Ertro wrote:Revelation wrote:FAA deciding it won't approve current gen cockpits on new clean sheets
I am somehow perplexed how this statement has been developing. I could be very wrong but I have the impression that this started at some press interview of somebody not actually from FAA at all and then that very ambiguous press quote was mangled and massaged several times in here each time changing a little bit what was said and now over the time it has evolved into some kind of a fact when that "fact" is 10th hand rumour at best.
Does there exist any actual direct source to state this as a fact or even anything more than a.net figment of imagination?
And second question. What does "current gen" exactly mean in this context?
Without looking at the exact ANet records. Within a few days of each other there was the statement by CEO Calhoun, and my friend on the NMA project told me that they needed to develop a new cockpit based on the issues identified during the 737Max investigations based on the regulators. Of course, technically there is no "law" or "regulation" currently in place that requires that. However, I have worked with regulators for years in the Nuclear Power industry and have a really good idea how this comes about and why it could be very real.
The vast majority of Nuclear Power Plants in the world (USA included) were constructed and licensed under earlier generation standards; that in retrospect, we would now do differently. In fact, the new requirements are in fact often much different.
The plant I was directly employed at was constructed and licensed under the Atomic Energy Commission as part of their "Atoms for Peace" initiative (pre Nuclear Regulatory Commission). The NRC regulations only allow the NRC to force compliance to newer standards in the older plants in the event of a truly major issue (such as several lack of instrumentation issues that led to the 3 Mile Island partial core meltdown: There were no water level instruments for the reactor - because it was supposed to be always flooded; and the operators did not know that there was a steam bubble in the reactor that uncovered the core, and shut pumps down that was pumping cold water into the reactor. There are now multiple, with different technology, reactor water level instrument systems - a NRC forced retrofit).
But that does not mean that the regulators (the NRC) does not desire that plants upgrade and modify existing systems to current standards - or at least to closer to current standards.
The plants also find that the original license does not allow for adoption of modern instruments and other improvements without an NRC approved license change. So what the NRC often does is say; we can approve that if you upgrade your Closed Cooling water system to "Safety Related" and many other changes. Over the years not only was the Closed Cooling system upgraded, the Spent Fuel system was completely re-piped to modern standards, additional emergency feed pumps were added, 2 additional emergency diesel generators were added, etc. Every one of those were multi million dollar projects. Not a one of them was required by regulations or law.
One could say to the NRC that we believe we have the technical justification to change this license item - and we will prevail in court. The NRC says "Fine" we'll be happy to approve it then after 5-7 years of legal battles and likely millions of $ in legal and other fees. It's just cheaper and faster to say OK, and incorporate the requested change in the plant or the design of an new project.
I have also consulted or even been assigned to other nuclear plants - and its the same story everywhere (just different systems or upgrades, with the exception of the 3 Mile Island upgrades that the entire industry had to do)
The 737Max crashes identified in part that the historic pilot-aircraft interface appears to be more complicated than desired. Airbus has reported similar concerns although they have more focused on general pilot competency and interface.
I can easily see Both EASA and the FAA taking the lead and telling Boeing with just verbal comments that they will need to do better than that for a future clean sheet (as the NMA Project was then preparing for launch). That while the regulators have not yet developed what they are looking for and the regulations; that just don't expect to be able to propose a cockpit that meets the current rules (and likely even propose to us a new possible standard) Now Boeing (or Airbus) might be able to win use of the existing rules in court. It's not worth the cost of the delay to go there. Cheaper and faster to just say "OK."
Having worked in the Nuclear Industry and seeing how these back and fourth request for upgrades between the various companies and regulators work for items that are not in the current "rules"... This is to me personally a highly likely probability. Its the way the regulators work on many items. Thus I believed my friend when they said that they would have to design a new cockpit, and none of the existing ones would work; and I posted that comment.
Have a great day,