there is no/little reprisal and it is not releasable to the
lovely lawyers at the door.  Fix the organizational attitudes and the
legal issue and you'll get a better system.