Engineer alleges potential fatal flaw in Airbus A380

LA Times article
Here’s hoping he’s way wrong.

Although the plane can carry up to 800 passengers, it’s supposedly going to be confugured to carry about 500-550 people. Can you imagine what a freaking horror it would be for that kind of disaster?

Not the only problem with Airbus IMO.


You mean, aside from not being American?

Sorry, bad link. Here’s the link:


Okay, I’ll bite. What are the other problems?

No idea what the poster is refering to, but many are calling the project a poor business model. The latter day Concorde. Time will tell.

The guy’s biggest mistake is that he didn’t seek legal counsel, or else had crappy legal counsel, before making his concerns public. He probably could have moved back to the US and worked through the FAA, which would have likely been quite eager to point out flaws in the A380, it not being Boeing and American and all. Whistleblowing as an engineer to save lives, protect the public, and do the Right Thing is something that a real engineer is supposed to do. But if you do it in a way that nullifies your message and allows others to silence you, then you’ve failed.

While American companies cover things up all the time, European (continental) ones have a reputation for being especially in bed with their respective governments. I could tell a couple of stories about power plant problems and the related whitewashings (most of them involving violations of emissions controls and false reporting of emissions), but that would be really stupid for me to do on a public message board.

That linky no worky either.

This one does.

Well, one of the things I was referring to was their rudder. Remember something about one breaking because the pilot used the rudders?

Now, pilots are trained from birth practically to use all their controls and being able to make the necessary imputs.

Most certified airplanes are able to have full control; imput , without structural damage, at any speed below max maneuvering speed.

Now Airbus comes along and says, no, do not do what everyone else does, do not do what you were trained to do all your career, do it different. It is one of the most blatant disregard of human interaction with a machine I have ever seen.

Why are most aircraft safety of flight controls all the same from plane to plane? Why has the Beech Baron with just a throttle position different than most caused so much trouble? Why did Cessna put the mixture control back where it always was in other planes shortly after the 175 was introduced?

Now, if you have only flown Airbus and no you can’t use the rudder, then you are fine. Pilots do not start out in an Airbus. It takes years and all the other planes, you can use the rudder below max maneuver speed.

They have other quality control issues but I have no way to cite them, just what I’ve read and seen over the years.

But … To disregard the basic instincts and training of pilots is just so wrong. When things get busy, people revert to their oldest and strongest habits and that is one reason pilots train and train so that they do have the proper response when things go bad in a hurry. To have such a basic and critical difference in an plane that is only flown by pilots who have many thousands of hours of training and experience and to expect them to be able to un-train themselves because the Airbus folks were too cheap to make the critical parts of the planes properly strong, well, makes me worry a bunch.


Not to mention the unnerving habit of the front wheels jamming, like the Jet Blue plane.

Because retractable gear on any airplane has moving parts, all retract gears have a certain inherent potential to fail. That same sort of problem has occured on Boeings and other other airplanes, it’s not unique to Airbus.

I think Gus’s complaints are with those flaws that appear unique to Aibus. Like the rudder issue, the outflow valve control…

I lurk at, and see those Boeing vs. Airbus debates there all the time. It’s quite tiresome, really.

Now, if there’s a serious problem with the A380, or one of its components, then I applaud this engineer for stepping up to the plate. As Una said, it’s his job to do so. I hope all turns out well for him and his family.

Whether the A380 will be a succes or not remains to be seen. I just look at it as another milestone in aviation history, and it wouldn’t have made a difference to me whether it was Airbus or Boeing that built it.

If Airbus was truly bad, wouldn’t they fall out of the sky more often? I mean, seriously, they’ve been around for a number of years now, in various sizes. Purely looking at statistics, they have roughly the same accident rates Boeing planes have.

I’d say that in this day and age, aircraft maintenance is the deciding factor in the safety of commercial aviation. Both Toulouse and Seattle planes are safe as a vault when they roll out of the hangars.

Have previous Airbuses had the same cabin pressurization system the A380 now has?

I don’t know, really. Like I said, if this is an issue, then I applaud the engineer for coming forward.

I was merely responding to (mostly) Gus’ post - as if Airbus planes were somehow inherently more dangerous than Boeing planes. The stats don’t seem to support that.