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Full evacuation test "too dangerous" on A380!

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Full evacuation test "too dangerous" on A380!

Old 18th Jun 2001, 05:28
  #1 (permalink)  
Cyclic Hotline
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Red face Full evacuation test "too dangerous" on A380!

Well, this should inspire confidence amongst the pax who will be making the payments on these! I would imagine the first lawsuit for any injuries in the first "precautionary" evac, will allow the beneficiary to buy their own private jet!

Airbus in fear of full emergency test

BY BEN WEBSTER, TRANSPORT CORRESPONDENT

AIRBUS is planning to introduce the world’s largest passenger plane, carrying up to 1,000 passengers, without conducting a full evacuation test. The company said yesterday that it was afraid that people could be permanently injured in the exercise.
At least 200 passengers will sit 30ft above ground on the highest of the three decks on a full Airbus A380. They would have to jump down an inflatable slide in an emergency.

A fifth of the company, which is based in Toulouse, France, is owned by Britain’s BAE Systems. Airbus fears that any injuries in a full evacuation test would be exploited by Boeing, its rival, and could undermine the whole project. Instead, it is planning to conduct tests involving only a fraction of the total number of passengers.

Scientists will then use mathematical models in an attempt to demonstrate to the safety authorities — Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority and America’s Federal Aviation Administration — that the plane is safe.

Derek Davies, the A380 marketing director, said: “If you subject more than 800 people to an evacuation test and someone comes off the bottom of the slide and someone else hits them from behind, you have to ask why we have maimed somebody. There will be questions asked if someone is left a paraplegic.”

A spokesman for the CAA said it was hoped that an evacuation simulator at Cranfield University would reduce the need for live tests. While at present a full evacuation test was required for all new aircraft, the simulator could be used by Airbus “to do a lot of the research on the safety of extremely large aircraft”. He added: “Obviously if you do full evacuations, you do run the risk of injuring people. In future there could well be a lot of work done with computer scenarios.”

People had been injured in previous tests and insurance companies now demanded that anyone taking part undergo a medical examination.

Airbus is confident authorities will agree to a partial test. Boeing carried out full evacuation tests on its 747s and Mr Davies, speaking at the Paris Air Show, said that Airbus was concerned that the American company might exploit any safety issues surrounding the A380 to protect the market share of its own 400-seat 747, which is currently the world’s biggest passenger plane.

“I do not wish to appear paranoid, but the Americans are quite capable of using their expertise commercially to attack us,” Mr Davies said.

Early versions of the A380, which will begin flight tests in 2004 and enter service in 2006, will have 550 to 600 seats. Later stretch models will accommodate up to 1,000 people. The wings will be built in Britain, which is contributing 500 million of the 7.5 billion development costs in the form of a soft loan from the Government.

Under Airbus’s existing evacuation plan, 140 passengers a minute would jump out of emergency doors down 30ft slides, with people falling side by side in two lanes. However, Edward Galea, of Greenwich University, an authority on passenger behaviour in evacuations, has identified a small increase in “exit hesitation time” in early trials based on the A380 upper deck. According to Professor Galea, people are intimidated by the height of the fall, almost double that from the single deck of Airbus’s largest existing plane.

Mr Davies said people would be unable to hesitate for long because of the force of all those behind wanting to get out.

Airbus has signed deals with eight airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, for 62 A380s. The company hopes for another 40 sales this year and believes there could be 1,500 flying worldwide by 2020. The first customers received major discounts on the basic price of 160 million for each aircraft.

The A380 is designed to ease congestion at overstretched airports, in particular Heathrow.


 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 05:47
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Flight Safety
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Hmm...I never thought of this issue with a double decker airliner.

What would happen if some hesitated on the top of the slides on the upper deck, and others behind them in a panic began to push those in front either down the slides or out of the way. I've never seen a slide with hand rails to keep someone from falling off of it. 30 feet up is a long way down if you were to come off of the slide by being pushed from behind. Maybe the slide could be designed with a deep channel profile with high sides.

------------------
Safe flying to you...
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 05:58
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Low_and_Slow
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Maybe the slide could be designed with a deep channel profile with high sides.
</font>
I'd like to see them deploy that with a nice wind blowing


 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 07:04
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Flight Safety
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The "Galloping Gurdy" of escape slides I think.
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 15:13
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Luca_brasi
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I thought the A380 could only carry at max 800 pax. Not the 1000 that the report quotes, or am i just misinformed?
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 17:21
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capt cynical
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Has any thought been put into "Ditching"procedures? Will all pax fit into main deck sliderafts or will they need to carry extra liferafts to cater for 500 to 800 pax. (will the big mothers float long enough?)
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 17:36
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dallas dude
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When Boeing tested their emergency evac on the 777 they asked for staff volunteers for the test.

In a Seattle hangar, the signal was given and all but one volunteer made it down the slide. One lady changed her mind and refused to "get off".

The FAA based their certification on the real number evacuated and told Boeing if they wanted to add the "missing" number, they'd have to re-do the ENTIRE test.

