Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We Gotta Get Out of This Place III-Zero Hour Looms

Those fine folks at Flight International finally got around to releasing the article I talked about, and it contains some interesting facts. As advertised the Big Show will take place on 26 March, because that is when Airbus plans to throw open the exits, pop the slides, and tell 853 people to get the hell out of the airplane.

Generally speaking, the results of the simulations have historically been pretty close to target. In the case of the MD11, the target was 411, and they did reach 407 and that is what the aircraft was certified for.

But this one's going to be different.

First, the upper deck slides are going to be pre-deployed. I'm not entirely convinced that makes for a fair representative test, and the volunteers will be missing a lot of the sturm und drang that goes along with blowing a door and a slide together. But nevermind.

The most interesting part here, getting back to my theme, is that although there will be 873 people in the test and the interior will be configured for maximum cattle hauling, Mister Guimera, the A380 safety director, says that if they get 750 people out in the alotted 90 seconds, they'll be happy, and if they dive under 650, they'll have to retest.

What it sounds like to me, is that Airbus is ready to accept a test result that gives a certification maximum of 650 passengers.

We've already discussed the weight problems that are showing up in the published information.

Could it be that this atypical equanimity on Airbus' part be because they know the plane can't carry anywhere near that without exceeding zero fuel weight limitations?


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