At 07:11 PM 10/22/03 -0400, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
>Indeed. Imagine if we waited until airplanes exploded regularly to
>design them so they would not explode, or if we had designed our first
>suspension bridges by putting up some randomly selected amount of
>cabling and seeing if the bridge collapsed. That's not how good
>engineering works.

No.  But how quickly we forget how many planes *did* break up,
how many bridges *did* fall apart, because engineering sometimes
goes into new territory.

Even now.  You start using new composite materials in planes, and wonder why
they fall out of the sky when their tails snap off.  
Eventually (though not yet) Airbus et al
will get a clue how they fail differently from familiar metals.  
Even learning about now-mundane metal fatigue in planes involved
breakups and death.

(Safety) engineering *is* (unfortunately, but perhaps by practical necessity)
somewhat reactive.  It tries very hard not to be, but it is.


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