Two questions come to mind..(a)if Airbus can't set up "ideal" conditions for a full test, what does that say about the REAL world chances of these pax in an evacuation, (b) will they expect fare paying passengers to sign a disclaimer before boarding that "in the event an evacuation is required, passengers can EXPECT to be injured"?

Airbus has come up with some great techno fixes in the past. Suggest they get to it on this also and forget any chance the FAA will change the rules for them.

After all, it's not what you know it's who you know, so to speak, and Boeing's got all the phone numbers they need!

dd
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 18:01
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Eastwest Loco
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Question

Ones mind wanders back to the QF incident at BKK - where VH-OJH wound up as a GUR area on an airport boundering golf course(and does one get a drop for a 747 on the fairway?? - call the royal and Ancient) The slide from one side of the bubble was firmly and horizontally lodged in a tree.

Pics are somewhere in the archives of airdisaster.com and in the light of all being well after the incident - quite amusing.

Could have been otherwise - thank God it wasnt.

Regards

EWL
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 18:51
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There was an article in the wonderful new FLight international last week about just this topic. The slides from the top have been designed wider with higher sides and are capable of deploying if the plane is sitting at a funny angle - making the drop larger/smaller. Also, if I remember correctly the slides were detachable for pseudo-life raft function when everyone is out. The report also said that the set up meant that they could evacuate the plane in ~600 seat mode within the required time frame.

I have to say it's something I never considered when I say the plane initially, but it's obviously important and I suspect if it becomes an issue we'll see plenty of news about Airbus delaying the launch.

Bunty.
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 18:54
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411A
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Well let's see, The JAA held up the certification of NG737 aircraft for overwing exits, and the certification of the GV is STILL pending, so I think it is time for the FAA to turn the screws a little. (Or a lot)
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 20:28
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747FOCAL
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This is exactly what I have been saying in other posts for months now. The A380 will make a great freighter, but will never make 90 second evac time requirements. Get up on a roof 40 ft in the air and imagine a slide and see how many people you think are likely to throw themselves down it. Then to get it in the ass from the person behind you... Plus these slides are going to turn into sails in heavy winds.
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 22:11
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lamer
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The slide resting on top of the tree in Bangkok resulted from an accidental deployment the day after when the doors were opened for ventilation. Someone didn't move the lever to safe!

The picture does make a good basis for a caption contest though...

Regards.
 
Old 18th Jun 2001, 22:17
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Mycroft
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As stated before (by loco), B747s have upper deck slides (although not without problems), surely the height difference cannot be that much. If there was to be a perceived lack of life raft accomodation from the slides it would be possible to incorporate rafts into the wing structure.
 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 00:51
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Airbanda
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As 747 Focal says;
Get up on a roof 40 ft in the air......

Then add some for a forward gear collapse or an overrun from an embanked runway-like the Tristar that went off the end at LBA in 85.

 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 01:03
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411A
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And....what will the first thing be for Airbus to ask for? A WAIVER for evac, to dangerous for tender Eurpoean backsides. I think the FAA will say.....evac demonstration or forget about FAA certification. And, no evac demonstration, no landing rights in the USA. Will write my congressman now.
And, on a different note, if Europe does not like hushkits for Stage III then Concorde can land in Bermuda and we can send a ferry boat for the pax to JFK. What goes around....comes around,... BIG time.
With dubbya in the White House, anything is possible!

[This message has been edited by 411A (edited 18 June 2001).]
 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 01:41
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lymanm
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What about the friction from sliding down one of these slides???

...I've heard that it gets so hot after 40ft that some people may suffer 3rd degree burns!!! Urban legend? Probably, but still something to think about (like there isn't enough with this airplane!)

Cheers
 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 04:21
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18-Wheeler
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Yup, surely is!
I did a emergency procedures course a couple of months ago, and part of it was to go down a conventional slide.
I was told to keep my hands off the slide, as they'd get burned from friction - Guess that's why when I got a little sideways I didn't put my hands down, but instead dipped an elbow to keep me straight.
Yep, burned the crap out it ... ouch!
I'd hate to go down one twice as long. May not be too bad though if you're smarter than me and keep the flesh off the plastic bits.
 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 04:28
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gaunty
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At the risk of being burned at the stake as a heretic, this HAS to be the reason to have a real good look at the sanity of carrying that number of pax on an airliner.

Not this little black duck.

Remember the Titanic, unsinkable and carrying a concesssion on the number of lifeboats it didn't need to carry?
 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 05:48
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pigboat
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Thumbs up

Amen gaunty, you just said a mouthful.
 
Old 19th Jun 2001, 10:16
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VnV2178B
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Talking

Just a thought, but did any of you guys ever go to a fun fair? There the helter-skelter has a little mat you sit on, is it beyond the wit of material sciences to extend the life vests to serve the same function for an aircraft evac. slide, adjusting the co-efficents to allow enough friction to slow the PAX down but still allow a fast route out ?

VnV...


(edit to remove my fit of pique this AM)


[This message has been edited by VnV2178B (edited 19 June 2001).]

[This message has been edited by VnV2178B (edited 19 June 2001).]
 

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