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Airbus To Use 853-seat A380 For First Escape Trial  
User currently offlineAnts From New Zealand, joined Feb 2004, 119 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 14257 times:

I've noticed a lot of a.netters have been interested in escape trials & max occupancy in the A380, given its size & height.

The latest Flight International (released a few hours ago) reports that Airbus will use the fourth A380 (MSN007) to conduct a trial emergency evacuation with 853 passengers onboard for certification.  Wow!

Authorities have supposedly given certain waivers to Airbus to improve the safety of volunteers, including not having to conduct the test in dark and being able to deploy the slides before the trail begins.

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFDH From Canada, joined Sep 2001, 104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 14139 times:

I understand why they wish to improve the safety of volunteers, but I believe the trial should simulate as much as possible a real emergency (maybe have less passengers but no such waivers). Also, I guess they already did a lot of trials on real-size models, right? If so, what are the results?

FDH


User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 13910 times:

As long as they don't use octogenarian stewardesses (er, at that age they have to be called flight attendants), they should have a chance of evacuating. If the volunteers were taken randomly from US-based FAs in the top 50% of seniority, they'd never make it -- even with the lights on and the chutes already deployed.

User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8413 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 13557 times:

One more reason why the A380 is not for the American market  Laugh out loud

User currently offlineTrident2e From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 13411 times:

All evacuation trials are a farce and not worth the trouble. How many evacuations have there been where everyone files in nice neat lines to the exits, politely saying please, thank you and excuse me, with no smoke, fire or other damage to deal with?

User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5849 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 13245 times:

853??? You can't get 853 Europeans to do ANYTHIGN in 45 seconds. Good thing they're not doing it in my beloved Italy. Everyone would stop to chat and have some wine and biscotti.

Seriously, I had no idea the thing would be certified to anything near 850. WHERE are they going to come up with 853 people to do the test? Employees?

Also, big thumbs-down on the "allowance" made. "Oh, you can do it in the daylight, and with the chutes already deployed." Kinda like, "Oh, you don't have to pay back the loans if the thing doesn't sell a bajillion copies."
THAT is ridiculous. Funny, they wouldn't let the 737NG get certified (in Europe) with standard doors- it had to have overwing exits that HINGED UPWARD... which the competition does not offer even on the newest A318, which was certified AFTER any of the 737NG's.
SO- tough as nails on Boeing 737 cert, but we'll relax the LAW on A380 cert?

Ridiculous. Investigation, anyone?


User currently offlineRupesNZ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 12896 times:

I think they key here is that this is the first emergency test, no doubt subsequent trials will involved doors closed, at night etc and with the 555 passengers the aircraft is going to be certified for.

User currently offlineRedDragon From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 1135 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 12813 times:

Also, big thumbs-down on the "allowance" made... Funny, they wouldn't let the 737NG get certified (in Europe) with standard doors- it had to have overwing exits that HINGED UPWARD... which the competition does not offer even on the newest A318, which was certified AFTER any of the 737NG's.
SO- tough as nails on Boeing 737 cert, but we'll relax the LAW on A380 cert?


The tough-as-nails attitude towards the 737 was because it was based on a design certified under 1960s safety laws, not 1980s ones as with the competition (A320). Without the automatically-opening overwing exits, the 737NG simply wouldn't have met the then-current (mid-90s) certification requirements - presumably the classic 737 exits were too heavy and cumbersome to allow for a sufficiently speedy evacuation. Hence, without this modification, the JAA would actually have been going soft on Boeing and allowed an aircraft through that was substandard to contemporary thinking on safety (as opposed to the opposite, being hard on Boeing for the sake of it).

Also, I guess they already did a lot of trials on real-size models, right? If so, what are the results?

I don't believe that Airbus has conducted a full-size trial with the A380 - instead they've made extensive use of computer modelling in conjunction with (I believe) a partial evacuation test. My copy of Flight is still sitting downstairs in its plastic envelope so I haven't read the article yet, but by the sounds of it the authorities (FAA/EASA etc.) have stipulated that, for Airbus to achieve a certification about 550 passengers, they'll have to conduct a live trial.

One final note about "bending the rules"... IIRC Boeing technically should have failed its 777 evacuation trial, for the efforts of one woman amongst the "passengers". Apparently she had to be "helped" out of the aircraft by the demonstration cabin crew, causing the whole run to edge over 90 seconds. Given that everyone else had exited comfortably prior to the time limit though, and taking into account the situation, the FAA sensibly allowed the 777 design to pass with the intended 440 pax.

I'll try and dig up some more concrete information on that and get back to you all...

Rich


User currently offlineBENNETT123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7639 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 12765 times:


I agree with RupesNZ and AA737-823 here.

