Yay, a good Airbus vs Boeing bun fight. Love it. I want to put in my £0.02 now.
First, I think the reason Europeans are so defensive of Airbus is because they are constantly accused of unfair practises etc, and the absurdity of these accusations make us a bit argumentative. The fact is that Airbus is relatively new and most of us from Europe had our formative experiences on Boeings, so there is a loyalty to both camps, certainly in my case I didn't get a ride on an Airbus (AF A300B4) til 1990, whereas I'd been riding on Ansett 727s throughout my childhood and then a QF 747-200 when we moved to England in 84. It is Americans with their silly superior "greatest nation on the planet"/"defenders of freedom" delusions that are nationalistic and one-sided.
Anyway there have been some startling inaccuracies in this argument, many by Ravi who claims to have factual info when he flames Iainhol. Here are a few choice errors I must comment on:
1. Airbus could be said to have built the Concorde in as much as it was two of the three main AI partners working along the same lines (except they didn't sell any planes). To say it was AI is obviously incorrect in a literal sense but accurate in a more general way. It was after all the same structure, personnel and goal.
2. Airbus are a superior product, in as much as they are safer (you would think the pilot-centric Boeing would be the safer but look at the stats, compare the 733/4/5 to the A320 family, or the A300/310 to the 767). Airbus are also more hi-tech, make more money, are preferred by pax for their wider cabins (esp narrowbodies) and come with better after-sales service.
3. Boeing did not invent commonality with the 707/727/737. Yes, it's the same fuselage width and nose section, but there is no common type rating for pilots or engineers - the commonality only went as far as reducing R&D costs and mnfring costs, with no thought to reducing operating costs to the airlines.
4. Someone said the F16 was the first FBW plane. Well, who paid for the R&D? The government. Someone else said Boeing were the first with swept wing jets and underwing engines on pylons. Quite right (the Ruskies couldn't hang an engine off a wing til the Il86), but it was all paid for by the gov't. Boeing 0, Airbus 0. One other thing: Concorde is FBW.
5. The 747-400 is no way the first glass cockpit airliner. It's not even the first Boeing glass cockpit. The 744 flight deck was more-or-less transplanted from the 767. But the A310 has a glass cockpit and I think it cam before either of those two. By the way, the A310 cockpit was designed by Porsche, or so I am told.
6. Anyone who thinks I am pro-Airbus will only be vindicated by the above observations. However, I don't agree with the line about pilots who have flown both preferring Airbus. Every pilot I've ever spoken to who has flown both prefer Boeing. Systems are generally duplicated according to engines. A 747 will generally have twice as many of a certain thing as a twin. But a LH pilot friend who has flown A320s, 747s and now 737-300s said the A320 was TWICE AS COMPLEX to operate as the 747-400, and that is backed up by everything I have ever heard first hand. The only plane I have ever heard of that was more complex and "over-engineered" is the Lockheed TriStar.
Anyway, I have to go and tape the second half of 'The Langoliers', a Stephen King novella filmed for the small screen, about a TriStar that goes back in time (767 in the book). To summarise, I love Boeing but I wish they hadn't lost the plot, and I love Airbus cos they have dared to move forward and do new stuff. I just love flying, full stop. Have fun everyone!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz