Monday, June 01, 2009

Airbus, GM, Chrysler, Government Ownership, and Safety

Today we have word of another aircraft crashing due to electrical problems. Since the SwissAir 111 crash, and in fact, even before then, aircraft manufacturers have known that there was a problem with electrical wiring used on aircraft. In the mid 1990's, a wiring system was finally found by Boeing that finally addressed these problems. Since 1996, all new Boeing aircraft have used "TKT" wiring, which is a composite of a Teflon inner insulator, a Kapton intermediate layer, and a Teflon outer layer. This solves all of Kapton's problems and introduces none of Teflon's own problems. But it wasn't until 2005 that Airbus changed ALL of their wiring to a similar "TKT" construction. For years Airbus continued to use Kapton wiring in it's in-flight entertainment systems despite it's known failure modes.

It was the In-flight entertainment system wiring that is believed to have been the ignition source in SwissAir 111. To make matters worse, all Airbus aircraft (and many new Boeing products) are "Fly by Wire" aircraft, meaning there is no physical connection between the flight controls and the flight control surfaces. These aircraft designs are aerodynamically unstable and could not be flown by a human without computer assistance. Therefore, loss of electrical power or flight computer connectivity in the flight control system will result in the loss of the aircraft virtually 100% of the time. This compounds Airbus's culpability. They KNEW the wiring they were using was faulty and they CONTINUED to use it, in an aircraft design that was inherently SUSCEPTIBLE to wiring failure. All of the Airbus aircraft built prior to 2005 has this type of wiring in it.

You are probably asking how this relates to GM and government ownership. It is simple, EADS, which is the parent company of Airbus is a government controlled monopoly owned by the French Government, the Spanish Government , the German Government, and formerly the British Government. Therefore they are essentially immune to government restrictions or lawsuits. They enjoy what is essentially sovereign immunity from prosecution. Therefore they could continue to use kapton wiring, which was lighter and cheaper, than what Boeing was using, and undercut Boeing's price, without fear that they would suffer any repercussions.

GM and Chrysler both are about to become Government owned entities. The Obama Administration has further decreed that all auto manufacturers must meet new mileage standards that will be difficult to meet without compromising crash safety. But GM and Chrysler won't have to worry about that because the government will not pursue any enforcement action against them if they fail to meet either crash safety or fuel efficiency standards. The government has their backs.


Anonymous ttyler5 said...

The public reaction to the creation of "Government Motors" has been thoroughly negative.

People are very aware of the drawbacks inherent in government-owned companies, such as the probelms you mention above.

The Rasmussen poll showed that there are nearly as many Americans already in favor of *a boycott of the new GM* as there are who support (only 26%) the Obama Bailout.

June 07, 2009 2:28 AM  

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