View Full Version : Boeing Or Airbus...Pilot's Point Of View

Coconut Airways
4th Apr 2002, 12:44
Well hi everyone. I'm a pretty new user to all this so I'm giving it a try. I'm sure I'll get alot of feedback from you guys since you all will probably have alot to share.
Something that has always puzzled me was what would I rather be flying? A boeing jet or an airbus? I know when it comes to economics they all seem to be saying airbus at the moment. When it comes to passenger comfort they all seem to be saying airbus. When an arline decides to buy a new aircraft the last thing they want to know is whether the pilot enjoy's flying the aircraft. I totally understand that. I want to hear from you guys what you feel about the two. To me from what I've heard is that airbus is all automated but it seems to take away the flying and make us more like systems managers. Whereas boeing with all it's automation still keeps the conventional spirit of flying. What do you lads have to offer on this point?:D

4th Apr 2002, 13:24
Hopefully the smart drivers will ignore this poll as they know the trouble it'll cause. But my money's with Airbus! :)

Coconut Airways
4th Apr 2002, 13:30
well i'm disappointed in your reply..I don't intend for people to start fighting like kids..we're all grown ups here..all I want is feedback..common we all talk about it anywya.

4th Apr 2002, 15:01
Don't mean to put you off Coconut, but this issue has been debated extensively earlier, and tends to get very emotional.....

My humble opinion is that the Airbus Philosophy is better, but still has room for improvement........

4th Apr 2002, 16:17
Here we go..
I think you just might have pried the lid off Pandoras Box..

4th Apr 2002, 16:22
Yer airbus folks are all Nintendo playing tossers..
I prefer an aircraft, not bloody Dinky Toys!!

4th Apr 2002, 16:37

4th Apr 2002, 16:57
How do you recon that statement is communistic?

4th Apr 2002, 18:40


:D :D :D :D :D :D

Willit Run
4th Apr 2002, 19:40
This topic is just as volitile as the gun issue is. It flat wears me out reading this stuff!!!!

Knock your self out though!!!

4th Apr 2002, 19:52
Oh no no no! Again and again? :(

4th Apr 2002, 22:49
DEATH TO THE 737-200! ;) I think a Boeing engineer was sitting in an Airbus jumpseat, heard the RETARD callout and thought... "Hmmm... why not?"

4th Apr 2002, 23:16
For the uninitiated, it's easy to explain if you have some knowledge of computers.
If Microsoft built aeroplanes, they'd be an Airbus.
If Unix built aeroplanes, they'd be Boeings.

5th Apr 2002, 00:07
Now 18, that's a bit of an insult to Unix... they aren't THAT bad... think more along the lines of Commodore 64 and you'd be closer to the mark!

5th Apr 2002, 04:59
I am so disgusted, I am going to move this to Jetblast!

Done to death, nothing to do with Tech issues etc etc.

(I am B733 endorsed, but would fly airbus ovcer a 73 anyday :D )

5th Apr 2002, 08:38
So there you have it in a nutshell. The answer lies before you???

I have only flown one of the choices, and have a son who has only flown the other. We both seem reasonably happy with the means. It seems to me that if it's got wings and gets us into the air it cannot be all bad. That fact alone seems to be the most important issue. How else are we 'to slip the surly bonds....'

I saw something the other day in JB, rather surprisngly attributed to Leonardo de V, that basically said that those who have flown are only down here on earth thinking about when they can next go up, a fact that I heartily concur with. What I use to get there is really rather secondary to getting there.

5th Apr 2002, 08:42
How can anyone have an informed opinion without having flown both types?:confused: :confused: :confused:

5th Apr 2002, 09:02
Rover you seem a harmless type, allow me to explain.

The first part of my post was Irony/sacasm. ie in all the previous posts there had been few opinions expressed. In fact, despite all the guff about duels to the death, nearly everybody had seemed pretty ambivalent, with the exception of the one violent and abusive comment 'communist'!!! ( some people would even regard that as a compliment).

My comments that followed, I had been careful to preface with the qualification that I was unable to comment either way, but that I did venture the opinion that as long as the pilot fraternity/sorority got their fix it mattered not how!

