Aviation Design

A380 design and Goodrich dual-lane escape slides.

Goodrich-developed dual-lane escape slides played an important role in the evacuation interiors certification of the A380. The slides were extra wide and projected farther out from the sides, making them appear less steep. Higher sidewalls and built-in   illumination  were also added to further reassure the passengers, while also improving the seaworthiness of the slides as liferafts in case an aircraft needed to be ditched at sea.

Computer-based models, an integral part of the aviation design process, were used to demonstrate and prove that final exit and cabin configurations would satisfy the 90-second rule.

Aerostructures design

Weight-reduction initiatives in aviation design include structural modifications such as the use of composite ribs in the wings and also, interior fittings. Operator’s items adding to the weight include fuel, oil for the engines and APU, water for the galleys and lavatories, plus waste-tank treatment chemicals, aircraft documents and tool kit, seats, catering and galley plus escape slides and other emergency equipment.

Airbus had to sell the idea of upgrading facilities to Airports so that the new aircraft could be accommodated. The high-capacity, high-efficiency of the A380 was to be a solution to the growing congestion, not the cause. The aerostructures design in just the positioning of the doors of the aircraft would contribute to faster turnaround times.

B757 Design Errors

All aviation design is a product if its time. Boeing’s main mistake in the 757’s design was conceptual: the assumption that fuel prices could only continue to rise. In 1983 a gallon of fuel cost US$1.20, but by 1986 it costs just 55 cents: the reduction was almost entirely due to Saudi Arabia’s increased output of crude oil. The 757-200 was a product of the 1970s and the fuel crisis that followed the Yom Kippur War. The 757 had been designed for fuel efficiency above all else, but by the time it came to market, fuel economy was just one of a number of important purchase criteria. As a result, Boeing’s predicted sales of 1400 757-type aircraft by the early 1990s proved wholly inaccurate and just 332 757s were delivered by 1990.

The 757 had other problems. Airlines felt that that it was too big and had unnecessary range. It was a single-aisle aircraft with trans-Atlantic capability. In 1979 USAir publicly complained to Boeing that the 757-200 intended to replace the 727 was now almost as big as its widebody counterpart, the 767-200.