Bloomberg has a good story looking beyond the Boeing 787 issues at the FAA’s reliance on industry to certify airplanes. The story details a number of cases where flaws crept through the system, leading to deaths–a circumstance, of course, that did not happen with the 787.
We have written a couple of posts about the relationship between the FAA and industry in response to focus following the 787 battery issues. We pointed out this relationship is nothing new.
The Bloomberg piece is well worth reading.
to err is human- to really foul up takes a computer ( super fast idiot ) or a bureaucracy.
Nice quote, but I don’t think it’s true. As the article says, the biggest muck-ups come from assumptions you don’t bother to test.
Battery fire containment: TICK. We have a box and what is a box for, if not to to contain?
Think “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”
Undereducated and underexperienced but initially overconfident.
And here finished off with arrested developement and hubris.
Where humans are around errors are made.
Bureaucracy should take care incidents don’t turn into accidents.
Guess who does the bureaucracy..
“We have written a couple of posts about the relationship between the FAA and industry in response to focus following the 787 battery issues. We pointed out this relationship is nothing new.”
Does this preclude the relationship being changed for the better?
No, but there’s a price to that, one which Congress nor the American people will be willing to spend. There would be tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of civil servants added to the government to make up for the loss of AR/DERs in the aerospace industry. Plus these people are highly skilled, well paid engineers, who aren’t going to be willing to work for a GS-4 pay scale, maybe GS-16… but that’s still dicey. There’s ZERO appetite for what it would take to completely separate the FAA from Industry. Even if it were possible, there would still be massive problems as these FAA people wouldn’t stay on the leading edge of technology, they wouldn’t have the time. Overall it would actually lead to a reduction in aviation safety, in my view. Mainly because there is no will on the part of Congress nor the American people to “do it right”. Certainly not with the “all government is evil” streak that runs through some in this country.
The current system works pretty well. Could it be strengthened, sure, but the main hysteria seems to come from Joe and Jane Sixpack not understanding how the system works, and has worked since its inception.
Howard, I don’t mean to have the whole system revised. I am talking about reducing the dependance on the OEM’s to some degree. That goes for Europe, Canada, Brazil etc.
The system was not always the way it is now.
It’s not just what has happened in the past. My concern is that less oversight will lead to more abuse in the future, which could lead to larger scale, or more frequent incidents.
“The current system works pretty well. Could it be strengthened, sure, but the main hysteria seems to come from Joe and Jane Sixpack …”
Famous last words. The Js have no skin in the game and don’t know f*. Everything is perfect and tomorrow wiil be even better.
You appear to be pretty entrenched in your views.
It is not just the FAA, as the A-300, and later A-300-600R as well as the ATR-72 were certified by European Regulators, and the FAA accepted it, just as the rest of the world accepts FAA certifications. The AA-587 and AE-4184 accidents accounted for 333 fatalities, including the largest number of fatalities from a single accident in this group.
Neither FAA nor EASA was to blame for AA-587. “Investigators ruled that certification rules for how pilots used the rudder were ‘deficient’.”
Didn’t the certification process change over the years ( decades even ).
I seem to remember that initially certifications were a double effort.
Then A330/A340 seem to have been certified in a JAA/FAA cooperation.
Today certifications appear to be in most parts “honored” from the original certification authority.
No sir. The JAA (precurser to today’s EASA) was originally part of the ECAC representing civil aviation. It was made up originally to certify large commerical aircraft (i.e. Airbus) in 1970.
“The JAA started as the Joint Airworthiness Authorities in 1970. Originally, its objectives were only to produce common certification codes for large aeroplanes and for engines in order to meet the needs of European industry and international consortia (e.g., Airbus). After 1987 its work was extended to operations, maintenance, licensing and certification/design standards for all classes of aircraft.”
You missed my point.
Over the years the process of cross national certification has changed towards simpler procedures.
From everbody doing their own thing to cooperation, finally to mutual acceptance of each others certifications.
But I don’t have a timeline for the changes made.
I’m not sure of the B737 rudder incidents fit into the (faulty) ‘certification leading to deaths ‘ scope. If they did, we are applying a magical capability to any kind of certification process, namely the ability to test each and every possible scenario and perhaps even expanding that range. Can it do that? While staying within reasonable limits when it comes to time and cost?
Picking the MD-83 incident, I could be under the influence of a bad memory but wasn’t that one a maintenance related (Alaska Airlines?) issue and not one of the stab design itself?
MD-83 jackscrew was a maintainance issue that exposed the non fail save nature of the nut.
HMMM- RE TWA 800 – Not well publicized was the prior history of that airframe
seems it was bought by TWA from the former owner IRAN military – and all the FAA conformance directives and maintenace issuem may not have been documented or followed. Was that an issue or contributing cause ? who knows ?
Japanese Board report- but note holes found in ss battery case – takes 1400 degrees !!
So lets see – if battery cell case gets holes from one or two cells – something must get VERY hot – with bucu energy !!
Now about the SS outer case in even that battery goes bonkers and melts ???
SAY WHAT ???
No faults found in ANA 787 electrical system: transport safety panel
Mar 29, 2013
The Japan Transport Safety Board’s probe into the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways Co. Boeing 787 said no faults were found in the aircraft’s electrical system after a lithium-ion battery overheated under the cockpit.
The board said Wednesday there might have been a defect either inside the Dreamliner’s battery or in the way it was connected to its charger.
“When the problem occurred, there was no external flow of current from the battery and it was only connected to the battery charger,” Norihiro Goto, the safety board chairman, told reporters in Tokyo. “We can only think of two possibilities — that (there might have been a fault) either inside the battery or in its connection to the charger.”
The board also said that about 10 holes apparently caused by sparks were detected in the stainless-steel battery case, which melts at around 1,400 degrees.
Boeing’s 787s have been grounded worldwide after the ANA Dreamliner made an emergency landing in Kagawa Prefecture on Jan. 16 due to smoke in the cockpit. The lithium-ion battery under the cockpit was later found to be severely damaged and charred.
“The subsequent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that inadequate maintenance led to excessive wear and catastrophic failure of a critical flight control system during flight. The probable cause was stated to be “a loss of airplane pitch control resulting from the in-flight failure of the horizontal stabilizer trim system jackscrew assembly’s acme nut threads. The thread failure was caused by excessive wear resulting from Alaska Airlines’s insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly.”
for the AE 587, a Fighter pilot forgot he was flying a pax jet, and did something no other pilot did before.
TWA 800 nobody knows what happened, though the most likely candidate is a spark in the center fuel tank… that is bad design whether it is or is not the cause of the accident, but it was analysed and evaluated, but the calcs were wrong.
These were not bad certification or FAA mistakes. Airplanes are NOT foolproof, you have to maintain and operate them as intended. How can you make a rule against something that will never happen. Why would you do that?
and even if there are rules, mistakes can be made (TWA 800) – Boeing did not “cover up” their analysis showing that the power cables through the tank were an unacceptable high risk. Their analysis showed it was an acceptable risk. Their calcs were wrong. It happens.
The other two i think are examples of bad oversight. That happens as well, but it is not nearly as widespread or problematic as this post suggests