Okay, it's time I got some soul cleansing and "purge myself of all the evil demons from within my soul... amen! I can't hear you... AMEN!!!"
My side of the Airbus/Boeing arguement is built around Airbus' philosophy of designing the pilot out of the cockpit. I don't like the fact that everything the pilot does goes thru a computer first and then it (the computer) decides if it's a good or bad command, then executes it (depending). What if something goes wrong that the programmers never thought of? A computer only knows how much it's been programmed.
Let's say an engine prylon is damaged and the engine manages to go up and over the wing and rips out the hydrolics on it's way over (like what happened to the AA DC-10). Now the designers/manufacturers probably considered this possiblity so minute that they thought it 'impossible' to happen and so didn't program the computer to recognize this would happen. What happens when it does? True the DC-10 did crash...
A better example would be the UAL 232 disaster. Again, it was another DC-10. The center engine exploded and sent shrapnel flying. Pieces of the fan disc severed the hydrolic lines and jammed between both the right and left ailerons. The crew had to invent a way to get that plane on the ground. If that aircraft was designed like an Airbus, I WILL bet anyone here $200 million that they wouldn't have made it to Sioux City.
How many times have you tried to get Word to do something you could have easily done on hand but couldn't do using the program?
A computer allows for no invention at all. If there is a unique problem with the aircraft and you must invent a way to get it on the ground, the computer won't let you. This has got to be incredibly frustrating (not to mention scary) knowing that you can do something to save the aircraft and it's occupants, but the computer won't let you.
I like Boeing's philosophy much better. They believe the final say rests with the pilot. They make it difficult for the pilot to disable the computer, but not impossible. If he wants to stall the aircraft, the computer pushes up the throttle. If he continues, an indicator illuminates on the EFIS display. If he still presists, horns and bells go off. If he still presists, the stick shaker comes on. If he still presists, a voice comes on "stall... stall... stall" If the pilot lets go of the yoke (and it must be noted that he must physically hold the throttles back, else they automatically go full foward) and the throttle, the computer takes over and recovers. The pilot can put the aircraft into a full stall if he/she shall desire. I'm not advocating that the pilot should do this. I'm just trying illustrate a point here.
A footnote: the forces on the yoke, as you get closer to the stall, increase significantly. A pilot must get his copilot into the action to stall the aircraft because the forces are too much.
If any of you are wondering how I know this... I saw a video on the testing of airliners for one of my classes here at Purdue University. During a video the camera crew was aboard for the inflight testing of an MD-11 and the test pilot narriated his actions step-by-step.
As for the bitterness that is witnessed in this forum, I agree there is way too much here. We need to lighten up. One person posted a message poking fun at F/A's announcements and he received alot of angry messages. It was only in good humor... but unfortunately most people aren't.
I hope this follows the rules and illustrates my point. Let me know if you need more information.