Airliners are Very Complex Vehicles. A typical B-747 is comprised of millions of parts and components. The reported numbers vary because there is no agreed method of defining “a component” and every single airliner often has differences from others, for various reasons. Suffice to say – there are millions: “A Boeing 747-8 aircraft comprises more than six million individual parts when completed.”
(this post at simpleflying.com/airliners-how-many-parts)
Add to this the ever-developing regulations that are constantly being reviewed, updated and hopefully improved as manufacturers and federal regulators strive to maintain the required levels of safety in the face of the chaotic, constantly demanding world of weather, economic forces, psychological forces (i.e. public perceptions), and even the material processes (corrosion, fatigue, stress, motion, vibration), implementation of new materials, and so on.
Now, add to this the constant, administrative and contractual struggles by companies to operate profitably and often politically; the need to sell aircraft in a competitive sort-of-free marketplace; and the internal struggles between the infamous “pencil pushers” who are responsible for contracts and commitments, who know business (and politics) but can’t really understand their products very well, versus the in-house technical and engineering specialists who know the products deeply, but don’t know all the business end of things.
Throw in the evidence that at Boeing, (it seems to me anyway) the two groups are not communicating well together… and…. ‘Gordian Knots’ like this situation with the Airforce One replacement project are bound to happen…
So well explained here by Aviator and excellent vlogger, Mentour Pilot:
1 thought on “Stuff Happens: complexity, contracts and unintended consequences.”
That was fascinating.