History Re-Repeats Itself
Rudderless at 35000 feet.
After reading this article (copy here) on the rudder failures of the Airbus A310, it brought to mind this old article on the Beechcraft V-tail Bonanza, which had a habit of losing its tail in mid flight. To quote:
The V-tail has a very high rate of in-flight failures. Compared with the Model 33, which is the same aircraft with a conventional straight-tail, the V-tail has a fatal in-flight failure rate 24 times as high as the Straight tail Bonanza. In spite of this glaring statistic, Beech claimed that there was no problem with the V-tail, and for many years the public seemed to agree with Beech. However, the deaths from in-flight failures continued to mount. The V-tail Bonanza is a classic tale of a dangerous item, which because of its popularity continued to kill.The turning point in the V-tail saga came when the friend of an influential person was killed...
The clubs devoted to Bonanza aircraft generally supported the company's position. However, in 1984 a personal friend of Donald L. Monday, president of the American Bonanza Society, was killed in a V-tail break-up. The American Bonanza Society was an organization that until this point had actively supported Beech's position. The death of Monday's friend, however, changed the relationship.In other words: if the Airbus really does have a rudder problem, the next crash will have to kill someone who's a "higher-up" before anything gets done about it.
What a corporation would look like if it was a person.
On a related note, these articles remind me of the documentary The Corporation. In this film, the authors apply conventional psychological evaluations to the concept of the corporation, and discover that the corporation displays all the characteristics of a psychopath:
Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath."