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Boeing cites risks in design of newest Airbus jet

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Boeing cites risks in design of newest Airbus jet

Old 5th Mar 2021, 01:48
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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When originally designed the A320 series was never intended to have a full body conformal internal fuel tank, just like the MAX was never intended to have its engines hung out in front of the wing. Sadly the "so what" of the engine decision ultimately led to catastrophe. New engine vs new fuel tank may seem to be an apples to orange comparisons but I think not as in In both cases the mod was central to the appeal of the airplane. In the MAX case no new engines meant no competitor to the A320NEO series. In the case of the 321XLR no internal conformal fuel tank means no ability to own the medium range single aisle market. Therefore the pressures to make it work are going to high.

The true test of whether the MAX debacle has really fundamentally changed aircraft certification is, IMO, how this design change is certified. Personally I have great difficulty in seeing how a comparable level of crashworthiness to an aircraft without the tank can be maintained with the current design. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as ultimately the stakes are much higher than the success of one 320 family model variant......
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 02:22
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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I guess you need to define what crashworthiness is in a regulation. With g-loads if you exceed the spec it's gonna break..be it wings or fuselage, overhead bins seat tracks, etc.. All they have to do is to design the tank to be the last to break after crap happens elsewhere in the plane.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 04:29
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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No you need a process that ensures that the inevitable compromises to make the tank work don’t reduce the safety of the aircraft. For that to happen business and political pressures have to be designed out of the safety determination process. If you think EASA is not as vulnerable to regulatory capture as was the FAA, then you are deluding yourself.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 05:56
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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It is deplorable that an industry that supposedly prides itself on "safety first" should have allowed the safety determination process to have been hijacked in this way
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 06:08
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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This isn't about whether EASA is better or worse than the FAA, it's about Boeing taking the phrase "People in glass houses....." and OWNING it.

However, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
The time to do this would have been after EASA certification, not before, it's not as if Airbus hasn't already run this by EASA.
Granted it might be a tactical move to make Airbus/EASA consider their options and gain some time but either way it doesn't sit well coming from Boeing at this juncture.

Any publicity is good publicity isn't necessarily a truism, the Boeing brand is tainted at present and this has not helped.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 06:29
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Has anybody actually read the article linked in post #1 ?

The U.S. plane giant's intervention is not without precedent in a global system that regularly allows manufacturers to chime in whenever safety rules are being interpreted in a way that might affect the rest of the industry.
"Public consultation is part-and-parcel of an aircraft development programme," an Airbus spokesman said, adding any issues raised would be tackled together with regulators.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 09:20
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that, you are of course correct. Consultation is not only normal for safety stuff, but for regulations as well. I do get invited to a lot of EASA regulations consultation processes whenever they update regulations, everyone can comment on that, and of course the relevant working group will weigh that input and, sometimes, act on it. The same is true for pretty much all EU secondary law.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 09:21
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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@ Dave Reid, yes, but I think the issue is that Boeing have rather spoiled their once great reputation with regard to safety !

PS: There is nothing 'klutzy' about the Airbus FBW family. Whereas one only has to sit in a B737 to see how klutzy it is. The 737 F/O still has a series of flows to perform, to switch various things on or off, that even our cars can manage to do automatically. F/Os shoulder straps can knock out CBs behind. The tractor-like controls which impede the view of the instruments. The wire ropes and pulleys to operate the flight controls. No A/P rudder control. Do 737 cabin crew still have to bend down to physically pick up and place the girt bar into the floor brackets every time they arm or disarm a door? (Airbus doors engage the slide by simply closing the arming handle).

I have much more respect and trust in Airbus for their design processes and innovation.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 12:44
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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To be fair, that is actually available. Just one of the many options (like the AoA display) that nearly nobody buys. However, even if it is bought, it works only during approach below roughly 1500 ft AGL until rollout or go around until another lateral mode is selected. And then it simply disconnects, which, in a OEI scenario gives a huge kick if one is not prepared for it, well, even then to be fair, as it only controls the rudder, but not the trim.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 12:57
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
The wire ropes and pulleys to operate the flight controls.
Those things keep you in control when you lose all hydraulics and/or electrics.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 15:41
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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And those pulley and ropes are there when someone decides to pull a breaker to reset the computer in response to a rudder fault like AirAsia 8501.
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Old 5th Mar 2021, 16:25
  #52 (permalink)  
568
 
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Uplinker

"No A/P rudder control"
Not entirely true as the AP takes up rudder control when the APP mode is selected and the self test initiates at approximately 1400 feet. Runway alignment occurs at 500 feet RA if there is a crosswind.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 00:40
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Hopefully, the company culture at Airbus is different to Boeing, and solution found to the fuel tank issue will be one that prioritises safety rather than cost cutting and bonuses.

