May 28 — Aviation-industry leaders are proposing tougher rules for jetliners to further enhance the safety of the swelling number of long flights over water or polar regions, according to people familiar with the matter.
THE SUGGESTED regulations, subject to approval by the Federal Aviation Administration and foreign regulators, call for applying a common set of safety standards to every type of aircraft used on these challenging routes. The proposal covers factors ranging from engine reliability, to onboard fire-fighting and communications equipment, to the adequacy of emergency landing strips along the way.
The effort has been particularly contentious because if the changes go into effect as drafted, some older U.S.-registered aircraft and many more long-range, wide-body planes operated by foreign airlines would face expensive refurbishment, industry officials said.
The package breaks important ground in other ways, too. It is the first time an FAA-sponsored advisory committee — representing manufacturers, engine makers, airlines and pilots — has reached consensus on a fundamental issue that has divided the industry for years. After 18 months of sharp debate, the group agreed that all commercial jets, regardless of their age or number of engines, should adhere to comparable safety standards when crossing vast and uninhabited stretches of the globe. The FAA previously signaled it would likely embrace a unified industry position.
Today, even specially maintained two-engine planes such as Boeing Co.’s 777 must comply with tighter operational requirements and typically carry more-advanced safety equipment than three-engine and four-engine models. On lengthy trans-Pacific flights lasting 14 hours or more, for instance, some twinjets carry enough fire-retardant gas in their cargo holds to last nearly four hours, while older three- and four-engine planes are required to have only about one-third as much.
Nonetheless, twinjets are restricted in how far they can fly from potential places to put down in an emergency. By contrast, three- and four-engine aircraft, even those built decades earlier and lacking state-of-the-art safety hardware, can fly almost any route, regardless of how far they stray from emergency strips
Such distinctions have been at the center of a long-running marketing and regulatory dispute. Boeing consistently has advocated “a level playing field” entailing comparable equipment standards for all aircraft, while European rival Airbus has resisted changes that would impose additional safety burdens on its long-range, four-engine A340 and other Airbus models.
However, all of that may change as a result of the breakthrough in recommending regulations. Participants in the deliberations have declined to release details, and the final document may not become public until the fall. Getting regulators to approve the rules could take much longer, given new models with ever-longer ranges and heightened carrier interest in flights stretching as long as 18 hours over desolate polar territories or vast stretches of ocean.
Since extended, twin-engine jets operating over water “have been held to higher standards of safety than other” aircraft, “it is now time to re-examine those requirements” and perhaps “apply them to all airplanes,” according to Chet Ekstrand, Boeing’s point man in this debate, who declined to elaborate about the proposal. Airbus also has a representative on the advisory group.
To a large extent, safety lessons gleaned from Boeing’s 777, the most-advanced and reliable twin-engine aircraft flying extended routes, would be used to improve the safety margins of three- and four-engine planes built in the U.S. and Europe and frequently still operating under 1960s-vintage safeguards. Mandates for older models, among other things, envision installation of upgraded fire-suppression systems and replacement of conventional radios with the latest satellite-communication links. Four-engine Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s, along with MD-11s and DC-10s that have three engines, would be subject to more-stringent rules regarding the status of other equipment. But those planes will continue to have more leeway to follow routes far away from landing strips.
Reducing the hazards of such flying is hardly a theoretical exercise
During the past seven years, at least 27 jumbo jets made so-called diversions, or unscheduled landings, at mid-Pacific emergency strips, due to a variety of mechanical, weather or medical problems. But many aviation experts worry that numerous standby fields in Alaska, Russia and elsewhere may be unsuitable due to extreme cold, fierce winds, frequent winter storms that cause poor visibility, and lack of emergency trucks or other equipment.
Boeing’s 777 would get a boost by having to carry a bit less reserve fuel than it does now, thereby allowing it to carry more passengers on certain Pacific routes; eventually 777s could fly as far as four hours from emergency strips, or 16% farther than under current limits.
Airbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1296 times:
Neither do i ...never kno airbus had a problem with LROPS. but they made it up. but i dont understand the .pdf file by airbus. can someone summarize it? so does this mean that 4 engine aircraft are also restricted like twin engines?
RogueTrader From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1291 times:
Indianguy says: since the Boeing 777 is clearly losing out to the A340?
others disagree: the lack of sales the A340 has had in the last year [is causing deep discounts on its price]
---Bloomberg News, March 7, 2002
Airbus took no orders for the A330/A340 in 2001, while Boeing took 30 for the 777.
---Aviation Week & Space Technology March 4, 2002
57 A330/A340 Family aircraft [have been delivered in total]
---New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) February 19, 2002
>To date, 600 [777s] have been ordered since the 777 was launched in 1990, and nearly 400 have been delivered.
---(Malaysian National News Agency) Malaysia Economic News March 29, 2002, Friday
You really dislike the United States, its government, and American corporations. Almost all of your posts reflect this in some way. I don't mind criticisms of the United States, and I am frequently critical of the government myself. However, virtually every time you post something, you're arguing that everything has something to do with the evil intent of the American government, its corporations, or its people.
Were you hurt in some way by America, an American or an American company? Your obsession marginalizes the value of your posts because you obviously have an agenda to promote and try to twist all topics to reflect your anti-American feelings.
The committee that is suggesting the changes in safety rules reached a consensus on the matter and also INCLUDES AN AIRBUS representative.
Furthermore, like virtually all safety regulations, the ETOPS rules originated in the USA. If the Americans were concerned about the 777 " losing out to the A340", it would just eliminate the rules, not make the stronger. Enhancing the rules hurts the 747, another product I'm sure you imagine the American government is concerned about so much that it would manipulate safety regulations to protect.
The US government provides no financing to Boeing, has no ownership in Boeing, nor any airline - and is subject to as much lobbying by Airbus and EU interests as it is by Boeing interests. Suggesting that the FAA would make a rule to hurt an Airbus product when an Airbus employee is on the rules committee shows how corrupt and ethically bankrupt you believe America to be: you are, however, mistaken.
QatarAirways From Qatar, joined Sep 2008, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1246 times:
I know the thread is about LROPS and ETOPS but it is not me who brought up the orders, I guess you should look more up the feild to realise who started mentioning orders (You and Indianguy). That article headline was either misleading or inaccurate as I know personally for sure about 2 of these orders. If you could go to Airbus' website and dig the press releases you can find these orders.
QatarAirways From Qatar, joined Sep 2008, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1219 times:
Yes that is true. Only 10 B777 competitors were sold (2 A340-300 and 8 A330-300) compared to the impressive total orders by Boeing. I was just commenting that the article headline (that RougueTrader posted) was in-accurate.