KGround, there is a fundamental fatal flaw in the very concept of self driving cars not needing attentive and competent drivers, which is that those smart cars will never be able to handle all possible exceptions. Instead, they will do stupid and unsafe things, like stop in the fast lane at night, or swerve to miss a suitcase that falls into the road, and right into a slowwer moving truck. So a self driving car might make the poor driver a bit less agravating some of the time, and possibly safer much of the time, but NEVER both all of the time.
After watching a ton of Air Disasters episodes, it's not uncommon for the tiniest of issues to become full-fledged problems. Even a faulty indicator light has brought down aircraft, which is frightening.
In one of the newslettter reports I had been reading, the tank wall and aircraft skin were one and the same. The tank imploded in flight, changing the shape of the edge of the wing, and seriously affecting aerodynamics of the aircraft. An emergency landing was made and the pilot walked away from the event, perhaps with soiled pants, but otherwise unharmed.
The cause was later found to be a blocked fuel vent.
My Blue Water boat with Mercury 3.7 L engine would not turn over. Further more I could not turn it over by hand. Drained the fluids and took off the head, intake and exhaust. The fourth cylinder the closest to the sea had the exhaust clogged with salt and the piston was frozen - stuck. I got a hydraulic ram and supported the bottom of the boat. Still could not get it to move.
Getting the pan off was a real thrill also. I lined the cylinder with newspaper and added dry ice and then tried the ram. In between I also tried WD-40 and other penitrants - nogo.
Finally the piston moved. Took the head in for rework and the machinist found cracks radiating around a couple of valve guides. (he recognized a big Ford head - Mercury has their own foundry and builds engines for others) Got a new head and started reassembly. Noticed a pin hole in the riser of the exhaust. Got a new riser. Finished assembly. Ran the engine in the driveway with water. Ran good and strong up to full throttle. Took the boat out to the lake and half way around it stumbled and quit. Back on the kicker.
Disassembled engine again and hoping not for a valve clash. Only a little smile on the piston and a stuck valve. Took the head back to the machinist who cussed me out on sticking with such a poor design (steel head on aluminum block). Hey I had $3K into it and the WIFE was not buying a new boat. The guides were too tight. I had understood from Mercury that the head was ready to install. Guess you need to check on everyone. Just think how big the V-8 was that two of those heads 7.4L?
I like that saying, kenish. Sometimes, though, even the best of pilots can't overcome the emergency. When I was in college, I worked as a custodian for a building full of doctors' offices. The building was owned by a major airline captain with 30 years commercial experience, who eventually died while piloting his own private plane.
"Subsequent flight instructors both military and civilian, as well as German sailplane instructors all shared the opinion that any damned fool can fly a working airplane, however it takes a pilot to fly one in an emergency."
Reminds me of the Air Canada 767 that ran out of fuel:
Wal-Mart will hold its second Made in the USA Open Call July 7-8, at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The event will be a repeat effort by the world’s biggest seller of consumer goods to increase the amount of US-made products it sells in Wal-Mart stores, in Sam’s Club members-only wholesale outlets, and on walmart.com.
From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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