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Old 8th Sep 2011, 16:56
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: North America
Age: 59
Posts: 364
Spot on

It's all about ergonomics on the 737: look at the B-hydraulic vs engine anti-ice switches..... Time for a panel redesign.

I have been on the NG for several years now, I like the jet and it does many things well. However the ergonomics and flight deck design disappoint me terribly. For example, on the flight control panel the heading, altitude and airspeed knobs all feel virtually the same. Now I do not have an engineering or human factors undergraduate or advanced degree(s), but why in the world would the experienced aeronautical engineers with the resources and experience that Boeing has overlook this obvious design weakness?

On the MD-80 (McDonald Douglas product) when one reached for the heading knob there was a distinctive feel associated with the knob because each heavily used input knob had enough of a distinguishing structural design to communicate identification information through touch alone. For example, if I were looking out the side window scanning for traffic and simultaneously reached for the heading knob to comply with ATC’s turning instruction, and if in error, I grabbed the altitude setting knob I would get an immediate “wrong action” feedback through my fingers. Granted this touch based knowledge had to be gained through time on the jet, but it developed rather quickly (in my opinion).

To my disappointment this is not so on Boeing’s NG product; the airspeed, heading and altitude knobs on the flight guidance panel all look similar and, more importantly, are virtually indistinguishable from one another using touch alone. Bad design, really bad design especially coming from a company that has been producing aircraft as long as Boeing has.

As far as getting a design makeover, needed - I agree completely, but doubt it will ever happen. The aircraft was certified as it operates today, to totally redesign the flight deck instrumentation and positioning would require the jet to go through the regulatory recertification process. Boeing isn’t going to voluntarily pay for that. They have enough going on trying to get their new baby, 787, out of the production storage facility and operational.

More on topic I suspect positioning of the flight deck door opening switch is left up to the individual company as “ours” are not anywhere near the rudder or aileron trim switches. People are going to make mistakes, this time the jet fell out of the sky, and fortunately it was recovered. I suspect that pilot will not make the same mistake ever again-one would hope so.

Why would anyone want to bring the A versus B argument to a thread that applies to ALL machines?

Some people must exercise their demons; whether they suffer the lasting effects of perceived or very real insults, inferiority complexes, need to establish their own superiority by putting others in their place or driven by a strong sense of national or regional pride. In those cases every accident thread, and many other threads become a place for them to make the same A versus B arguments. Emotionally they seem to have a need to be on the, and identify with the "winning side" and vindicate themselves as if they personally were responsible for the favorable outcome. I find them tedious reading and tend to skip over the comment(s). When the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem becomes a nail. So one reads the same dribble over and over again.

I believe Airbus has been winning the larger number of future sales and delivering more jets for several years now. And the A380 seems to be popular. The “marketplace” has spoken. Personally I think the competition is good for the industry as it drives innovation and productivity. Look over our collective shoulders and we will see that the Chinese are working hard on developing their own aerospace design and manufacturing industry. A, B and now C .........

No insult intended to the Canadians, Brazilians, Russians, the Spanish or others by not previously mentioning them. They make fine airplanes that compete successfully in the global marketplace.

Last edited by Northbeach; 8th Sep 2011 at 18:01.
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