Thursday, January 05, 2006

Airbus A380 evacuation trial

Those familiar with our recent work on aircraft evacuation modelling will known that the safety community is still waiting for Airbus to carry out its long-awaited full-scale evacuation trial of the double-decker A380. Without this being passed, the authorities will be unable to certify the aircraft as safe to carry paying passengers. Our simulation study concerned evacuation delay caused by passengers hesitating at the upper exit, and we predicted that the trial will fail (ie. not all passengers will be evacuated in under 90 seconds) if the average door hesitation exceeded 1.1 seconds. Of course, this is pure speculation on our part, based on a rather simplistic computer model, and we await with interest the results of the real-life trial. Flight International have confirmed information that the trial will be held "around March" this year. Such announcements have been made before, with no trial being held, but Airbus need to get their skates on, as they're already running six months behind schedule on delivery.

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