I would love to fly an 'bus and have sat in a jumpseat in one often enough to observe it behaves pretty much like any other airliner. Types of aircraft I guess are pretty much like women, got their good points and their bad points, but one way or the other we can't seem to do without em.:) :)

5th Apr 2002, 09:25
Rover, As someone who is rated on both types, allow me to explain:

Boeing: Overpowered, real flying, archaic.

Airbus: What I want to go to work in on a long dark nasty night (If I have to go to work on a Long Dark Nasty Night).

;) ;) ;)

5th Apr 2002, 09:47

Fix me a rating on the Airbus, then I will tell you the difference. Don`t mind comparing a/c at all.
I love flying Boeing 737 (classic and NG) except for ONE thing.
The NG is very noisy in the cockpit and it is incredible that Boeing couldn`t do better in an a/c produced after 2K!

I bet the Airbus is better in that respect.

I used to fly Dassault Falcons, and I must say I admire the french for building such fantastic a/c.


5th Apr 2002, 09:59
The Airbus a/c may be better (e.g. when trying to establish a temperature somewhere inbetween "freezer" and "sauna") - but the avionics ventilation system, especially on ground, gives you hell sometimes...

5th Apr 2002, 14:52
I personally like the airbus philosophy..keep all the cockpits as uniform as you can and transitioning between types will be easier for the pilot and the airline..I`d have thought that`d mkde everyone happy,and it just seems to make sense..

Still..Boeing still have some amazing airliners in the pipeline (747ER,777LR/ER,Sonic Cruiser)
personally as long as it gets me from A to B i`m not bothered.

5th Apr 2002, 15:20
It is very nice to read the positive posts from airbus drivers, about how much they enjoy flying there airbus wiz jets. Is this why they fly them so slowly, to get the most and longest enjoyment per sector?

5th Apr 2002, 15:22
please dont patronise me. I am a pilot and engineer so dont require to be spoken down too.
My particular aircraft is the BAe146/RJ so I think I know a little about the subject. I still say how can anyone make an informed opinion without flying both types. It would be like me saying the Avro RJ is better than the Fokker 100 or the Canadair RJ. I cant pass an opinion having never flown either type. I am biased towards the types I have flown and thats because I like or am familiar with them.
Beacon outbound
I think you are probably the one I would listen to in all this arguement at least you have flown both types.

5th Apr 2002, 16:02
If it ain't boeing....it ain't going!
And the bus is simply pus!:) :

5th Apr 2002, 21:45
Rover forgive me, I thought your rather patronising comment just after my post was aimed at me. how foolish of me, even touchy one might say. Now that I know that you are both a pilot! and an engineer!! and fly a 146!!! I can content myself that as a pilot an engineer and having flown a Boeing I am perhaps the tiniest bit ahead in the strugle for high ground. :rolleyes:

Seriously though, if I was patronising please accept my appology. I do indeed concur that there is no way I could possibly have compared the two, though did feel that I was not entirely disqualified from simply commenting that most of us are simply grateful for the means to get up there. A comment that indeed as you have pointed out had little to do with the subject.

5th Apr 2002, 22:10
Flat Spin, I wasn't referring to Boeing being remotely agricultural, rather that the aviation industry in general is largely due to the Boeing aircraft.
They're dependable, do the job well, and have made many, many airlines get off to a good start.
The 'other' brand, however, do some things that I regard as utterly insane, such as the unconnected joysticks ...
They have some minor cost advantages, but I would never even think of buying one to use.

5th Apr 2002, 23:11
18 W,

You make Boeing sound like Massey Fergusson.

I don`t want to go to work tomorrow!:mad:

6th Apr 2002, 00:41
Have Airbus synthesized Stephen Hawkings voice to call the pilot a retard during landing?

Ok so he is a genius, but it's a bit mean to call everyone else a retard!

And they call the autopilot disconnect sound the "Cavalry Charge". Do they mean the French Cavalry?

