Dec 31, 2014
The unfortunate loss of an Airbus illuminates a problem that is not well known outside of aviation circles.
That is to say any Boeing product can recover from a situation that the Airbus cannot.
China Airlines flight 006, a 747 SP, tumbled from the air in 1985, falling like a leaf 30,000 feet, until the pilots regained control. The aircraft ended up with structures destroyed and engines burned up, but all survived. An Airbus cannot recover from many in-flight situations that any Boeing can recover from.
The reasons are simple:
Airbus structures are lighter and have less strength than in a Boeing to save weight.
Wow! What a rocket-ship concept.
To prevent overstressing, a computer limits the amount of control the pilot has over ailerons, rudder and elevator. The small "handle" that controls the aircraft does not actually input to the flight surfaces. It gives "suggestions" to the computer
A pilot can perform fighter pilot maneuvers with a Boeing.
The Boeing pilot actually flies the plane!
He/she has complete instantaneous control of all flight surfaces, which can be moved to the limits of motion. The degrees of freedom designed into those control surfaces far exceed that on the Airbus.
With an Airbus under ANY circumstances there can only be very shallow banks and climbs, and limits of the rudder, ailerons and elevators cannot exceed these limits without structural failure.
This limitation saved weight and lots of fuel.
Airbus 587 lost the tail when the pilots hit the rudder, causing structural failure and the deaths of all aboard..
On the other hand, with a Boeing,when the pilot moves the yoke the control surfaces actually move.
In addition all Boeing pilots can push those power levers to the wall and obtain 150 percent of normal power on every engine. That engine may have to be replaced when the plane lands, but that power is there.
The philosophy of Airbus was to prohibit under any circumstances the pilot from obtaining more than 75% power from the engines. This extends the time before overhaul at the cost of providing pilots with an option that may save the aircraft. Airbus maintains that "The pilots would damage the engines if left to their own devices."
The Airbus uses a computer system using logic known as "normal law". It cannot be over-ridden in an emergency by the pilot. Remember "Hall", in the movie "Space Odyssey"?
These shortfalls have been well-discussed in the reputable Aviation publication Aviation Week and Space Technology.
If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going.