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Old 10-18-2004, 20:53   #1 (permalink)
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Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Righto Guys,

After some rumours of what kind of planes is safe and not safe i thought i'd better ask about how bad an Airbus Industrie A320-100/200. It just so happens that this is the plane i will be in on the return flight to Aus. Whats this about people calling an Airbus a "Scarebus".

Just for the record my plane going there is a Boeing 767-200/200 ER.
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Old 10-18-2004, 21:15   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Aussie Pete knows a bit about them possibly....going on previous forum discussions that is...
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Old 10-18-2004, 21:33   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

I'd say asking AP whether Boeing is better/worse than Airbus is like asking Geoff Polites if Ford is better/worse than Holden.

I've been on Boeing and Airbus planes, and to me a plane is a plane. The DASH-8's that go to Canberra are scary though!

I find the 767's the most fun because they aren't that big and hence you feel more thrust during takeoff and landing, and it's the only plane where the display showed our speed >1000km/h. Every other plane has maxxed out at 960km/h or so.

Some viewing that you might like to do before departure is Final Destination, Alive and Air Crash Investigation. Enjoy your flight and thank you for flying with Stooge Airlines™. :s6:
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Old 10-19-2004, 00:10   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Well it's Boeing 777 for me personally. But the old Airbus A320-100 has been around, watched an air crash investigation thing on TV last week (anyone else catch it?). An Airbus A320-200 ran out of juice at 39,000 feet 300 nautical miles out of the Azores, but bugger me, they managed to glide it all the way in for a landing that did not cost any lives! Turns out some monkeys at the last service installed a non-genuine fuel tank coupling which rubbed a hole through its neighbouring hose by way of vibration causing the fuel load to piss out through a wing drain over a period of hours (couldn't see it in the dark could they?) First indication is an alarming low reading on the cockpit fuel guage followed by engine failures 1.... then 2... ooops!!! Before the aircraft resumed its journey from the Azores after extensive mechanical repairs, I think they would have had to re-upholster most of the seats too. Anyway mate have a good trip!
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Old 10-19-2004, 00:30   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

If you want to be a little frigtened go to www.airdisaster.com. You can put in the specific model and it will list all crashes for that type.
Some of the crashes are real interesting. They also have some cockpit voice recordings of real crashes. Scary when the pilots are chatting to an attendant about a crash that happened a year or so before where the pilots were chatting to an attendant and forgot part of the takeoff procedure and guess what happens...............
Best one is where the co pilot is to scared to say anything to the pilot as he is the company head pilot notorious for being a bit of a bastard. Very quiet trip until the plane crashes.........The pilot had died of a heart attack shortly after takeoff !!!!!
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Old 10-19-2004, 04:08   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

OK Gary,

Why Airbus is called scarebus?

Firstly all traditional jet aircraft until it came out in 1986 were controlled in the traditional sense from the control yoke back via cables and pulleys through to the hydraulic or electrical servos that activated the flight controls.

On the Airbus A320, the control inputs are via a side stick controller to a flight control computer, which determines how much control is actually needed. So, rather than reliance upon the cables and pulleys, all the signals are digital and hence run through more of wiring. Hence the term 'fly by wire;.

What this also allows Airbus to do is to do program a set of flight control laws for tha A320 and all other Airbus aircraft from then onwards, so they would feel to fly the same despite differing sizes and configurations ie an A320 will feel the same as flying the A330/A340 and soon A380.

Now, with the flight control software, Airbus has imposed hard limits - that being that automation has the final say in aircraft control. For example, the pilot cannot bank the aircraft past 67 degrees in roll, 30 degrees nose up and 15 degrees nose down.

There are also other inbuilt protections that override pilot controls such as alpha floor and alpha max. Alpha floor kicks in when the aircraft senses it's about to fly into the ground (ie no gear or flaps extended at extremely low altitude) sending engine power to maximum continuous thrust and pitching the nose up to attain a maximum climb angle. Alpha max kicks in when the aircraft senses it's about to hit maximum operating speed, again overriding pilot controls, by reducing engine thrust and pitching up to slow down.

