[FOUNTAIN]Too late to fix this Comet?In May of 1952, the British Overseas Airways Corporation, a British national company, opened the age of jet passenger travel. Comet jets produced by the De Haviland corporation appeared in the international aircraft industry like a comet in the sky, and provided service for quite a while. The new plane could carry up to 44 passengers and reduced the flight time from Tokyo to London from 85 hours in a prop plane to 36 hours.
In May of 1953, however, just one year after the Comet started its flight service, three BOAC Comet jets crashed. The first jet that crashed was G-ALYV, departing from Calcutta. The cause turned out to be bad weather. But the reasons for the crashes of G-ALYP and G-ALYY, which went down at three-month intervals, were not discovered immediately.
The British flight authorization stopped the service of all Comet jets and started a full-scale investigation. The reason for the crashes was something no one expected.
After conducting a simuation experiment with the same kind of jet aircraft, it turned out that the Comet planes had a major fault in their design.
When an excessive load was placed on the aircraft frame for a long time, metal fatigue accumulated and the frame started to develop cracks. It was also discovered that the square- type windows that were common in those days accelerated the cracking.
Like the case of the Comet jets, the phenomenon of a reoccurring accident, even though it seems faultless in the beginning, is called a Comet failure. When you thoroughly investigate a series of unknown accidents, it sometimes becomes clear later that a fault existed in the initial design.
Observing this government, which has 18 months left in its term, reminds me of a Comet failure ― it is suffering from personnel scandals, disputes between the government and the ruling party, scandals by supporters and economic stagnation.
Although the current government began with an ambitious start by putting the flag of revolution in front, the side effects of its poorly designed revolutionary programs are becoming visible after three years.
The scenario is somewhat like the accidents involving the Comet jets ― fatigue has accumulated from the repeated irrational policies. Sharp tongues and backbiting have also accelerated the division of the nation. If it were a plane accident, we could stop the plane from continuing service, discover the cause and solve the problem at the design stage.
But in this case, it is a tougher job since we can’t do the same thing for a broken government.
by Kim Jong-soo
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.