Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Fri Oct 20, 2000 9:28 am

I have seen several discussions on the 600+- passenger AirBus A3XX and Boeing 747X Stretch superjumbo jets. Additional seats means a significant increase in sales if the long haul routes pay off. However, no mention of the safety factor. What is managements answer to the safety question? What has airline management to say about the safety factor? Additional seats means additional human beings that will be lost if an accident occurs.

Maybe CFT, maintanance error and all human error
will be eliminated by the time the super jumbos go into service. I'm not so sure.

James Retta
Posts: 817
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2000 10:34 am

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Fri Oct 20, 2000 11:11 am

I suppose their logic is that if one engine has to be shut off in flight the flight will take longer. If both engines must be shut off in flight they will be up there all day!


RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Fri Oct 20, 2000 1:49 pm

Ok, I'm sick of hearing about "the safety factor". What a red herring this is. I'm sorry, how do an extra 150 passengers somehow put the A3xx in a different league from a 747? It's not like its the difference between a 747 and a football stadium?!? Boeing's site says that the maximum passenger load in a 747 would be about 520; Airbus is talking about around 650 (ballpark).

Let me throw out some analogies using parallel logic. Hopefully this will shut down this goofy "what if one goes down" concept. Frankly, if a 737 goes down, that's damn bad enough; if a 747 goes down, truly,what's an extra 100 or so mean? Anyway, to the analogies:

A chemical that causes cancer in 52 out of 100,000 people would be ok to release in the environment, but one that caused cancer in 65 out of 100,000 would be unacceptable.

30mph head-on collisions in a given model of car are likely to be fatal 5.2% of the time. However, another model is likely to be fatal 6.5% of the time.

A building in San Fransisco houses 5,200 office workers, and is located in prime earthquake territory. Across the street, a building holds 6,500 people.

Do you see what I mean? What the hell difference does an extra 10-30% people make??? The insistent chatter about "oh no when the first one goes down it's going to be such a huge tragedy Airbus will never recover" is laughable. Of COURSE it'll be a tragedy, just like when an A319 goes down!!! or a CRJ!! or a Piper Cub!!

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Fri Oct 20, 2000 9:26 pm

The main difference from the perspective of an American airline would be:

3 daily flights with a 767 - one goes down: pay 5,000,000,000 to the relatives and 100,000,000 for replacement aircraft.

1 daily flight in an A3xx - one goes down: 15,000,000,000 to the relatives, and 250,000,000 for a new plane

Okay - those numbers are not based on actual PAX capacity or real payments to relatives or aircraft prices, they are given to make a point: The more people per plane, the more expensive it is going to get, especially with all those mad lawyers in America...

That does not mean I am against the 747x - I would really like to see this beauty in the skies!

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Fri Oct 20, 2000 11:53 pm

you totally misread my point: the difference between a 747 and an a3xx is MARGINAL meaning that there is fundamentally a very small percentage (about 20%) more people on board. Very different from, say, 10 times or 100 times as many, which I grant would make a difference. But this argument that an additional 100-150 people somehow represents a wildly different class of safety concern is honestly just wacky.

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Sat Oct 21, 2000 12:53 am

I do not think that there is a safety concern of putting 150 extra people in a plane - that would be stupid - if anything else, modern airplanes seem to get safer and safer all the time, so better 150 more pax in a modern jet than fly them around in DH Comets. You could just as well argue that concentrating people in cities is unwise because of floods and earthquakes and hurricanes, or that 6,000,000,000 people on one planet is risky, because if a comet hits earth, they all die (  I'd love to see that, though  )

What I mean is: From a reparations point of view, a big plane is a big risk and a small plane is a small risk. 20% more pax is 20% more risk etc. Also, when a big plane hits the ground, there is a bigger hole. Imagine an A3xx doing the Concorde manouvre and you'll realise there would not be a hotel visible anywhere anymore. So, compared with small and frequent services, big and low-frequency services are potentially more threatening when things go wrong. (Just think of all the media attention a big plane generates that a small one never would)

Do a probability calculation: If on average 1 plane in 10 crashes, and you have 3 flights a day, you will have 1 crash every 3 days. If you have 1 flight a day, you will have 1 crash every 10 days. If you think in weeks: 2 crashes a week versus 1 crash in two out of three weeks. So: the more flights you have, the more probable it is that you get your fair share of accidents. If you have less flights, you might fly forever without a crash, but on the other hand, if the crash happens immediately, you're in deep shit.

Moral of the story: It does not realy matter how many people you put on board. The risk does not increase. BUT: If and when shit happens, you would prefer it to happen in a small plane.

PS: 20% more pax is not marginal. 20% is a lot.

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Mon Oct 23, 2000 3:01 pm

Agreed,true, it would be unrealistic to stop making trains longer because there might be a train wreck.

However, a single event might be overwhelming. Can a fire department or hospital in any city, any where in the world handle such a single catastrophic event? If 100-600 people were wounded at one time could any hospital handle the emergency? (Even now, here in Taiwan, most hospitals are running on mostly nurses because owners can pay nurses less money). The answer, of course, is "no".

James retta

Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 3:59 am

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Mon Oct 23, 2000 6:56 pm

This stupid subject belongs in the other "Nerds" forum. Not in this technical Forum that is meant for just that. Aeronautical technicalities, and not these silly "what ifs".

RE: Boeing And Airbus Forgotten Factor

Mon Oct 23, 2000 9:03 pm

To: R347216

I decided not to put you in charge of the life boats. But
thank you for the technical information.

James Retta

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