The Anonymous Widower

Do We Sometimes Push Technology Too Far?

I like proven technology, as often some of the things done fifty years or so ago, may not have been very good at the time, but somehow over time they have proved themselves to be reliable and economic.

The classioc is the Inter City 125 train, introduced as a stop-gap in 1976. But it is only one of a number of classic designs, that just never get replaced.

A personal old idea that affects me is Warfarin, which I take every day to thin my blood and stop myself having another stroke. There are more modern drugs, but I’ve heard cardilogists say that now is not the time to change, as we don’t know enough about the side effects of new drugs yet.

And that is the crux of the matter!  When anything has been used for years, we have a vast knowledge base to make sure, that it doesn’t bite us or even worse.

So I was rather pleased to see this report that says the new Airbus A350 will use more traditional batteries than the Boeing 787. Before you use new technology in something as critical as an airliner, you must prove it as thoroughly as possible.

The problem with proving aircraft parts as compared to that of says cars, buses or trains, is that the aircraft leaves the ground and does other things land-based machines don’t.

I remember, my next door neighbour in London, when I was a child, a Mr. Gibbon, saying that if Ford wanted to test a new truck axle, they’d fit a few in trucks and give them to a contractor, who was known to break anything.  If he couldn’t break any,then it was probably a better axle. But you can’t give aircraft to bad airlines and let them do the testing!

What worries me about these plane batteries, is how many other new ideas are incorporated, that haven’t been completely tested?  Aviation is littered with mistakes, where new designs have failed.

On the other hand, look at this wing of the baby Airbus 319/320/321, on which I flew to Stockholm.

Airbus A320 Wing

Airbus A320 Wing

Go back twenty years or so and the design of a wing would be similar, but you can see developments like the wing-tips, that make the wings more efficient, have now become commonplace.

June 16, 2013 - Posted by | Transport, World | , , , ,

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