The Air World imprint is proving to be the home of some outstanding aviation history and this new book looks at safety through the eyes of a flight test engineer who has worked on some of the finest and most innovative aircraft of the post WWII period. The author provides a very readable narrative, offers fresh insights and is supported by a fine selection of images, many in full colour. – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Safety Is No Accident, From 'V' Bombers To Concorde, A Flight Test Engineer's Story FILE: R3271 AUTHOR: John R W Smith PUBLISHER: Air World, Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Technology, aviation, civil aircraft, military aircraft, bombers, nuclear deterrent, flight testing, flight test engineer, test pilots, test program, computer modelling, safety, acceptable tolerance ISBN: 1-52676-944-1 PAGES: 278 IMAGE: B3271.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y2spvz6a LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The Air World imprint is proving to be the home of some outstanding aviation history and this new book looks at safety through the eyes of a flight test engineer who has worked on some of the finest and most innovative aircraft of the post WWII period. The author provides a very readable narrative, offers fresh insights and is supported by a fine selection of images, many in full colour. – Very Highly Recommended
The experiences of the author cover a period where computers featured far less than they do today. Even Concorde contained components that first appeared during WWII. This reviewer always wondered if the escape hatches on the prototype Concordes would have been a success. In a fuselage devoid of the trimmings of airline operation, there were two hatches in the floor that were there for the escape of the test flight teams should anything go dramatically wrong.
The test pilot and the flight test engineers were still kings of the test programs. The V-Bombers and Concorde were flying beyond established knowledge. Although designers had carefully calculated, there was no prior knowledge on which to base their expectations. That continues to be the case to some extent, computers have taken much of the inspired guess work out of initial design and development, and introduced some new potential risks.
Two programs had already demonstrated the dangers of the jet age. The world-leading Comet came unstuck when structural failure in a unique aircraft appeared suddenly and delayed the program years. The DH110 broke up in flight while demonstrating at Farnborough. Both aircraft were subject to careful testing and then after disaster their design was reviewed and changes made. As a result the Comet re-entered service and had a successful career even though it had lost market share as a result of suspension. The DH110 evolved into the Sea Vixen and served the Fleet Air Arm very well, being the first fighter intended to dispense with cannon and rely on unguided rockets and guided missiles.
Even today, aircraft programs can suffer major setbacks, as demonstrated by the Boeing 737 MAX. In that case, it highlighted some of the dangers in software development that is now vital in safe flying. Ironically, the computer has introduced new issues. This is because the information industry has failed to adopt essential Development Assurance to ensure that every line of code and software module does exactly what it should do., that all errors are reported and analyzed. In short, the computer that has reduced the tasks of flight test engineers, urgently needs its own flight test engineers.
The author shows how he and his colleagues contributed to air safety by careful monitoring of prototypes and pre-production aircraft. It is an adsorbing story, told well. The supporting illustrations are first class and this is an important and enjoyable book.