Aircraft redundancies

I was watching an interesting documentary on the Singapore giant wheel, like the London Eye but only bigger, when I thought back to my earlier posts on aircraft safety.

The reason that I thought of this was that there was an incident when part of the control room, for the wheel, caught fire and the wheel stopped, with roughly 70 people on board. They did have a back up generator but this was routed through the control room, at which point I went “Duh”. They managed to get everyone out by the use of ropes.

I have always been interested in how things work and how a designer settled on a particular way of doing something and that was when I thought back to aircraft.

Yes, aircraft have multiple redundancies but, because of that horrible word COST, they are routed close by the “permanent” cables or pipes, which are used all of the time.

Some of the disasters are caused by either fire or damage. When the permanent or main cable or pipe is damaged, the others are damaged too and that leads to crashes with many fatalities.

Given that when there is something seriously wrong with a plane, there is the tragic tendancy of it to either blow up or fall out of the sky, would it not be much more sensible for aircraft manufacturers to route these redundancies in a completely different way than for the main pipe or cable?

The trouble is that when something happens, what caused the main pipe or cable to fail also wipes out the redundancies and that is generally why these sorts of plane crashes happen.

Take dual circuit brakes in a car. Yes, for some of the time, the pipes run together but then they branch out to completely different areas of the car.

Even wires in a car do the same. If one light fails, then there are still others.

But routing cables or pipes in an aircraft is time consuming and costly and that is why they are generally run together,

Yet again, it is a question of cost of lives against the cost of making the plane, on which profit depends.

Thinking about these aircraft safety issues, it is surprising that I fly, although I have not done that for many years now. Although completely terrifying, at least my end would be quick, not like having cancer or motor neuron disease and dying slowly.

I don’t fear death itself because I believe that there is somewhere where I will go and where I will be happy again but I certainly fear how I will die. That is why I have a DNR on my medical records and in my living will.

Published by David Hender (copyright owner- all rights reserved)

If you want to know me, you first need to understand where I have been and where I am going

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