IMO if the EU or Airbus proceeded without further and more exacting trials then Boeing and the US will quite rightly drop on them from a great height.

Personally, I would have completed full testing on 555 as a first stage, then have a series at 853.


User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2900 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 12686 times:
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It does seem a little silly that the first test is for a higher density configuration than the lowest-common-denominator for the platform. It seems to me that Airbus is doing this to prove something, but if anything, it just proves that they're making a bad PR move, that's all.

User currently offlineBaw716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2028 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 12674 times:

I was OK with the concept of 853 people certification of the A380, but when I read they were giving "allowances" like, testing in daylight, pre-inflation of slides, etc., I went ape! Are they crazy?

Gee whiz, when you have an emergency evac, can you guarantee it will be daylight? Will you be able to "pre inflate" the slides BEFORE you evac the passengers? This is not reality.

If Airbus is concerned about the safety of its volunteers, it will do the following:
1. Conduct a series of tests with crew simultaneously inflating the slides. Do a number of aircraft and a number of inflastions and repacks. Yes, this is slow and costly, but then you will know how the slides will inflate and if they will reach the ground and what issues there might be evac'ing from the upper deck.

2. Gather volunteers to do a slide test. Take your 853 people, one by one and test, break them into the groups that might evac through certain exits. This is to test if the slides actually work the way they do.

3. When they do the actual test, they should test the aircraft the same way Boeing tested the 777: 90 seconds and only 4 doors (half the doors). They need to get everyone out within 90 seconds to get everyone out.

Anything less is a joke, and frankly, would jeopardize lives.
Airbus really needs to rethink this....FAST!

baw716



David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 12519 times:

The tough-as-nails attitude towards the 737 was because it was based on a design certified under 1960s safety laws, not 1980s ones as with the competition (A320). Without the automatically-opening overwing exits, the 737NG simply wouldn't have met the then-current (mid-90s) certification requirements - presumably the classic 737 exits were too heavy and cumbersome to allow for a sufficiently speedy evacuation. Hence, without this modification, the JAA would actually have been going soft on Boeing and allowed an aircraft through that was substandard to contemporary thinking on safety (as opposed to the opposite, being hard on Boeing for the sake of it).

If I recall correctly, the 737 hatches are the only narrow-body overwing hatches to be hinged. This is mainly because of AAIB/CAA critism of the hatches in the British Airtours Manchester Airport Fire. Perhaps the safety card was more to blame, however, as a passenger placed the hatch inside the cabin, thus restricting access, rather than throwing it out the hole.


User currently offlineCrosswind From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 2598 posts, RR: 58
Reply 12, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 12221 times:
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Boeing was forced to re-design the overwing exits on the 737NG because they are too small to meet current regulations. The A320 was certified under later regulations, and the overwing exits are wider than those on the 737.

The Boeing made representations to the JAA that while it would be very difficult and costly to increase the size of the overwing exits, if they developed a new hinged opening method would allow the exits to be opened more quickly if required.

The JAA accepted that while the 737NG failed to meet the current regulations in terms of exit size, the hinged openings allowed the exits to be used more quickly - increasing the time window available for them to be used for evacuation in an emergency. Thus the new 737NG provided an equivelant level of safety to the new regulations.

Regards
CROSSWIND


User currently offlineRedDragon From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 1135 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 11909 times:

Regarding the original 777 evacuation trial and the final problem passenger, taken from the excellent 21st Century Jet by Karl Sabbagh:

The test engineer's account of what happened next was carefully worded: 'There were vocal and reasonable commands to attract her to the rear of the airplane, and then there was physical assistance, once she got to the door-4 area, to get her down the slide.' In other words, she was shouted at, and then thrown down the slide, as any good flight attenndant would be expected to do in an emergency.

The rest of the passengers had all left the plane within eighty-seven seconds, but the final passenger led to the evacuation exceeding the target of ninety seconds:

'By the time she and the two flight attendants who had stayed behind to assist her got on the ground, we were up somewhere in the 93½-second time frame. So we experienced what we've assessed as approximately a six-second delay, because of the circumstances of that last passenger getting off.'

It could have been worse. On a 747 evacuation test one passenger hid in the lavatory until everyone else had left and it was assumed that the test was over. When the count on the ground revealed one missing passenger, his head was then seen peeping out of the doorway.

Ther was some anxiety among the 777 test team as to whether the FAA would consider that they had passed the test or not. But a few days later, after studying the videotapes, which established that the delay was due neither to the plane design nor to some fault in the evacuation drill, the FAA granted the 777 one more certificate to its growing collection, bringing the plane ever nearer to the day when it would be allowed to fly paying passengers in revenue service.


