Monday, March 19, 2007

Airbus now able to kill passengers in record numbers

The Airbus A-380: Able to kill in one crash the number of people it takes lesser aircraft four crashes to kill!

As a frequent business traveler, I try to pay attention to what goes on in the aviation industry. When a major aircraft manufacturer starts delivering a new airplane to the carriers, it's a pretty major event, even if that airplane isn't of the same mammoth scale as the new Airbus A-380.

The A-380 seats something like 550 people. The current leader in seats is the Boeing 747, which at less than 400, doesn't come close. Most of the larger passenger liners, such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A-340 have less than half the capacity of the A-380.

I'm not a great fan of Airbus products. Oh, sure...for the passenger they're nicely appointed, comfortable, etc. But there's a bit of a spotty record with Airbus products.

First, there was the mishap at an airshow in France in 1988 in which the first digital fly-by-wire A-320 descended into the trees during a low altitude, low speed fly-by. There are rumors that the control system decided the airplane was in landing profile and proceeded to land in the trees despite the pilot trying to convince it otherwise. The frightening result can be viewed here. After viewing that video, you'll be astonished to know that only three of the 136 people aboard died.

Then there's American Airlines flight 587. This Airbus A-300 departed New York's JFK airport minutes after a Japan Airlines 747. In the wake turbulence, the Airbus started to yaw and the cockpit crew tried to correct with some hard rudder input. The result of this heavy rudder input was the separation of the rudder along with the vertical stabilizer from the rest of the aircraft. All 260 of the passengers and crew on board, plus five on the ground, were killed. And what was the finding from Airbus? Pilot error. Excessive rudder input.

I wonder what kind of wake turbulence an A-380 will produce. There'll probably be a 15 minute wait period for smaller aircraft to depart behind one of these behemoths.

I fly a lot. My carrier of choice is Delta, not because they're all that, but because they fly no Airbus products. I'm hoping they'll stay that way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

American only has a handful of Airbus planes. I think they have to keep them to keep Boeing legit.