HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Guest Blogs

Petroski on Engineering: Armchair Design & Analysis

NO RATINGS
Page 1 / 2 Next >
View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Page 1/3  >  >>
Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Historic commentary
Rob Spiegel   2/14/2012 12:07:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes, Henry, I agree that ticket price is paramount for air travel consumers -- including myself. And I can't imagine travelers choosing on airline over another based on anything but price. So I guess that says it all. No reason to improve comfort.

Henry Petroski
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Historic commentary
Henry Petroski   2/14/2012 10:46:14 AM
NO RATINGS
The airlines may be satisfied with the design of the interior elements of their planes, but of course that does not mean that there is not room for improvement. The main selling point for economy air travel seems to be ticket price. Passengers seem to give that much greater priority than amenities relating to seat comfort. My feeling is that until passengers in large numbers let it be known that they are not satisfied with what the flying experience is like, the airlines will not redesign it beyond changes that bring in more revenue, such as more leg room, etc.  

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Historic commentary
Rob Spiegel   2/13/2012 12:17:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks Henry. Yes, I understand the economics of space for the back of the plane. And the space has grown smaller over my decades flying. The basic design of tray tables, arm rests, seatbelts, etc. has also been static for decades. I would guess the airlines are simply satisfied with these design elements.

Henry Petroski
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Historic commentary
Henry Petroski   2/11/2012 10:42:11 AM
NO RATINGS
Airlines seem to have put their seating R&D dollars into improving the business and first-class sections on international flights, where seats transform into beds of a sort. Econmony class seat design does seem to have been static for some time. There has been, however, some improvement in leg room for a price to the customer. With the increasing prominence of narrow-body regional jets, it seems unlikely that economy-class seats will get wider. There seem to be simply too many constraints from available space and revenue to allow for much improvement.   

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: That IS a Bad design?
Dave Palmer   2/10/2012 6:22:18 PM
NO RATINGS
The maintenance story reminds me of an episode of the cartoon Animaniacs in which two of the characters are trapped in an elevator.  They try to contact the maintenance department over the intercom, and overhear the supervisor telling one of his employees: "Hit it with the hammer, Big Ed.  No, the hammer... that's a wrench, that long thingy's a hammer..."

Later, after being trapped in the elevator for ten hours, the characters try to contact the maintenance department again.

"Are you still in there?" the maintenance supervisor replies. "It was our indication that you got out."

"Really?" the character says. "What gave you that indication?"

"That's just an indication we had," says the supervisor.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Historic commentary
Rob Spiegel   2/10/2012 3:27:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I haven't seen significant design improvements in the seating area of airline jets since the mid-1970s. Am I missing something? If anything, the seating area has become more cramped.

Henry Petroski
User Rank
Blogger
Re: That IS a Bad design?
Henry Petroski   2/10/2012 2:36:00 PM
NO RATINGS
The story of the mechanic pounding the broken table into submission is great! It shows how the human element can be the ultimate enemy of designs of all kinds. I wonder how long it took that tray table to finally be fixed so it could be both gotten out of and put back into the seat arm? Poor maintenance can be worse than no maintenance at all. 

vimalkumarp
User Rank
Gold
Petroski on Engineering: Armchair Design & Analysis
vimalkumarp   2/6/2012 10:37:19 PM
NO RATINGS
This article by Mr.Petroski is a guiding for the young engineer by showing how to clearly express the design functionality. Many a times innovators fail to express the "need" in their statements.

Russell Faulkner
User Rank
Iron
Re: What about design for practical use case?
Russell Faulkner   2/6/2012 8:53:36 AM
NO RATINGS
The cardboard tray wouldn't weight much more than the plastic plate sitting on it, and unlike the plate, the tray would normally be secured.  Even if left unsecured the tray wouldn't be much of a projectile, but adding foam-rubber edging would limit the damage when kids play with the trays.  In normal use the edging would also keep cups and plates from sliding off.

Mexjewel
User Rank
Iron
Historic commentary
Mexjewel   2/4/2012 4:35:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I had to check the date of this commentary - 2012, not 1965! In the '70s I worked in aircraft seating design. Those First Class seats were a wonder of engineering. Their weight-saving, weight-supporting design were worthy of awards. I'd think the present-day comments would have been unwarranted, even back then. Surely engineering has progressed since...or has it?

Page 1/3  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Guest Blogs
Perhaps you didn't know that there are a variety of classes, both live and archived, offered via the Design News Continuing Education Center (CEC) sponsored by Digi-Key? The best part – they are free!
The complexity of diesel engines means optimizing their performance requires a large amount of experimentation. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a very useful and intuitive tool in this, and cold flow analysis using CFD is an ideal approach to study the flow characteristics without going into the details of chemical reactions occurring during the combustion.
We Have FPGAs with On-chip MCUs, but How About MCUs with On-chip FPGAs?
Programmable logic has come a long way from the simple devices we started out with. Remember Programmable Array Logic, or PALs? But where will we be in the next five to 10 years?
As industrial applications increasingly use process control systems utilizing sensor feedbacks to monitor various operating parameters, energy sources and consumption are becoming major factors of a system.
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Jan 12 - 16, Programmable Logic - How do they do that?
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service