On the Boeing, is Mr "TCAS test OK" man, the voice over man in the previews on action videos? (The one who smokes 40 Marlboros a day)

No, don't touch the EGPWS test switch again...........here we go again...........WINDSHEAR, WINDSHEAR, PULL UP................

And I thought Budgie the helicopter was the only talking aircraft.

Mad Dog Driver
6th Apr 2002, 11:17
Now how about a real aircraft.....like a three-holer !!! :D :cool: :D

6th Apr 2002, 15:01
3-holers? Someone once commented that they look like flying toilets. :p

Ignition Override
7th Apr 2002, 05:41
I've never trained on any Airbus, but as for using the FMC to "fly" a plane, so to speak, I was a 757 FO for over three years.

Do pilots prefer flying the older planes or managing modes etc on the newer types? I enjoyed going from an FMC cockpit back to the type where the pilot is a pilot. It might not last too many more years and I will miss the older technology.

While leaving the main topic, how many pilots on later types can completely disconnect the 'magic' and safely fly the basic plane while tuning/flying VOR radials and moving throttles while figuring when to descend for the crossong restriction/airspeed??

One theory about the Airbus' high level of automation (i.e. fly-by-wire) is that the ships were designed to be sold to the numerous airlines which have many pilots with very modest levels of experience, in order to help compensate.

7th Apr 2002, 07:33
I'd rather fly a 146 than a 737 as well (yes, I am endorsed on both), so perhaps my liking for Airbus over Boeing, is simply a dislike for the 73? :D

(P.S. All comments assume the same pay level!)

8th Apr 2002, 02:20
Only flown B-727s, B-737s, B-747s, B-757s, B-767s, DC-3s, DC-8s.

Never flown a French aircraft. Don't know much about 'em.

Guess I am lucky...:D

8th Apr 2002, 07:20
Personally I'm a Boeing man. I like the 330 but find the 744 and 777 cockpits more user friendly, particularly the overhead panel.
I think Boeing spent a lot of time turning the classic cockpit into the two crew 400 cockpit, but having all FBW Airbuses with virtually the same cockpits is also a great advantage.
The 777 for example has 100 buttons on the overhead panel vs. over 150 for the 330 and less than 150 for the -400. Now I'm not saying the number of buttons/switches classes the quality of the A/C, but the layout does go a long way. Simple things like numbering 1,2,3 from left to right for example rather than the 330's IRSs 1,3,2 layout.
As said they both have their pros and cons and the difference is probably which modern "fully glass" A/C you first flew.
A 777 with a sidestick would be a very nice A/C.

8th Apr 2002, 09:43
Airbus a french aircraft. I dont think so. Some types assembled in Toulouse some in Hamburg. Wings made and designed in Britain. Other parts made in Spain and Italy. I think the consortium who own Airbus would object strongly that the aircraft is seen as French manufacture. The split is approx 30% each France and Germany( Aerospatiale and Deutche Airbus)20% Great Britain (BAE Systems) Italy 10%(Alenia) Spain 10% (CASA) So you see you should have said a European aircraft.

8th Apr 2002, 13:02

You mentioned Airbus, I didn't.

Parts of Boeings are built in Japan and other places, it is still an American made aircraft.

As far as I am concerned, Airbus is a frog plane...:D

8th Apr 2002, 13:30
Quak quak quak.:D

Coconut Airways
8th Apr 2002, 14:53
well guys, from what i've heard and seen, i'd rather fly a boeing a/c. No politics just seems more pilot orientated. Airbus is more Bill gates orientated.
Thanks for your feedback.

