Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The computer is never wrong

The airplane, however, is at the wrong airport:
Finger trouble with onboard navigation systems led to an Air Asia flight making a two-hour internal hop in Australia before its scheduled journey to Malaysia. 
An investigation report by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the March flight disclosed the cockup, which it said was down to the A330's captain “inadvertently enter[ing] the wrong longitudinal position of the aircraft.”
And so the plane ended up in Melbourne rather than Malaysia.  This is the type of sequence of errors that gets people killed.  Nobody hurt in this case, thankfully.

I highly recommend everyone clicking through to read the entire comedy of errors.  This is precisely why we should not put too much faith in technology.


Ted said...

Why does the pilot need to tell the nav system where it's starting from. My GPS generally knows where it is as soon as it links ups . It's maybe not in agreement as to the best way to reach a destination, But it works by telling it where I want to go not where I'm starting from.

It sounds like they are using some sort of "dead reconing " system where you enter the starting point and then gestimate your position based on speed and direction. Didn't that sort of nav disappear 30 years ago???

I'm concerned that the only apparent way to rest everything required a VFR landing

Ted said...

........ And the computer was not at fault. It did exactly what it was told to do.

Tom Lindsay said...

So, has anyone thought to look around in Melbourne to see if Flight 370 is parked on the tarmac somewhere?

Too soon?

Old NFO said...

Something similar to KAL 007, missing one checkpoint capture, autopilot never took control... FYI Ted, most systems DO require an initial input to start spinning up and doing the GPS searches.

drjim said...

Garbage IN, garbage OUT!

Anonymous said...

As the article implies...this wouldn't have happened without a patch. So much faith in the tech (sigh).

Some carriers appear to insist on their crews assuming a near-complete reliance on technology. Then when something goes wrong, the crews struggle to cope. No one got hurt this time, fortunately.