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Blackouts In The Cockpit

by John M. White |

Airbus' most popular aircraft, the A320, appears to have a serious problem with the glass cockpit displays in the cockpit.  It is reported that there have been at least 50 in-flight failures reported on the displays, some leaving the pilots in panic mode. A320

A number of glitches have been reported on A320 jets that cause the cockpit's digital displays to blackout during flight. Pilots report that they have lost communication, important readouts and even the plane's transponder during flight by some reports. Of the 50 reported malfunctions seven have been reported to be a very serious total loss of the displays, luckily none during critical phases of flight.  The most recent incident happened at Newark, NJ in January.

Electronic cockpits have standby instruments available in case of emergency which are similar to the old reliable "steam gauges" found in older aircraft. At the present time there are more than 720 Airbus A320s flying in the United States right now, mainly by US Air, United and Frontier Airlines.

Airbus claims that 50 failures is an insignificant rate of failure when compared to the over 37,000,000 flights flown to date by the Airbus A320. Airbus has suggested a fix for the problem; however, it is not a mandatory fix.  The NTSB, however, feels that for an aircraft cruising on a clear day a blackout might not be that critical; however. at night, with severe weather during takeoff or landing, the NTSB worries cockpit displays turning off could prove to be catastrophic.  In addition, airlines are just now, starting to train pilots of how to handle this problem.

Wants to make you climb right aboard the next A320 departing, doesn't it?

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


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