Airbus claimed that the A320 was "so easy to fly that even a fifteen year old could fly it" and that, with all the automation and in-built protections it was deemed the "uncrashable plane".

In 1986 when Air France put on an an extremely low altitude flyover display over Habsheim, the aircraft crashed into the trees (remember the footage?) not far off the end off the runway it flew over. Pilots were expecting the Alpha floor function to kick in if the aircraft got too low. However, this only works when the aircraft is gear and flaps up, they had gear and flaps fully extended such that the 200' pass ended up being a 40' pass over the runway, and well, I won't go into too much specifics into what happened afterwards.

The second A320 to go down happened in Strasbourg not long after, this time with Air Inter. This aircraft crashed short of the runway it was supposed to land on. A confusing and poorly designed mode on the Flight Control Unit (read: autopilot) was a contributing factor to this one. Instead of dialling in 3.3 degrees of glide slope angle for the landing, an incorrect 3,300 feet per minute descent rate was dialled in. On the FCU this simply reads as "3.3" the only difference being highlighted in the Primary Flight Display (read LCD screen).

The third A320 to go down happened at Bangalore, when an Air India aircraft crashed short of the runway, again under similar circumstances. It was found the training syllabus for the A320 required a thorough analysis. Airbus claimed that with automation, less training was required, but in fact more training was required, particularly with the use of automation itself.

The fourth A320 crashed in Bahrain, this time a Gulf Air example - this one crashed into the sea just short of the runway. Again under very similar circumstances as with the Air India accident.

Now I will go back to an earlier example, this time with an Air Chine A300-600R that crashed at Nagoya. The aircraft was being hand flown by the first officer for the landing, accidently engaging the go-around mode (read: abort landing, increase power and try again). With the Airbus system - the go around mode overrides the pilot, increasing power and adding nose up pitch. The crew found themselves fighting for control of the aircraft, the aircraft reached an excessively high nose up angle (read: almost vertical) stalled (not as in engine stall, but not enough speed to maintain airflow and hence lift from the wings) and crashed onto the runway killing all onboard.

Now in recent times, Airbus thought it had its fly by wire flight control software sorted, until in 1997 when on a test flight the prototype A330 crashed killing Airbus' chief test pilot. It was found there was a "hole" in the programming, when the pilot took off and simulated an instantaneous single engine failure after takeoff.

Under ordinary circumstances the A330 has a pretty massive rate of climb (as with any twin engined jet that has to be 100% overpowered in case one engine fails). When the chief pilot reduced thrust to idle on one of the engines, the automation hadn't quite catered for reducing the rate of climb to compensate and attain the dialled in level out altitude. Hence the aircraft kept pitching up, and up and up until it reached an extreme nose up attitude, the aircraft dipped one wing and stalled from a position the chief pilot couldn't recover from.

Now, with the Boeing design philosophy, the pilot has the final say in the orientation of the aircraft, and hence provides soft protections that being aural warnings, buzzers and lights warning the pilot, rather than simply taking over.
(Read: If it's not Boeing, Darky ain't going!)

I'd much prefer to fly in the B767, although the -200 series was a bit of a dog and was underpowered, the -300ER was the best of the bunch - it was the best handling of all the B757/B767 family, had plenty of range and grunt! Yeap, 61,500 lbs of thrust per engine (Read: QF spec GE CF6-80C2B6.....mmm.....love those GE's) pushing bugger all of weight to New Zealand would be pretty cool for the take off (except these are getting less fun these days as they are pretty much all derated to keep the airline bean counters happy).

I've had the pleasure of riding the jump seat for the take off on a flight to Honolulu (aircraft almost fully loaded) and still remember how quickly the numbers reeled off the airspeed indicator, and how much of a scalded cat the B767-300 was off terra firma at that weight.

Now I'm starting to get off topic, but anyone seen the wing snap tests that get done? That's pretty cool!

