With the introduction of the Boeing B-47, military jet bomber allowed manufacturer to a great leap forward in commercial transport airplanes. This airplane incorporates a radical airframe differences that included:
- Highly Swept Wing (35 Degrees)
- High Aspect Ratio Plan Form (9.43)
- Very Wide Speed Range
- Long Duration- High Alitude Operation
- High Wing Loading
- Thin Wing (12% constant thickness ratio)
- An extremely clean aerodynamic design
- Pod- mounted engines
This design produced a revolutionary performance advantage but also presented real safety challenges requiring technological solutions. Some of these challenges involved:
- How to take off and land
- Stopping distance considerations
- Control system capability over a large speed range, and flutter
- Structural integrity for this wing plan form and speed range
These challenges were mitigated with the following solutions:
Engineered Materials Arrestor System (EMAS)
FAA requires that commercial airports certified under FAR Part 139 have a Runway Safety Area of 1000 feet beyond the end of the runway if possible. Currently, EMAS is installed at 51 runway ends at 35 U.S. Airports, and has been credited with several successful arrest- ments preventing injury and aircraft damage.
This system enables automatic brake application on landing or during a refused takeoff (RTO). The landing autobrake system controls brake pressure to maintain aircraft deceleration at one of five pilot selected values, provided that sufficient runway friction is available to maintain this level.
One of the most dangerous forms of turbulence for aircraft is:
- Clear Air Turbulence
- High Altitude Clear Air Turbulence
Between 1983 and 1997, the NTSB investigated 99 turbulence accidents and incidents that resulted in two fatalities and 117 serious injuries.
In order to prevent such incidents and accidents the NWS Aviation Weather Cewnter and NOAA Earth System research Laboratory are also making progress in improving its CATand mountain wave forecast products. Further, the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program has a multidisciplinary team addressing the turbulence problem, and researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are working on new algorithms for using data from the NWS Doppler Weather Radars to detect turbulence.
In- flight icing is one of the FAA's top weather priorities. Under revised certification standards, new transport aircraft designs must incorporate one of three methods to detect icing and to activate the airframe ice protection system:
- An ice detection system that automatically activates or alerts pilots to turn on the ice protection system.
- At definition of visual signs of ice buildup on a specified surface combined with an advisory system to alert the pilots to activate the ice protection system; or
- The identification of temperature and moisture conditions conducive to airframe icing that would alert pilots to activate the ice protection system.
- Glass Cockpit, three axis digital fly-by-wire flight control system with a convention control yoke rather than side stick controller.
- Flight, navigational and engine information is presented on six large display screens with advanced liquid crystal (LCD) technology.
- Ground Maneuver camera system with video views of the nose and main landing gear to assist the pilot with ground handling when at the gate area.