I once was a confirmed Douglas guy. Loved the 8's, liked the 9's, really liked the 10's (found the 11's tolerable). Went to the 747 and 727 and grew to like them but missed the DAC's. Spent a lifetime in five years on A320/319's and came to really dislike them. I've been on the 737 NG
's for the last couple of years and have come to love them. Seems the Boeing engineers finally listened to us on a few of the bigger issues.
The problem as I see it (remember the saying about opinions...)? 1. Airbus likes composites in vulnerable places; 2. Airbus believes everything Honeywell and Smiths tells them about flight controls and FMC's; and 3. What a few of you have mentioned as the language problem. (In all fairness I have to admit that the TAT probe on the NG
makes a great Jetway target and the Static Port on the right side just forward of the cargo door does the same for the belt loader operator.)
I'm afraid we did it to ourselves. It's called "Simplified English" and is specified in ATA 104. I've been known to rant and even rave about it but never been caught or accused of saying anything positive about "simplified english".
How can you expect a technically minded individual (that would be a mechanic) to be able to glean any useful information out of a language limited to a 1000 word vocabulary, seven word sentences, and three sentence paragraphs?
Thirty years ago I took a course called "Technical Writing" where I was taught to write to the level of a technician qualified to disassemble, repair, and reassemble highly complicated devices (those would be airplanes). The purpose of the course was to ensure that the writer wouldn't be misunderstood while passing on the needed data to the technician expected to do the work. (The writer was also taught not to insult the intellegence of the reader.)
Now we have "Human Factors" training which is supposed to compensate for the lack of training of those same technically minded individuals.
(Okay enough ranting about language...)
Boeing aircraft are easier to maintain because they leave out the unneeded "bells and whistles" and have enough of the older design engineers around to remember what it's like to have a mechanic beating on their desks because they designed something to be thrown up in the air while the plane is assembled around it.
Airbus doesn't have too many of those engineers around. Have any of you tried to work on the terminal block installations on the end of the forward avionics racks? You need to be skinny, long, ambidexterous, and double-jointed.
The avionics component suites in the MD
-11, B-717, B-737NG, B-777, and the Airbusiiii (subtract i's until you're happy) are essentially the same. It's the software that makes the differences. If an avionics tech can troubleshoot one the others are no great challenge. Until he has to replace components. Airbus threw quite a few up in the air and built their planes around them.
I'm on the NG
's now and loving it. They remind me of the promises my recruiter made to me in the 60's with one big difference; They're coming true...
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533