Ground the Airbus? by William John Cox

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by William John Cox
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.thevoters.org
June 19, 2009

Since entering service in 1974 with many technological innovations, such as computerized fly-by-wire control systems, user-friendly cockpits, and extended use of composite materials, 5,717 aircraft have been manufactured by Airbus, an European aerospace company. More than 5,100 Airbuses remain in service.

Not including losses attributable to terrorism, rebellion or military action, Airbuses have been involved in 23 fatal crashes causing the deaths of 2,584 passengers, crew members and people on the ground. In addition, there have been five nonfatal accidents causing 21 serious injuries.

While the overall number of accidents and fatalities are not disproportionate to the crash experience of Boeing aircraft, three of the Airbus crashes involved a separation of the composite vertical stabilizer (tail fin) from the fuselage. Five hundred, or one in five of the Airbus deaths, including 228 from Air France Flight 447, resulted from these three crashes.

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Comet, Airbus and Spaceplane: The Past, Present and Future of Commercial Aviation by William John Cox

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by William John Cox
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.thevoters.org
June 14, 2009

As commercial aviation becomes increasingly dependent upon computerized digital technology and less reliant upon hands-on human control, we have to consider the crash of Air France Flight 447 into the Atlantic Ocean, with the loss of all aboard, and other similar disasters in the light of our collective experience and expectations.

The Comet

First flown in 1949 and introduced into passenger service in1951, the Comet was the first pressurized, jet-propelled commercial aircraft. Powered by four “Ghost” turbojet engines, the Comet was found to be fuel efficient above 30,000 feet and flew at almost 500 miles per hour, far faster than the most advanced piston-powered airplanes in service at the time.

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