Editor's Note - Flight of Failure RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Commercial aviation has become significantly—even remarkably—safer over the past 30 years, but when accidents do happen, it’s often at the intersection of automated systems and the pilots who command them. Now the investigation into the crash of two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is producing hard questions and even harder lessons about the role of software and automation in flight.

    Read this article in the May 2019 issue of MSDN Magazine

    Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:18 PM

All replies

  • I disagree  a bit.  I think the real problem is that commercial airplanes are becoming  more and more less manageable without computers due to a trade-off between  good  aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. On the other side, the pilots are more or less degrading into computer operators and  are more and more less capable to fly by themselves.

    As a matter of fact, I can imagine that in some near future commercial airplanes will be managed by operators at distance just like drones nowadays.

    so, the incidents like those are likely to  multiply..

    • Edited by Corigent Wednesday, May 22, 2019 8:03 PM
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019 8:02 PM
  • I very much agree with you. Pilots are increasingly becoming systems managers. But when things go sideways, they're expected to also be stick-and-rudder jocks. But that can be hard to pull off when there's an increasing gray area between manual flight and automation.

    The Air France 447 crash I mentioned is a classic case in point of the problem you describe. When the pitot tubes iced over and the autopilot quit and the instruments spewed bad data, it confused the first officer flying so badly that he held the jet in a nose-high stall for minutes, until they crashed belly first into the sea. And in the case of the 737 MAX, the Ethiopian Airline pilot failed to reduce throttle from take-off thrust, overspeeding the airplane and making manual trim inputs impossible.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2019 9:46 PM