KEEP THOSE WINGS LEVEL...............!!!!!!!:cool:

Coconut Airways
8th Apr 2002, 14:56


8th Apr 2002, 19:49
this is extremely silly and not pprune worthy.:rolleyes:

hvy 18 wheeler
10th Apr 2002, 06:29
Most people would be honest in telling you that they would gladly fly the oldest piece of sh!t in northern khazakstan with yak p!$s for fuel just to get their bum into one of these types. I have been flying a 744 for a while now and i can say that although it is an older type it is built like a brick sh#t house. Sure the cockpit is sorta nailed onto that of the 747-300 and yeah the winglets are sorta glued onto the old wing but look at how many operators around the world are still flying them. I know we use twice as much fuel as the busses but hey I have been stuck behind and below a bus which i can tell you is the wrong place to be when you need a higher level for long range performance reasons. The 340-300 cruises between M.79 and M.82 if its lucky and we cruise between M.82 and M.86 ( at cost index 80-250 ). We actually climb at VMO sometimes coz we are so heavey that i swear we would fall out of the sky if we were to fly any slower, when we hit turbulence we seem to maintain a stable passenger ride, and we definatley dont need to switch the a/c packs off for takeoff ( except Johannesburg in summer), good luck to anything trying to leave there at 394 tonnes in summer without redlining all 4 engines on rotate. However my senior collegues have decided to retrain me to the A330-300 and the CCQ ( for those on bus you may know what this is) to the 340-300 and when we take delivery in september the 340-600. So now i get to spill my coffee in my lap whenever i hit light to moderate turb. I get a dining table in front of me instead of a control yoke, the only manual reversion i can control will the stab ( limited) and the rudder trim, but het the 340-600 has it all removed. I still will take off with packs off even though i will have trent 600 under the wings, but het my new plane will be made of composite plastic, and it can be returned for a new one every 5 yrs or so for a fresh plane ( just like Daewoo does with their plastic cars). I am actually looking forward to flying the bus, but i use that term loosely, it has alpha floor prtection to not allow you to stall it has auto throttle , yet the thrust lever never move, so basically it has no tactile response, which will make my job harder now trying to figure out what the hell the plane is doing. But hey i have lots to look forward to, now i will get to fly polar 1 hkg-jfk non stop, where the only ERA's have no facilities to offload the pax?
Go figure:cool:

Coconut Airways
11th Apr 2002, 14:50
Thank You Hvy 18 wheeler thats exactly the kind of response I wanted to hear. Unlike some other emotional, childish people who have got the wrong idea of my post.

Thanks again you have really encouraged me to keep on posting being very new to the PPPRUNE

11th Apr 2002, 17:57
18 wheels:

wait,watch and learn.if you are new to the concept you have got a real thrill coming to you. enjoy.....:p

14th Apr 2002, 20:37
Airbus vs Boeing debates almost always result in hostile arguments.

Boeing and Airbus have different design ideologies.

I am probably more slanted towards Boeing. I've worked on 727's since '85 when I was hired for UAL, all the way until the end of August '01. I've been a 727 captain since '89 (12-year command time on 727's). All I can say is I loved that plane. I would have kept flying it providing they didn't retire them. I now fly the 757/767 Category.

The 757/767's have a decent degree of automation on them. The A-320 does go a bit farther however.

To be honest, people complain most about FBW. Fly-by-Wire is not really the biggest deal. FBW simply means that there are no mechanical linkages that connect to the control column and rudder pedals in the cockpit. The linkages are instead replaced with wires. Hence the name "fly-by-WIRE". The 757's and 767's have FBW technology on them. Most don't know that (spoilers), but it is true.

With a FBW plane, when you pull back on the control-column, it signals a command to the actuators which tell the elevators to deflect up. Logically a greater pull on the stick will signal a greater amount of elevator. Turn the column to the left, and it signals the left aileron to deflect up, and the right one to deflect down.

FBW does have it's problems in the fact that electrical problems can occur. Aircraft with fly-by-wire technology tend to have a great deal of electrical redundancy to compensate for this. The possibility still exists.

FBW doesn't even have to have digital computers involved. Just analog technology works just fine. The CF-105 Arrow used Analogue computers. It had full FBW too. It of course had a conventional mechanical back-up too. Both Airbus and Boeing FBW however, use Digital FBW.

