Passengers are being questioned over whether they were using electronic equipment just before their Qantas A330-300 plunged out-of-control over Western Australia. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has said an "irregularity" in one of the aircraft's computers may have caused the dramatic altitude change that threw …
I think it was mouse gestures.
It was a Mac. There is only one button!
Clicked on a mouse and the plane turned? It might feel that way, but...
Many years ago, in Belfast, one of my colleagues plugged in a new computer, and pressed the "On" button. There was an almighty bang, the building shook, and some of the windows cracked.
Intellectually he *knew* that it was a complete co-incidence that a car bomb had gone off at the end of the street at that very moment, but he was still twitchy about switching anything else on for days afterward...
Yeah I trust the airline industry
A cordless mouse throwing a place off track?
A laptop causing 40 people's injuries?
I wonder when they will start building real planes, instead of these toy places we have to live (or die) with?
If aeroplanes could be "controlled" by random wireless signals then we're all in a lot of trouble.
May I suggest Airbus is clearly playing the card marked "What can we blame instead of admitting to shoddy design and construction?".
Saying that your aeroplanes can be controlled by laptops and mouses suggests something a bit worse than shoddy design and construction.
So its no surprise that it isn't airbus saying it - it is the ATSB - and they are not blaming a laptop but an 'irregularity' in the aircraft computer system - it appears to be something called the Herald Sun that introduced the laptop speculation which ATSB basically refused to comment on.
I don't know about Oz but in the UK transport safety boards are not know for wild speculation.
I may be wrong but...
Im sure I read someting about a UK operator (Possibly Virgin) installing hardware to allow fliers to use mobiles on board...
The main reason for asking people to switch them off in flight is that you are in an enclosed space with 100+ people who dont want to hear you tell your mates about what you did to that hooker at the weekend...
With airlines looking to introduce systems that would allow people to use their mobiles to make inflight calls, and laptops, etc being allowed for many years, it's quite obvious that these devices do not affect the planes navigation systems. Anyone suggesting otherwise is showing their ignorance!
On the other hand Qantas former Australian maintenance staff have been saying for a few years now that the maintenance standards have dropped and it's only a matter of time before there is a serious incident (a few years ago most of the Aussie maintenance staff got the sack, the maintenance was all off-shored to low-cost / high corruption countries, and the execs gave themselves big fat bonuses while assuring everyone that standards would not be affected - sound familiar?) In the last few months there has been a string of incidents with Qantas planes and this is only the latest. It seems that a week doesn't go by now without some new Qantas incident.
I certainly won't be flying Qantas.
It is unlikely but not impossible that an electronic device caused the jet to fail. As the engineer stated we do EMI testing on all products including aircraft, however it has been my observation that this testing does not cover all eventualities and that EMI is poorly understood particularly in aviation circles.
Our firm is currently working with an American contractor who -in 2006- specified pigtails for shielding termination on a military aircraft. EMI is infinitely complex, and if engineers are still failing to make the most basic of EMI decisions correctly, anything is possible.
Trains also require EMI testing to 20V/m. About 10 years ago we worked on a new train running out of NYC which would open the doors and apply emergency breaks when a cell phone was used in just the right location.
Stating that EMI could not cause a flight systems failure is ridiculous. If they feel it necessary they should conduct a review.
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