Oh, and I might also add I have a habit of reading about air disasters in-flight.
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Old 10-19-2004, 05:11   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Can you repeat that please.
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Old 10-19-2004, 06:01   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Very interesting Darkie. Will be bracing myself on the Airbus and will comment on the ride quality and power when i get back comparing to the Boeing.

From past experiences the 747's are the most powerful and feels alot smoother than the 767's being larger and 2 engines per wing (Think Falcon compared to Camry).

I guess at the end of the day the noise restrictions etc on airports prevent them from fully unleashing 100% capacity on take off. On the subject or rate of acceleration i was not impressed by the 737-800 Virign blue flights i took from Sydney to Melb, my dad's YZF1000R felt much much powerful accelerating to 200km/h, it's quote feels like a space shuttle launch as the needle swings into the 9500rpm+ zone.
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Old 10-19-2004, 06:20   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Horse
blah blah blah
Cliff notes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by XR_Strider_GuY
From past experiences the 747's are the most powerful and feels alot smoother than the 767's being larger and 2 engines per wing (Think Falcon compared to Camry).
ROFL @ comparison.

Are you sure the 747 is more powerful? Sure it's got 4 engines but the aircraft is not exactly Weight Watchers material. As I said, to me the 747 feels slower on initial accelleration. Sure it gets up to speed to take off but it needs more runway to do so, hence accelleration is as great.

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I guess at the end of the day the noise restrictions etc on airports prevent them from fully unleashing 100% capacity on take off.
I actually heard it's a safety thing. They only use about 2/3 or 3/4 thrust to takeoff. They keep the rest in reserve for an emergency in case they need to hurry and get the flock out of there.

Anyway, Darky is the expert so he can correct me if I am wrong.

It's time for another anecdote from the Slothmeister.
This one time (not at band camp) I was sent to Hong Kong and then onto Taipai to do some work. Anyway, we got to Hong Kong just as a typhoon had hit so it was a bit rough. Then from HK to Taipei there was another typhoon (talk about stooged). Anyway, we're flying over the mountains of Taiwan and the plane suddenly increased altitude by what seemed like several hundred metres. Now, I instantly thought "what goes up must come down" so I clenched by butt cheeks, tightened my seat belt to "choke me" setting and gripped the seat, and lo and behold, a few seconds later the plane plummetted several hundred metres. Most of the people in the cabin screamed, and probably some hit the roof, and then there was the glorious stench of chunder. Ah, I was glad when we landed.

Have a pleasant flight, Gaz.

BTW, you gonna watch Air Crash Investigation on Ch7 tomorrow night?

Then there's another story of how I got caught with a pocket knife in my carry-on baggage in Shanghai and lived to tell the tale...

See Gaz, it's up to you to turn this into an adventure!
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Old 10-19-2004, 07:03   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone Know their Jetliner's

Slight correction - the A320 came out in 1988 not 1986 as previously stated.

Lol @ the cliff notes!

Thrust reduction, or more correctly termed, a derated takeoff is basically to preserve the life of the engines. Sure we could fang the B767 off the runway each and every time (hey - it's fun!) but it costs money to replace the engines. These days it's worked off the flight management computer (or flight management and guidance system if you're in a scarebus). It takes into account wind speed & direction, air temperature, runway distance, aircraft weight and all the other lovely details.

In the initial climb phase thrust is further reduced to keep the whingening residents of Sydney (me excluded - I love the sound of aircraft noise) happy. Problem is each heavy aircraft ie B767 size upwards, uses an extra couple of tonnes of fuel to do this as it's get up to 1,500 feet as quick as you can, chop the power and whistle until 3000 feet and then resume your normal programming afterwards.

The B767-300's have appropriately been nicknamed Ferraris because of their ability to get off the runway pretty quickly. 3Toed is right regarding B747's, they aren't much chop when they're loaded. But the most powerful engines are at home on the B777, like we're talking 100,000 horses per engine, compared to 56-62,000 on the B747/B767.

I've got a book that you can take for some in-flight light reading Gaz. It's titled The Tombstone Imperative - The Truth on Air Safety. Pretty cool. I picked it up at a bookstore in the Qantas Domestic Terminal on a flight to Melbourne.
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