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Airbus A380 Under Fire 587

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the u.s.-laws-that-aren't-so-bad dept.
jose parinas writes "The security of the Airbus A380 jetliner is questioned by a U.S. Engineer that faces arrest and bankruptcy in Austria. A year ago, Mangan told European aviation authorities that he believed there were problems with a computer chip on the Airbus A380, the biggest and costliest commercial airliner ever built."
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Airbus A380 Under Fire

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  • easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:09PM (#13695482) Homepage
    Take chip, look for problem, if exists fix and replace. It isn't like they would have to rebuild the whole plane.
  • Re:Under fire? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:11PM (#13695486)
    Airbus A380 Under Fire

    anyone else thought this literally meant an A380 was on fire?

    sheesh, they really need to name the stories better ;)

  • by antek9 (305362) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:18PM (#13695527)
    Let's just hope at least slashdot does keep its hands out of the propaganda war already started between Boeing (US) and Airbus Industries (EU). It's a dirty economical struggle, its about jobs and profits in the US, or jobs and profits in Europe. And because of that, plus the military aspects of aircraft research and development, both companies are, and will always be heavily funded by the respective governments.
    Keep that in mind before making mindless posts about A. vs. B. . Thanks for your time.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:20PM (#13695534)
    Let us assume that a problem is found. But even if it is fixed, then how can we know for sure that other problemtic parts were used? If this chip was able to get through the engineering screening process, perhaps other faulty componentry was used as well. A fault here could, in theory, make need for a complete analysis of every single part used. And in a plane this size, that's a massive amount of time and effort.

  • The next concorde? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dingo_aus (905721) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:22PM (#13695539)
    The fact that the company forged his signature on internal certifications should be enough to throw the burden of proof on the company. What worries me about this chip is "The system was executing "unpredictable" commands when it received certain data, possibly causing the pressure valves to open accidentally" So with the right junk data the system fails........at 30,000 feet, great :( Why are they moving away from using several chips from several manufacturers to reduce the risk? Will this be the next concorde? I suppose we'll have to wait a few years until the right (wrong?) junk data is sent to the pressure control chip and 800 people die......... I sure hope not.
  • by br00tus (528477) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:24PM (#13695547)
    The story begins with a portrait that tries to paint this fellow sympathetically, and I normally would look on him sympathetically. He goes to the government and complains about problems he perceives, and he gets fired. The events transpire, and eventually a judge tells him to be quiet. By now this is out in the public - he is an American with a family in a foreign city and if he had a need to do something he did it. But then he violates the judges order and begins posting about this on a blog? It makes me think there's something more to the story, or as aviation consultant Weber says "There is something really unusual about this case in the sense that there is this hard standoff between Airbus and the individual, it doesn't make any sense to me." It doesn't make sense - him violating a judges order doesn't make sense, them filing criminal charges doesn't make sense. There seems to be something more at work here. I'll read more about this, but both parties are acting unusual to the point where I am really on neither side, whereas normally I suppose I would be on his side.
  • Re:Autopilot (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:28PM (#13695562)
    To your first question: Yes, the pressurization system knows the aircraft lost pressue. No, the autopilot doesn't know. They're seperate systems. That's a very good idea, though, there must be a reason why no one thought to do it that way. Perhaps they separate the systems in order to avoid having all the systems die if one does?

    With the amount of technology out there, I'm sure this is technically possible... but reprogramming the gps based on a reading from one system seems kind of scary to me. What if the pressure gauge malfunctions and shows a loss of pressurization? The autopilot goes HAL9000 and the pilots can't stop the landing (afterall, you wouldn't want stray control movements to override the system - what if the pilot falls forward while he's unconscious and hits the control column?). Good ideas, nonetheless...
  • Re:Autopilot (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Fastball (91927) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:30PM (#13695571) Journal
    We have all this technology but it's implemented by idiots.

