Se propuso optimizar la estructura de los bombarderos (reduciendo su peso), lo que suponía un ligero aumento del riesgo de fallo estructural, pero eso hubiera permitido proteger mejor los aviones dotándolos de más armamento y de una coraza más potente, lo que hubiera reducido notablemente las bajas debidas al enemigo; todo lo anterior hubiera reducido el riesgo, pero a costa de algunas bajas más debido a accidentes propios. Esto no fue admitido por los aviadores, quienes preferían caer por fuego enemigo que arriesgarse a que el avión fallara en el aire por causas propias. Preferían un riesgo mayor de ser abatidos por el enemigo y mantener en valores insignificantes el riesgo de caer debido a un fallo propio.
Nuestra naturaleza humana es la que es y debemos lidiar con ella.
Texto literal del libro:
"As Sir Alfred Pugsley points out in his book The Safety of Structures,* it is just at this rather interesting stage that we may have to abandon a strictly logical approach to the problem. As Pugsley says, the human emotions are quite exceptionally sensitive to the fear of structural failure, and the layman clings with great tenacity to the idea that any structure or device with which he is personally associated should be ‘unbreakable’. This crops up in all sorts of connections; sometimes it does no harm, sometimes the effect is counter-productive. During the last war aircraft designers had the choice, to some extent, of trading off structural safety against other qualities in the aircraft. Now the losses of bomber aircraft by enemy action were very high, something like one out of twenty in each sortie.† Against this, the losses from structural failures were very few, much less than one aircraft in ten thousand. The structure of an aeroplane accounts for practically a third of its total weight, and it would have been rational to have slimmed the structural parts of the bombers in return for other advantages.
If this had been done there would have been some small increase in the structural accident rate, but the weight that would have been saved could have been invested in more defensive guns or in thicker protective armour. In that case there would no doubt have been a significant reduction in the net, or overall, casualty rate. But the airmen would not hear of anything of the kind. They preferred the big risk of being shot down by the enemy to the smaller risk of the aircraft breaking up in the air for structural reasons.
Pugsley suggests that the feeling that it is in some way outrageous for a structure to break may be inherited from our arboreal ancestors, who were frightened, above all things, that the trees in which they lived might break beneath them – when down would come baby and cradle and all. And besides, the ancestors and their babies would fall into the mouths of their enemies on the ground, such as sabre-toothed tigers or whatnot. Whether this is the real reason or no, engineers have to take these sort of feelings into account, even though the extra weight incurred may involve dangers of its own."