Re: Airbus Safety

Date:         13 Oct 98 02:48:13 
From:         JF Mezei <>
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Karl Swartz wrote:
> 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.

Pilotics aside, would you agree that the DC10 (for as much as I don't
love its interior) is now a pretty safe plane to fly ? Operators know
its faults and work around them.

> 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.

There have been MANY changes. An article in Science & Vie, April 1970
details some of the software changes (new versions) which were
introduced to remove some of the most visible software glitches of the
first batch of 320 delivered to AF. There were several "modification
campaigns" which started in early 1989. These continued until the end of
1989, 18 months after the 320 was first commercially used. This is why
I consider the first 18 months of service "debugging" of a "beta"

> 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
> vulnerable.
> 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.

Airbus' 320 introduced to the commercial aviation world a totally new
concept of quality control: SOFTWARE. This is something which the FAA
failed to realise early on (hence the 320's getting its certification
before it should have) because the FAA had not had to deal with this