    Written by someone with no clue about the complexity of modern avionics. If the folks in charge of writing autopilot software are idiots, then I invite you step right in and do it for them, since you seem to know what's what.
  • Re:ha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:31PM (#13695573)
    I'll tell you the secret that I discovered. I always liked moderation, but never got to moderate much. I've always had excellent karma, so that wasn't it. I read Taco's posts about /. on his Journal, and one day he mentioned thinking of re-dooing the moderation system, and how there are different kinds of moderators, and what not. He said something along the lines of "I can count on one hand the number of excellent moderators there are" and that they try to give them more points. Recently, I've been moderating at least once a month if not more.

    The secret: never (almost) moderate a comment with a score of 3 or higher up. By that point, the comment is known. You can moderate any comment down if it deserves it (don't bother moderating the 0 and -1 posts down). Find the diamonds in the rough. Read at -1 when you get mod points and mod up those posts that are really good/funny. Even if they are from ACs or start at 1, moderate them up.

    This is easiest to do if you do it on new stories. Get in there with the first few comments. That is your best chance to find them. Once the post count grows, many of those posts are already up at 5, and you are unlikely to find any new great posts down low (unless everyone completely misses the point of the story).

    One other thing: I never meta-moderate. I used to. I did it daily. It never seemed to increase the number of mod points I got. I stopped meta-moderating because the politics section appeared (I'm right-wing and I can't STAND reading the politics section's comments: they are so full of hate and so far left very often. There is no respect and the most hateful vitriol can end up +5 Insightful fast.) Shortly there after, I discovered the technique above and have been getting many mod points ever since.

    Last (and hopefully obvious): USE THE POINTS. Don't let them expire, otherwise it will be a long time before you get more. Save them for a story you know a lot about (something in your field) if possible, but don't let them expire.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:33PM (#13695585)

    I am an Australian working for a French aerospace company and there is no way I would trust a European Government to back me up in a case like this.

    More than in the USA aerospace firms are seen as a branch of defense in Europe, and the courts will not look kindly on whistle blowers.

    He should have gone back to the USA and started his campaign from there. He would get more backing from Boeing supporters and the US Government certainly would not act against him for criticising EADS.

  • by Muhammar (659468) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:35PM (#13695594)
    I worked for 3 pharma companies. I would never openly challenge a company like this about their product. I would find a new employer first and then I would try to leak out what was going on - and I would be extra careful that my new and old employers would not find out it was me. Why volunteer yourselfs to go in front of a firing squad? - It is not important that you made the point first, give a journalist a hint, he will give you a story. If they then call you then to testify, you do it, maybe without trying to look eager.

    Reporting to autorities on your own employer - even if there was a serious wrongdoing - is certain to end your industry career.
  • Re:easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:37PM (#13695600)
    The problem isn't just with the chip. The problem is that where typically these systems on commercial airlines are triply redundant (from three different manufacturers, even) for safety, plus a manual override, the Airbus has only one system and no manual override. But Airbus wanted to save some weight, and cut out the backups. Bringing the system up to customary standards would indeed require a lot of redesign.
  • Re:Under fire? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:39PM (#13695610)
    well, with the notorious bad slashdot grammar skills, you could intuitively assume that under=on
  • This reeks of FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:44PM (#13695636)
    "Mangan told European aviation authorities that he believed there were problems with a computer chip on the Airbus A380"

    "Mangan alleges that flaws in a microprocessor could cause the valves that maintain cabin pressure on the A380 to accidentally open during flight"

    If there was an inclining of truth to this I doubt he would be going through this drama. Europe is VERY different to the US when it comes to corporate coverups.

    I believe there is a major flaw with the fuel injection computer on ALL Ford motor vehicles which could at any time take control of your vehicle, disable the airbags and crash into the nearest telegraph pole (which it finds by GPS) at high speed.
    Buy a Chev instead, to be safe!
  • Re:austria (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@@@gmail...com> on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:46PM (#13695644)
    IANAL, but I doubt it's as bad as the article makes it sound. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some serious misconceptions resulting from a false application of US terminology and system of law to a European one. Maybe some (Austrian) lawyer can shed some light on it.

