Challenge of New Aircraft by ProQuest

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									                       Director’s Viewpoint

                         Challenge of New Aircraft
                                                      W
                                                                  hen Air France flight                               posite material and an extensive
                                                                  447 plunged into the                                array of electronic and computer
                                                                  Atlantic more than                                  schemes. The new Airbus 350 and
                                                      a month ago, I began to won-                                    the Boeing Dreamliner are nearly
                                                      der again about the safety of                                   all-composite aircraft, the latter
                                                      these new airliners that have                                   80 percent by volume, by weight
                                                      composite materials replacing                                   50 percent. The problem facing
                                                      metal for many key structural                                   us with Flight 447 is the absolute
                                                      elements and are heavily reliant       Nick Sergi,              need to answer why and how it
                                                      on computer-controlled flight          Director of Content      went down.
                                                      and navigation systems. My                                          At this point anything sug-
                                                      mind went back to November 2001 and the              gested is speculative until the black boxes
                                                      Airbus that lost its tail on departure from          are recovered. This will probably not hap-
                                                      JFK and crashed in Queens, so close to 9/11          pen. So it becomes necessary to hypoth-
                                                      that many initially thought it was a terrorist       esize. From what I have read, theories
                                                      act. Turns out the pilots overcontrolled the         include: pilot error in flying into a severe
                                                      aircraft in wake turbulence causing the rud-         thunderstorm (this is already being men-
                                                      der to snap off. Frankly, that was a first for       tioned by Air France management indicat-
                                                      me, and I am fairly sure for American who            ing that other flights managed to change
                                                      trained the pilots to react as they did.             radar settings and were able to fly around
                                                         The Airbus rudder is attached to the              the storm); the pitot tubes iced up depriv-
                                                      empennage by composite material. The                 ing the crew of vital airspeed information;
                                                      more composite the manufacturer can use,             in reaction to the turbulence and unreliable
                                                      the more weight that is saved. This is good          airspeed information the crew over sped
                                                      because you can replace that weight with             the aircraft causing it to break up; does
                                                      passengers and fuel. More efficient engines          lightning have a harmful effect on com-
                                                      add to the plane’s capability to carry far-          posite materials; and finally do composite
                                                      ther, faster, and more effectively; however,         materials degrade more easily and faster
                                                      the issue is, at what cost to safety. Please,        than aluminum.
                                                      I am not saying nor implying that aircraft          
								
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