The thing that Irks Boeing fans is called Performance-Envelope Protection. This is a feature which is used to keep the plane within its performance envelope (stall protection, overbank, and overspeed protection etc.). There are two types of performance envelope protection. Hard and Soft Limitation

Hard Limits: These are pre-programmed limitations which are not overrideable by the pilot. The Airbus design uses this philosophy. No matter how much the pilot tugs on his stick (no pun intended :D) the plane cannot be pitched up beyond 30 degrees pitch, or banked beyond 67.5 degrees. Maximum vertical acceleration (g-force) is limited to 2.5 G's (physically the A-320 could pull 4 or so G's). To my knowledge, I think the computer will prevent descents in excess of 9,000 fpm. This as a rule can be much safer. It however may present a problem when dealing with unusual or special circumstances that require maximum capabilities of the aircraft.

Soft Limits: These are pre-programmed limitations which can be overridden by the pilot. The 777 uses this philosophy. When the computer senses that it's limits are about to be exceeded, it could sound a warning, or apply more resistance on the control-column. The 777 has a maximum bank angle of 35 degrees. When this is exceeded, the computer will automatically attempt to counter this with a 30-degree opposite bank and sound a warning which can only be shut-up by reducing the bank angle to 35 degrees or less. Soft-limits rely on pilot competence, not incompetence. Hard-limits tend to assume incompetence of the pilots. Considering that most pilots have years, and thousands of hours of experience (I have over 15,000 and about 17 years experience with UAL), I would of course rely on competence.

Many pilots (myself included) feel that they should have full control over their aircraft, and that their commands should not be interrogated by a committee of computers.

Additionally is control-interface.

The A-320 is a very radical design. It doesn't have a conventional yoke, but a sidestick instead. It's like a joystick and it's placed on the side of the cockpit (left on the Capt's side and right on the F/O's side). While people would wonder "how would you get used to that?" I could easily answer, because when I fly (with a yoke) my left hand's on the yoke, and my right hand's on the throttles. Since in some circumstances, which would require heavy control-forces (727's not that bad unless you're on manual-reversion *laughs*), you'd have both hands on the yoke, Airbus compensated by making the sidestick more sensitive. The sidestick's do not have any artificial-feel to them. Even the F-16's sidestick would move small amounts to provide a little bit of feel. This presents an interesting thing. If the F/O's flying, the captain's stick doesn't move at all. On a mechanical plane, when the F/O moves the yoke, my yoke moves too. To deal with this problem, there are "takeover" buttons, which enables one crew member to takeover. This means that his sidestick is in control. Assuming the F/O is flying the plane, my sidestick wouldn't do jack no matter how much I moved it until I hit the takeover button. Then I'd have control and his sidestick wouldn't have any effect no matter what he did. This would essentially keep control-inputs from conflicting with one another. Of course, in a properly-coordinated cockpit, both pilots REALLY should know who's flying the plane :rolleyes:. The problem with the sidesticks is that they leave practically no room for a practical mechanical back-up. For this reason the Airbuses rely on their electrical redundancy to insure against a total failure, and their computer redundancy to prevent a computer failure. If the computer fails, they go to direct-mode. This is basically an analog FBW-backup. The analog signals can bypass the computers and go directly to the actuators. Stab trim can be controlled through trim-wheels mechanically, and rudder trim. Stab-trim is otherwise automatically controlled. The A-320 has autothrottles, but they're called "auto-thrust". When the auto-throttle makes an adjustment in engine power, the throttles do not move. This can be very confusing. The throttles can be moved into thrust-gates. This essentially sets the maximum allowable thrust into the computer. The throttle setting can be anywhere in that range, up to that point or below. This relies on the fact that the pilot would be looking at the EICAS-display to determine engine RPM. The Airbus A-320 to A-340 is a good airplane. Very safe, and very few accidents. The fact that all the accidents were due to pilot error, I find quite disturbing. People often use this to glorify the Airbuses, saying that they're infallible, and it's the pilots that f*cked the pooch and nothing more. This could also be used to argue that the plane was so radically different from all the other planes flown, that pilots, particularly ones with little experience on the type, could potentially have difficulty with the high degree of automation, and the uniqueness of the Airbus design.

