from the bugs-on-a-plane dept.
pdcull writes "According to Stuff.co.nz, the Australian Transport Safety Board found that a software bug was responsible for a Qantas Airbus A330 nose-diving twice while at cruising altitude, injuring 12 people seriously and causing 39 to be taken to the hospital. The event, which happened three years ago, was found to be caused by an airspeed sensor malfunction, linked to a bug in an algorithm which 'translated the sensors' data into actions, where the flight control computer could put the plane into a nosedive using bad data from just one sensor.' A software update was installed in November 2009, and the ATSB concluded that 'as a result of this redesign, passengers, crew and operators can be confident that the same type of accident will not reoccur.' I can't help wondering just how a piece of code, which presumably didn't test its input data for validity before acting on it, could become part of a modern jet's onboard software suite?"
[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine
women pregnant, you can get a baby a month.
-- Wernher von Braun