The QF72 A330 Accident – Send Lawyers, Guns & Money*

22/09/2010

The fallout from the QF 72 in flight accident has now reached the courts with Australian Aviation reporting that passengers and crew have taken up a joint class action against Airbus and Northrop Grumman (the manufacturer of the faulty Air Data Inertial Reference Unit).

It will be interesting to see how much more light these legal proceedings shed upon the root causes of the accident. Given that the ATSB has resolutely continued to pursue the ’cause’ of the fault rather than reflecting upon the vulnerabilities of the system that were exposed, I don’t expect a much greater level of introspection from the legal fraternity.

For those of you who are interested in the deeper issues however see my earlier posts on the problem with Airbus voting algorithms , integrated architectures as well as the weaknesses of the human machine interface in the A330. For what it’s worth my opinion is that the unworkable way in which the ECAM presented multiple faults to the aircrew violates at least the spirit of JAR/FAR regulations.

*With apologies to Ambrose Bierce.