Oversight from EASA will likely be a lot better than FAA’s hands off approach with Boeing.

Airbus have done well with the basic A320 design but at 30+ years old, it’s getting a bit dated, particularly in the flight deck. Time to start thinking about a new clean sheet design which integrates all the technological advances made since the 1980s. The current design can easily see out this decade, but by then Boeing will be coming out with a long overdue B737 replacement which will likely be superior to the NEO.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 05:49
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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I do not think that they could improve much on the basic A320 design which they haven't already done on the NEO. Carbon fibre will not do much for a short to medium range aircraft and any advances in electronics and avionics do not require a new basic design. Maybe for the A321XLR you would want a slightly larger wingspan, to fit the extra fuel in the wing, but the benefits do not outweigh the costs.
The 737 design has two basic flaws compared to the A320: No space for a longer landing gear and no fly by wire.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 07:36
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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krismiler

"Airbus have done well with the basic A320 design but at 30+ years old, itís getting a bit dated, particularly in the flight deck. Time to start thinking about a new clean sheet design which integrates all the technological advances made since the 1980s. The current design can easily see out this decade, but by then Boeing will be coming out with a long overdue B737 replacement which will likely be superior to the NEO."

I guess the new hydrogen models are slated as a replacement in about 9 years. That said, Airbus was actually in development for an A320NEO enhanced version, with a new flightdeck close to the A350 layout. Not identical of course, space constraints make that impossible. But apparently customer demand was not very high, while development costs were, so that was scrapped around two years ago. In essence, airlines were not willing to pay for not much additional use, heck, most do not pay for stuff that has been available for 10 years now, like autopilot TCAS and FLS.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 08:42
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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I’m looking at it from a pilot’s point of view but those who make the decisions are looking at it from a monetary point of view, no prizes for guessing which will prevail.

Competition is fierce and every cost saving measure counts, particularly with LCCs driving hard deals.

I guess I’ll have retired before the next generation of narrow bodies comes to market.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 09:49
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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@ 568 Thank you for the correction.

@ NWA SLF, Pulling CBs in flight is not generally permitted, unless expressly ordered by a QRH or ECAM action. To "illegally" pull a flight control CB in flight without understanding what you are doing has nothing whatsoever to do with the design of the aircraft.

My point was that the A320 family is not even remotely 'klutzy'. One only has to do a walk around of a B737 and an A320 and do a cockpit set up, to see that the A320 is an order of magnitude further on from the B737. Systems and cockpit design, layout - even cockpit size - are all on the next level. This is not to say the Boeing is necessarily bad per se; it is just basic, and the wire rope flight controls and pulleys etc, were the level of technology in the 1950's.

The Airbus FBW stands tall as an extremely well thought out, well integrated and well developed design. The A320 family has three independent hydraulic systems. Five sources of AC power. Seven fly by wire computers, and all seven can be easily (and "legally") reset in flight via push button switches on the overhead panel.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 10:48
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Envy

Boeing has nothing that can compete with Airbus A321 LR/ XLR, and in the light of the recent scandals regarding Boeings commercial aircraft division, it seems like pure envy from the beancounters at Boeing.
Boeing should focus on repairing their tarnished reputation,instead of trying to smear their competitors.
When it comes to the narrow isle airplane market, Boeing needs to develop a replacement for the antique B737. Max was one stretch too much for this 1960s design.
On top of that Boeing has until recently done everything to hide the quality problems with the B787.

Boeing used to be a proud manufacturer of quality aircraft, those days are unfortunately long gone.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 12:17
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Boeing should keep quiet on this and sort the mess-up in their house first. What they did tarnished entire aviation industry. And someone should go to jail for that, instead of taking outrageous searing money and benefits.
And hope Airbus will be very careful with extending the A-320 design again. The wing is more or less still the same, as I understand..?
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 21:52
  #60 (permalink)  
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Uplinker.
All valid points considering how technology has advanced since the first 737 flew.
Airbus were very clever from the start in being able to keep a common cockpit theme from type to type.
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