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Report: Airbus transport crash caused by “wipe” of critical engine control data

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More details are emerging about the software problem that caused the crash. Airbus had already revealed that the fatal crash of an Airbus A400M military transport was caused by what was described as a "quality issue in the final assembly" of the electronic control units (ECU)—a fault in software configuration that led to a loss of control of the aircraft and resulted in the death of four crew members. Reuters reported additional details today provided by individuals familiar with the… (arstechnica.com) Mais...

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preacher1
preacher1 6
Chances of failure were small but they got very big when it did happen. Better it happened pre delivery if it had to happen I am just hesitant about an outfit that is that arrogant about there can do no wrong computer system. We may not see anything very often but when we do it will be catastrophic.
wx1996
wx1996 3
I just do not understand how any software engineer or aerospace systems engineer can believe they know better that the pilot flying the aircraft and automatically shutdown an engine for them. How can the test pilots even accept such a system? Notify the pilot the engine should be shutdown and make it easy to shutdown, but not until the pilot flying the aircraft agrees.
preacher1
preacher1 4
Well, as I read it, that is where the bug was, that it got WIPED and there was no ground warning about it at all. They weren't but about 1500-1600 ft. If it had give a ground warning as it should have, they would have never taken off. Regardless, that is the part I don't like. I want the computer or anything like it to be a tool but I want the final decision to be mine. Some of these Airbus drivers out here love 'em and some hate 'em. I heard the same on Boeing before they bought MD so it just goes to show you can't please everybody. You got what you got. You can deal with it or go find another job I guess.
bentwing60
bentwing60 1
"The aircraft's software is designed to shut down malfunctioning engines to prevent them from affecting the operation of the aircraft. But a software failure of more than two engines was never taken into consideration". Confronting the arrogance of an engineer, and a French one at that! Too bad that their lack of consideration doesn't take them with it!
linbb
linbb 1
Well seems the frogs have a way of dealing with those who screw up that's jail.
preacher1
preacher1 0
What is surprising though is all the convoluted French laws naming individuals. Reckon the authorities will dig in here on one of their own corporations and try to dig out an individual. They sure didn't have any problem going after somebody when the Concorde crashed, after a Continental mechanic made a mistake but then that was a lot more people that were killed.
flypilot12
flypilot12 4
I agree with bentwing here. The fact that the SOFTWARE can order an engine shut down with out so much as a, "by your leave, sir", from the pilot it is beyond foolish in it's implementation. Why a test pilot would sign off on such a system is beyond me. If an engine fault occurred it should be reported to the pilot NO MATTER WHAT and let the pilot have the final say, after all he IS in charge of the aircraft. Airbus's software issues are not new and these are not the first casualties caused by their lack of foresight. The term is 'Fail Safe' for a reason. If the engines failed they should have done so in a safe manner. Being turned off on take-off climb is not very safe and why would only one part of a program being wiped cause such a thing? No checks and balances in the software. If a shut down was required it should have been programmed not to shut them down if it saw more than 2 were out. It should have asked itself, "This can't be right, can it?", and kicked an error message to the pilot. This is Airbus once again trying to remove the pilot from the equation when the pilot should not only be a voting member of the process, but the ONLY one with a VETO of what the computer recommends.
hahlness
Hans Ahlness 1
I assume you're familiar with autofeather features on turboprop aircraft, for instance? Usually mechanical in nature, but it is in fact a system which will shut down an engine's thrust without pilot input based on preset conditions, just like software would do it.

I've played the "let's see if we can take off from Aspen on a hot day and lose an engine with the autofeather failed" game in the sim many times. Many do not end well for the simulated me.
joelwiley
joel wiley 3
The White Star Line felt there was little chance for running into an iceberg. Besides, the ship was unsinkable.

I believe it was the early space shuttles which had 4 independent computer systems to protect against failure. The concern was that since they all ran the same software an unforeseen error would affect them all equally. The risk is always there, even if the engineers forget or overlook it.
Pileits
Pileits 2
How come there doesn't seem to be a way to just turn the darn computer off and take manual control. Shouldn't the human being always be able to take over control from a machine.

I mean come on AirBus stop trying to let computers take over the world.
preacher1
preacher1 -1
Airframes and all are similar. There has to be something to set them aside from the competition, not to mention the cheaper price they are probably able to offer due to government subsidies. You want the pilot to stay in total control? Buy a Boeing.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Is there anyone on here that has never had a computer problem? Why would anyone think it would never happen to an airplane computer? Wanna bet it happens again?
preacher1
preacher1 1
Anything man made is subject to breaking or not performing right at some point and time. That said, most of the time it is called Murphy's Law. No need giving it any help as it will probably happen on it's own.
ADXbear
ADXbear 1
Give me a aircraft with control cables as a back up anyday... RIP to the crew..
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, they worked for years.
canuck44
canuck44 1
In Public Health this would be termed a "preventable event". Somewhere along the line I hope Airbus finally admits to itself that a pilot override is necessary on all of its aircraft and that software has flaw that may not necessarily be detectable or testable in a simulator or on a bench.

Remember it is garbage in, garbage out, but Airbus tells us their software guys (who may or may not be pilots) know more than an experienced pilot in control. Personally, I would take the guy in the left seat (or right seat or jump seat) over the work product of a nerd developer.
AP2099
Anthony Phillips -1
What is sad here is that no one learns from the past mistakes
like this.No plane of any kind should have total control of the plane.The planes in my opion should have a back up computer just in case the first one fails.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Yeah, and that backup ought to be total manual control called the pilot.
linbb
linbb 1
Check into it as am sure they do but a software glitch would follow to the other one also. This was not a computer failure but a software one. And too boot they were aware of problems a year before.
margeauxk
Margeaux K 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Cause of Fatal Plane Crash: Erased Engine Data?

An investigation into a military plane crash in Spain last month is in the early stages, but investigators already have a theory as to what went wrong: computer data that control the Airbus A400M military carrier's turboprop engines had accidentally been wiped from the system.

http://www.newser.com/story/208123/cause-of-fatal-plane-crash-erased-engine-data.html

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