Re: Airbus Safety

Date:         12 Oct 98 00:02:24 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
References:   1 2 3 4
Followups:    1 2 3 4
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

>Once an aircraft has been debugged and stops falling out of the sky,
>should it still be considered unsafe ?

Only if it has in fact been "debugged."  You mention the DC-10 --
McDonnell Douglas refused to ackowledge that there were any problems
with the cargo door until the Windsor incident, and even then they
dragged their feet.  The vulnerability of the DC-10's hydraulic system
still hasn't been fully acknowledged, though the cutoff valve installed
in the DC-10 (and MD-11) after UA 232 crashed in Sioux City helps a bit.

Airbus has similarly been loath to acknowledge any problems with the
A320.  As far as I know, the only changes that have come out of any of
the A320 crashes came from LH 2904, the Warsaw landing overrun, and I'm
not sure Airbus actually acknowledged real problems even in that case.

>Airbus certaintly suffered a lot because it released a plane without
>adequate testing and debugging. Boeing learned from this and made sure
>quality control was top priority when it released the 777 ...

Quality control has little to do with it.  The DC-10 cargo door could
have been built with the utmost of quality, but the design itself was
still crap and the highest quality implementation of it would still be

I'm not aware of any Airbus crashes in which manufacturing quality has
been an issue. If anything, Airbus has done a better job of consistently
producing aircraft with minimal manufacturing problems than has Boeing.

Karl Swartz	|Home
"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
  - Andrew A. Rooney