Airbus A320 Crashes in France and Canada: Is This a Safe Plane?

The safety of the Airbus A320 has been called into question after two crashed in one week. The causes of both crashes are not known yet, and theories are multiplying.

Just yesterday an Air Canada Airbus A320 carrying passengers and crew skidded off the runway in Halifax, Canada, fortunately injuries were minor. Investigations are ongoing into the cause of that crash landing, and into the devastating crash last week of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed into a remote part of the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

The catastrophic results of the Germanwings Airbus A320 deadly crash has many countries reviewing the aviation safety records of their current Airbus A320 crafts in service and the Airbus A320’s they have in storage.

The European Aviation Safety Agency has already changed policies, and require two crew members to be present in all airplane cockpits at all times.

The Daily Mail reported that the Air France Airbus A320 was just six months from being grounded for “urgent” and “life extending” refurbishments that involved a careful examination and repairs to worn equipment, and less than 2000 km away from possible permanent retirement.

Marku Wahl of the German pilots union, Cockpit, told the German publication Deutsche Welle, “the Airbus A320 is not considered an ‘old’ aircraft” by aviation standards. Wahl also mentioned that pilots have recently been on strike, but collective bargaining is on hold due to the tragedy.The issue of the age of an aircraft is a complex one, involving many safety and security considerations- including metal fatigue, advances in our understanding of aircraft design, and changes in the way terrorist organizations target aircraft.

The union of pilots from Air India have raised their voices to IBM Live news organization to express their extreme concern about the safety of the Airbus A320 family of planes, and their own union negotiation issues, including concerns for basic passenger and employee safety.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said in a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last Thursday that the airline continues to fly these A320s even after problems have been reported regularly.

The classic A-320 aircrafts which are 26 years old (one of the oldest in the world) are being operated with repetitive snags endangering flight safety… DGCA should not permit AI to operate these lethal snag-prone classic aircrafts in lieu of passenger safety.

Many questions were raised after an Air France Airbus A320 crashed on its first flight during an airshow in 1988. That crash was attributed to ‘pilot error’ after a lengthy investigation. Twenty years later the internet forums were still buzzing about theories of ‘cover ups’ and undeclared changes made by the French government to the Airbus A320 black box recovered, and to computer equipment in the cockpit and training about those changes was actually put in place.

WABC-TV New York brought forward the astonishing concept yesterday of pilotless planes, and posted the following comment on Facebook.

PILOTLESS PLANES? The crash of a Germanwings flight has a lot of people thinking about ways to prevent similar tragedies. But would you fly on a plane that did not have a pilot on board? A British aerospace company is working on a project to develop planes that can be flown and controlled remotely.

An Airbus A320 is quite different from a drone for personal use. As one savvy comment noted “Who is going to trust the guy with the remote?”

According to WABC-TV, the British Aerospace company working on that project is BAE. Right now there are some flights that have pilots onboard, but can also be controlled from the ground. BAE is working on a $94 million dollar project to develop remote controlled commercial planes. BAE Systems Test Engineer, Duncan Casey explained the ground to air verbal exchange communications system.

And what you’re hearing right now [in the cockpit simulator] is discussion with air traffic control that is exactly the same as what the pilots would be having if they were in charge of the steering of the aircraft.

We may be some years away from trusting remote control flights for commercial or industrial air travel and transportation. The investigation into safety concerns with the Airbus A320 series of commercial planes is ongoing.

[Image via Inquisitr]