In other news..... cheers, 777236ER and Crosswind for clearing up the reasons as to the 737NG's modified overwing exits. I've often wondered before about the safety card graphics that show a passenger effortlessly removing the feather-light hatch and placing it neatly on the exit row of seats, the armrests of which have been conveniently raised...  Big grin

Oh, and Baw716: re. 3. When they do the actual test, they should test the aircraft the same way Boeing tested the 777: 90 seconds and only 4 doors (half the doors). They need to get everyone out within 90 seconds to get everyone out.

-- that's not just the way that Boeing tested the 777, it's the standard by which any manufacturer of large aircraft needs to test.

Rich


User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7958 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 11431 times:

I understand, Airbus did not want to conduct live tests in dark. They, however simulated or are going to simulate such hostile situations on the computer.

Before you scream murder: The current rules do not rely on scientific knowledge; in fact they are wholly arbitrary. There is no smoke, no fire and the distance from one emergency exit to the next is as arbitrary as the 90 seconds rule is.

Please read this article: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0UBT/is_23_18/ai_n6266538



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8305 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 11167 times:

I see this first test as a measurement of how A can move a lot of people through the doors in a very short time.

I have no doubt that A will successfully demonstrate a full 550 pax test under normal testing conditions later.

Actually, I would think it would be good to have the first test at night also - people would not be able to see how FAR down the ground is from the upper deck!


User currently offlineVSLover From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1897 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 11074 times:

how high off the ground are the second level doors? i would be terrified to go down the chute from up there!

User currently offlineBaw716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2028 posts, RR: 27
Reply 17, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 9971 times:

RedDragon,
Thanks for the clarification. However, if Airbus is suggesting a 45 second test, and if you are saying that 90 seconds is the standard for all large aircraft needs to test, what am I missing? I reread both the posts and I still didn't get it.
Thanks
baw716



David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offlineRedDragon From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 1135 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 9891 times:

Airbus isn't proposing a shorter test (that would be madness from their point of view  Smile) - it's going to be to the standard 90s... I think the confusion probably came from AA737-823's post (reply 5), with his (albeit genius) line about trying to run the test with 853 Italians  Big grin

Rich


User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 19, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 9308 times:

I had understood (perhaps incorrectly) that Airbus would run the test in 45 seconds with all the doors open rather than 90 seconds with half the doors open.

User currently offlineLuftaom From Australia, joined May 1999, 427 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 8066 times:

Wasn't there some public law litigation with regards to the testing of the evac on the 773 - whereby boeing only did a partial cabin evac (to account for the strech) and then managed to get the certification approved over the 772 approval? I have a funny feeling Ralph Nader was involved somewhere.

I really draw a hard line with regards to safety issues like this ... but if Airbus wants to try getting 800 odd people out with the slides inflated to start with then I really dont have a problem with this. Especially given the fact that actually getting onto a slide is rather dangerous in itself. There have been some terrible injuries sustained amongst cabin crew practicing the drill at numerous airlines (principally by jumping to short and not clearing the plane before landing on the slide). Not to mention the very real possibilities of ankle and knee damage when meeting the hard tarmac at the bottom of the slides. I would imagine that with a new aircraft of this size, it makes good sence to do a more controlled test to start with it, and then use this to make some fine tuning before doing a proper and thorough certification testing regime.


User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 60
Reply 21, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 8030 times:

this is only a harbinger of things to come.....they WILL eventually pack this plane with 800+ passengers........can you say "sardine"..hohoho!!!!!


"Up the Irons!"
User currently offlineWhitehatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 7934 times:

The A380 trials will be like sex...best trying it with the lights on first then trying it in the dark!

It makes a lot of sense to graduate the testing rather than taking the chance of major injuries. Demonstrating it can be done in daylight conditions, then repeating the test under progressively more difficult conditions, is a commonsense approach when there will be over 800 people involved. Any problems will then show up under controlled conditions rather than a major people pile happening due to some unforseen factor.


User currently offlineN757KW From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 435 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7672 times:

Okay, stupid comment of the day........What's that rumbling noise? Stampede!!!!

Okay, I vaguely remember a story on TV concerning the 747 evacuation tests. It seems it took several times before it passed. For some reason, I want to say it was done by American Airlines when they first got the aircraft. I could be wrong, memory is not what it used to be. I suspect it will take the A380 a few times to get it right.

Just my thoughts anyway.

N757KW



"What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
User currently offline777STL From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3656 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (9 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6345 times:

"how high off the ground are the second level doors? i would be terrified to go down the chute from up there!"

No joke! It'd be a shame if someone got seriously hurt in this demonstration. The second level has to be at least forty feet off the ground.

So they're testing 853 people? That means they'll have 853 seats in the plane right? I'd love to see a picture of that.

-77



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