Reply to post: Re: Hey software, get the fuck out of the way!

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Andre Carneiro

Re: Hey software, get the fuck out of the way!

Also.... The issue with that particular AF flight was multifactorial (as these things often are) and started before the actual event (as these things often do).

In a very very quick summary, there were significant training issues. Losing Air Data at high altitude is serious but it's fairly trivial to maintain level flight using Thrust and Attitude (pitch up measurement) alone. There are tables for that in the manual: ""For this thrust, at this weight, with this pitch, this plane will fly at approximately this altitude and continue doing so").

The choice of route (straight through a thunderstorm from which other planes had deviated) was probably a determinant factor and indicated the complacency of the pilots and the over confidence in the superiority of the technology (the last point being driven home by the fact that the copilot had a full nose up input on the stick for most of the incident which is a schoolboy error when dealing with a stall, because he assumed the alpha-protections would keep the plane from stalling). That the Captain was absent from the flight deck when the plane entered the storm cell again may suggest complacency or a lack of awareness of the risk.

It was all very sad and it is easy to analyse with the retrospectoscope but ultimately the software did exactly what it should do and the plane should not have come down.

Then again I wasn't there and the barrage of inconsistent warnings and failures would probably have overwhelmed me as well.

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