Can computer models replace real testing of passenger aircraft?

“It was safe in theory, get in,” will not be the phrases you wish to hear whereas boarding a flight. As Boeing reportedly seeks to scale back real-life testing of its planes, consultants doubt that this strategy will ever replace real exams.

The US plane producer Boeing seems to have some far reaching plans on decreasing precise bodily testing of its future plane for the sake of value effectiveness, Reuters reported just lately.

Over the many years, plane testing has developed to turn into extremely elaborate and rigorous. It includes exams, which, amongst others, see plane components and complete planes being put by way of numerous excessive circumstances like extreme hundreds, excessive strain, intense warmth or freezing circumstances. The certification course of additionally consists of quite a few check flights to make sure that an plane is completely secure.

Now, Boeing reportedly plans to scale back the quantity of bodily testing, in addition to the quantity of check flights, and rely closely on “certification by way of the evaluation,” which in truth means computer simulations. This comes at a time when the corporate remains to be combating the fallout of the 737 MAX affair, which noticed the fleet of these passenger jets being grounded following two lethal crashes allegedly linked to onboard software program points.

Flight simulators have been a factor for many years already and so they can certainly present a real expertise, but the concept of conducting some precise bodily exams that approach raised a couple of eyebrows – simulation of a construction would characterize its excellent mannequin, not a real factor with potential flaws or technological quirks.

Boeing didn’t affirm or deny the Reuters report, telling the information company fairly ambiguously that it has been “looking holistically at our design and certification processes” after the 737 MAX affair. RT has contacted a number of departments of Boeing, in addition to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for remark, however didn’t obtain any response on the problem on the time of the story publication.

While the US plane producer seemingly hopes that the brand new strategy would assist it slash improvement prices and cut back the quantity of labor intensive bodily exams, its obvious quest for revenue would possibly in truth carry extra bother than profit, analysts warn.

“I don’t think there’s any scenario, where a computer-simulated stress test would be better than a physical one. It simply does not work in logic,” Alessandro Bruno, impartial worldwide affairs and aerospace trade analyst, advised RT. “Combination of the two, sure.”

Bruno believes {that a} computer simulation may very well be helpful for early improvement, to scale back prices of testing concepts that may not work, however can’t be the one approach of evaluating the ultimate product, or replace precise check flights.

“Computer models are very superior as a result of they’re based mostly, in spite of everything, on our personal expertise, accrued over a few years. But irrespective of how superior the computer models would possibly be, they’re nonetheless indicative,” he added.

Yuri Sytnik, Russia’s honored pilot and a member of the presidential committee on aviation improvement, additionally warned that no current software program can replace precise testing and the job of real check pilots, irrespective of how refined it’s.

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