Friday, March 17, 2006

We Gotta Get Out of This Place II

Some new information has come in about the Grand Fandango and 'y'all come' that will be held by Airbus in a few days. Of course, I'm talking about the pending emergency evacuation test of the A380 which was, the last time I looked, set for the 26th.

The last Grand Fandango to be, the Asian Aerospace exhibition in February has come and gone, and the A380 order pad has been gathering dust. Does it seem like a lot of people are waiting for something to happen?

The significant questions to be answered are how many will be seated for the occasion, and how many will actually make it out in 90 seconds.

If a fellow googles A380 evacuation in the news section there WAS a Flight International article that seemed to suggest there would be 750 in the test, but this article was scrubbed by Flight International and they won't let you look at it-all of which is food for thought for the paranoid.

According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer article, a rule change was instituted in December by los Federales which allows Airbus to predeploy the slides.

In my experience that should give Airbus an 8 to 10 second head start that Boeing and McDonnell Douglas did not have when they tested the 747-400 with 540 on board and the MD11 with 407, as blowing the main door and slide on the MD11 took about that long. It will, of course, also deprive the occasion of some much needed sturm und drang, panic, fear and alarm.

The process was initiated when the emergency handle was pulled, as that opened the valve between a source of high pressure nitrogen and a powerful impact motor. The door WAS going to open, and the slide WAS going to deploy. According to some information I have, the A380 will use an electric door mechanism powered by some monster capacitors. Whether that will give the kind of neck snapping speed at which the MD11 main doors opened is not known, and it is unknown what kind of electric motor can produce the kind of torque that the emergency door motor in the MD11 did.

Even with this bonus, it'll be an interesting event and no doubt tongues will be set wagging for months on end thereafter. The Airbus wordsmithing and historical revision department should have a field day. What, for instance, do we mean by '90' and 'seconds'? What do we mean by 'people' and 'exit'?


At 12:30 PM, Blogger Kaiser Edamame said...

How did the 747 test fare - was it close? Is it true that they leave half of the exit doors shut and don't tell the attendants which doors those will be?

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Robert Luedeman, attorney at law said...

I think it was a pretty close run thing. The word is that Airbus pulled it off in fine fashion, which is good news for a lot of people. They do block half the exits and nobody knows until the test which ones they are.


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