Updating airline technology needed problems

no danger of premature cracking.” Yet only a month earlier, in a motion submitted as part of a protracted lawsuit in Kansas involving allegations of flawed work on the 737 production line, Boeing had stated that the NG fuselage was considered “existing” and “unchanged” from the Classic.

The 737 Classics were supposed to have a safe service life of 60,000 flights.

Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and the airplane pitched forward.

The Los Angeles controller asked the pilot to repeat the message.

She was a frequent flyer on Southwest and was happy that, during boarding, together with a guy in the aisle seat, she had psyched other passengers into not taking the seat between them.

She was settled and doing homework when there was an ear-splitting bang like a loud gunshot.

Even 45 years after the first 737 flew, airlines are so hungry for the latest model 737s that Boeing can barely meet the demand.

Single-aisle jets carrying between 120 and 200 passengers, like the 737, are the sweet spot of the airplane business for both Boeing and its European rival, Airbus, generating a large part of their profits.

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The NG had new wings, engines, and avionics systems to match the Airbus.In fact, to meet that standard, they must be judged to be capable of flying twice that number, 120,000 flights—a safety margin, supposedly, of 100 percent.But the Southwest 737 had accumulated 39,781 cycles, a number so alarmingly below the bar set for safety that it has thrown into question the entire safety regime.“You look at something like that and you say ‘Wow!This is not just a Monday Morning Mistake on a production line.There is something deeper here,’ ” said Gene Doub, a former air-crash investigator for the NTSB, about the kind of failure the board had found in the case of Flight 812.As a blast of air rushed through the cabin, Malvini Redden felt reassured by the flight attendants’ composure.

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