Yesterday I posted an email I got regarding US Air Flight 1549, and as you all know by now there was an accident last night with a -8. What a tragedy after such a prolonged period without any fatal airline accidents. Yesterday's post brought a lot of comments, so in that same spirit let me pass on the cover email in which I received that information:
"THIS CAME TO ME FROM A PILOT WHO OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T LIKE FRENCH MADE AIRPLANES.......................... The press is having a field day turning "Sully" Sullenberger into a Lindbergh-like hero. All credit to him, and his copilot, but, and they will be the first to tell you, they just did their jobs. They did them well, but when your job entails holding the lives of hundreds of people in your hands every time you fly then doing your job well is the minimum acceptable standard. I don't, and I doubt if more than just a handful of other pilots, begrudge Sully his day in the sun. What I am concerned about is how the real cause of this accident is being glossed over and, on the part of Airbus Industries, actually lied about. There are stories circulating now about how the flight computers helped "save" the aircraft by insuring the ditching was done properly. The stories themselves are absolute nonsense and the contention that the flight computers ensured the proper attitude was maintained for ditching is pure fabrication. So what's wrong with Airbus wanting to steal a little glory for their computerized drones? There is a good chance it was the computers that put the aircraft into the water! I readily admit I heartily dislike Airbus because of their design philosophy, I will never set foot in an A-380 (the superjumbo) as I consider it a really bad accident looking for a place to happen. I am not much happier with the rest of them but especially the A-320 which has killed several folks, while the engineers try to perfect software that can replace a human brain that has a talent for flying. Something that I, rather naturally, don't believe possible. It is well known that I love Boeings. I love to fly them. Beyond the sheer joy of just flying the Boeing I also believe in their design philosophy that the last word has to be with the pilot, not the machine. No pilot, no matter how hard he tries, can turn an A-320 upside down. It just won't do it. Airbus believes it has designed a computer that is smarter than a pilot (the evidence of dead bodies scattered around Mulhouse, France to the contrary) and gives the last word to the computer. If a pilot moves the controls so as to turn the airplane upside down the computer will refuse. I can turn the B777 upside down. Once I get it upside down, if I let go of the controls, it will turn itself rightside up (smart airplane). I don't believe I will ever be in a situation where I will need to turn the airplane upside down, but I feel good knowing I have the control to do it. That's why I'm not really kidding when I say "if it ain't Boeing, I ain't going".
The truth is airplane manufacturers, and the government with its UAVs, is moving forward with unmanned aircraft and all of this great computer driven technology, but I sure hope they don't forget the human element! After all, its humans that build these things and ultimately humans are responsible for what happens with them. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 To invent a plane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything. -- Otto Lilienthal