Thursday, July 31, 2008

Difference between Europe and America

Heh. The difference in thought across the Atlantic even goes down into how much the flight control system lets the pilot do.

Airbus believes that the aircraft should keep the pilot within a specific envelope. The pilot can not access all of the control authority of the control surfaces.

Boeing believes that the aircraft should give the pilot the all of the control authority that the aircraft can give.

Airbus believes in boundaries and sort of a pilot watchdog. Boeing believes that pilots are responsible enough to use the aircraft effectively.

This basic premise led to the American Airlines Flight 587 crash. The pilot did something outside of the boundary and the plane broke as a response. The plane was not fly-by-wire, so this comment about envelope protection is not completely accurate. At any rate, the pilot should never be able to provide an input that breaks and aircraft.

I bring this up because I was reading an article about the control system for the new Bombardier aircraft, which sort of has a hybrid of those two philosophies. The C-Series pilot will get a warning when he violates the envelope, but he can still do it after the warning.

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