The 777 uses a conventional yoke. This is often preferred by pilots (I prefer it anyway, except on very small aircraft). Additionally it is the more conventional design. It has fly-by-wire in every respect. Because of the yoke, it allows for a mechanical back-up. The inboard-ailerons (I'm not an expert on the triple-7 so don't kill me if I'm wrong), stab-trim, rudder, flaps/slats, and roll-spoilers are still controllable under mechanical control. Additional advantages of the yoke is artificial-feel. The yoke provides feedback so you do have a feel for the aircraft. Autothrottle-adjustments cause the throttles to move (just like other airliners). This is actually a very big argument pro-boeing fan's use. It's nice to know what the engines are doing. When the autothrottle commands a thrust reduction or increase, the throttles move, and since when I'm flying, my hands are on the throttles, I can feel it, even if I'm not looking at the engine instrumentation.

Essentially Airbus was trying to revolutionize aircraft design. More advanced, more computerised, more futuristic. They also wanted to build a safe plane that was uncrashable. Their ideology assumes that pilots are 'bad-computers' and (assumes the pilot to be an incompetent bumbling idiot) uses the computers to baby sit the pilot. Assuming pilot-incompetence they put in hard-limits. Their design does have a heavy degree of electric and computer redundancy, but leaves almost no room for mechanical back-up.

The Boeing ideology hasn't changed much from 1954. Boeing had the opportunity to add State-of-the-Art hydraulic technology on the 367-80 (the 707 prototype). But even though they had all this technology, they decided that making a more conventional design would be more practical. This is why the 707 is predominantly manual in control (elevators/ailerons manual, rudder hydraulic with manual reversion). Sure it makes the 707's very heavy on the controls, but the idea was to make sure it would be more like the props the pilots were used to flying. Advanced enough to be cutting edge, but conventional enough to be practical. The 777 does this to Boeing tradition. It has state of the art FBW technology, but sticks to conventional yokes as well. It also has a suitable amount of conventional mechanical back-up just in case. Boeing's philosophy also firmly believes that the pilot should be the one in charge. Not the computer. The 777 design also has performance envelope protection built-in, but has soft-limits, and lets the pilot make the ultimate decision. Since Boeing knows the pilots are obviously competent individuals, this is logically the better choice. It also requires a simpler computer code too. And for the Airbus A-320/A-330/A-340 // Boeing 777 safety argument. Not a single Boeing 777 has crashed... that's gotta say something.

-Silent Observer aka "Shorty"

Willit Run
15th Apr 2002, 04:44
Give me one of those old Lockheed Tritanics any day.
They were a real class act!!!!!!

Nano 763
17th Apr 2002, 02:36
Where I fly, we have both Boeing and Airbus. The most common comment by Boeing pilots is:

I prefer to do it like this,
(whilst grabbing an imaginary control column with both hands and thrusting back and forward......could be construed as sexual in nature)

Than like that!!!
(whilst holding an imaginary joystick in your right hand, and moving it up and down.......)

:D :D ;) :D :D

17th Apr 2002, 06:27
Excellent post, SilentObserver. You've nailed it as to why I don't like Airbus, as they tend to assume the worst in our piloting ability.
As far as computer boffins go at flying planes, I trust me.

One thing the Airbus lovers can't ever tell me is that although it seems to make sense to them that the jopsticks aren't mechanicall conected and the throttles don't move when the power changes, why are the rudder pedals mechanically connected. ;)

17th Apr 2002, 13:39
You're gonna love this, the 340-600 has given up on all Mechanical back-up.

Boeing: Built by Idiots flown by Experts.
Airbus: Built by Experts flown by Idiots.

Coconut Airways
17th Apr 2002, 23:00
Very Ineresting post Silent observer.

You see when I started the post thats the kind of feedback I was expecting. I wanted opinions not arguments. We all have our preferences. I just feel like most of us that when I'm flying I'm in charge not a damn computer. Just like when a CEO is at his desk he's in charge so when I'm in my office let me make the final decisions.


17th Apr 2002, 23:21
as I remarked earlier,this is not ppruneworthy so,why has it not been terminated?:(

18th Apr 2002, 08:48
Because you don't make the decisions!