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I wouldn't say Airbus is assuming the plane is smarter than the pilot. My interpretation would be that it is being assumed that the overall team, which seems to consist of the pilot and two co-pilots, is smarter than the pilot.
This could be an example of one of the consequences of 'managerialism'. Managerialism has been defined as "What occurs when a special group, called management, ensconces itself systemically in an organization and deprives owners and employees of their decision-making power (including the distribution of emolument), and justifies that takeover on the grounds of the managing group's education and exclusive possession of the codified bodies of knowledge and know-how necessary to the efficient running of the organization."
In my experience the management caste is not too keen on the idea of well-paid technical experts on management level salaries but with no management responsibility, and have been successful in getting rid of them in many industries. An airline pilot might be regarded as such an expert, and the job might have been diluted in scope by giving the pilot not much more status than the co-pilots, allowing cheaper people to be employed. Another management fad which arrived in the 1990s was the idea of breaking organisations into teams with 'team leaders' and 'team briefings'. It could be that in Air France's system the pilot acts more like a 'team leader'.
And there woz me for all these years erroneously thinking it might have something to do with the pilot being AWOL, pitting his c*ck in a trolley dolly in the first-class john, reaching the not-so-metaphorical point of no return, from which he was no longer able to notice (or care about) the aircraft's attitude, at that precise, fateful, moment that the aircraft's attitude became a threat to the aircraft and its occupants, and was no longer able to zip up, shrink down to a bulge with adequate plausible deniability (Woof!), and get back to the cockpit in time to do anything about said attitude.
Hello again John, and all at Number Watch.
My protracted leave of absence from the site has been created by the unhygienic habits of our NHS hospitals: a routine operation for gall bladder removal which went wrong. The surgery was trivial; the MRSA infection was not, it nearly rocked me off my perch, not least the blunderbuss dose of anti-biotic treatment which, as usual, throws 'The baby out with the bath water'. --- All recovered now, so to the point:-
Brad, Bill Whittle uses his 'Airbus' video to have a snipe at the EU and get a plug in for Boeing. Of course, American financial interests stand most to lose if, or when, Europe's Bank's go 'down the pan', so keep 'turning the screw'. It is all Digital, i.e. Funny Money anyway, so I hope the 'when' happens and it disappears back into the 'blue yonder' from whence it came! --- And Airbus could be a competitor to Boeing's interests?
Dave is probably right, 'Managerial ism', it besets the Western world, especially where aircraft and aerospace are concerned. Challenger gets blown out of the sky in the 80's, and NASA did not really listen to that great physicist Richard Feynman, because Columbia went the same way in 2003! --- And never forget that Airbus is an EU project. Strange, isn't it, any engineering safety issues in projects that bureaucrats control are determined by acceptable risk, (acceptability being decided by them), but for private industry they impose 'zero tolerance' to risk?
P.S. John, I now have an inkling of your sufferings these many years.
The problem is "group thinking", and worse, the madness that a mananager need know nothing about the technical knowledge to be a good manager of engineers
Been there, and it was madness.