    Maybe I'm biased, but I found the article to be kind of terrible overall - the writing is very confused, it repeats itself all the time and there doesn't seem to be any internal logic or progression, just random bits of (mis-)information. For instance: Airbus is owned by British and Dutch companies; yes, well, EADS which holds an 80% share of Airbus (apparently) is legally a Dutch company but I'm sure the French and my some of my fellow Germans would disagree with the notion that it's Dutch.
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @07:46PM (#13695645)
    The FAA and European agencies are pretty close to each other on regulations...a good thing since we fly big commercial aircraft in each others airspace all the time. The rest of the Airbus fleet is type-certificated in the US, I can only assume they wish the same for the A380.

    In this country, you're not going to put an "off the shelf" anything in a commercial aircraft unless it's gone through appropriate approval processes. You can't change the color of the fluid in the compass bowl without PMA approval.

    Furthermore, if they want thier TCDS (Type Certificate Data Sheet), they will need to, among other things:

    1) Fully ground test the operation of the depressurization valves

    2) Ground pressurization test the aircraft

    3) Test the pressurization systems in flight

    [Reference: Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 25, Subpart D, Paragraphs 841 and 843]

    Bypassing the approval process for a component is a serious charge. However, given that a gigantic double-decker commercial aircraft has "new and novel" written all over it, something just doesn't quite compute here.

    Smells like a propaganda war, but I'll keep my eye on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:12PM (#13695739)
    I thought many if not most airline pilots started their careers as a hot shit Navy (or Air Force) Jet Jock?
  • Re:Autopilot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:14PM (#13695744) Journal
    If the folks in charge of writing autopilot software are idiots, then I invite you step right in and do it for them, since you seem to know what's what.

    He wasn't bashing the implementers, he was bashing the people who decide what to implement.

    -jcr
  • Re:Offer (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:14PM (#13695745)
    What if everything he has said was a blatant lie?

    Then it is TTTech which are being very lenient and forgiving.

    Let's not forget, he was paid a LOT of money design the system which is flawed. Think about it!
  • My reactions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:20PM (#13695769) Homepage
    My first reaction was the expected "Oh my god! This consciencious guy is getting royally screwed!" and I immediately felt for his situation and could only hope to be as honorable.

    But after reading the article and the other Slashdot opinions, I too think there's a lot that needs to be revealed before we can form an opinion about this.

    Ultimately, we should hope that all the facts are revealed in this case and quickly. If there's a problem, it should be fixed and let this thing move on. If there's not, then I hope the true motivations are revealed as well. But I don't want to see this problem disappear under secrecy and then read about some horrible terrorist attack that was actually a system malfunction in disguise.
  • by pallmall1 (882819) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:21PM (#13695773)
    Maybe he remembers the space shuttle Challenger [nspe.org] disaster. Seven people died then, when an engineer followed company orders not to oppose the launch and to keep quiet.

    Maybe Mangan, the former ITTech engineer, has a conscience and takes his ethical responsibilities as an engineer seriously. If he knows of a problem and knows the company has falsified test data, it is his duty to come forward. To remain quiet would make him partially responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people should a catastrophic failure occur in the Airbus pressure valves.

    Also, how reliable are the systems that tell the forward landing gear to point sideways? (Remember the recent Airbus emergency landing?)
  • by MrPerfekt (414248) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:32PM (#13695817) Homepage Journal
    You're doing the morally right thing but you'll get the shaft every time...

    Mangan said he was looking for a new job. He has contacted dozens of aerospace firms in the U.S. and Europe, but none have returned his calls. "Nobody wants to touch me," he said.

    It's not really shocking that nobody wants to touch you after you've potentially cost your former employer, in the same field no less, millions of dollars. It's amazing to me though that the US has some of the best protection laws when it comes to this sort of thing.
  • Re:Offer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nutshell42 (557890) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:35PM (#13695826) Journal
    This doesn't sound like much after all he's been through

    It sounds like much more than he deserves if he really started spreading FUD after it was clear that he was going to lose his job.

    The only way to decide whether he is a whistle blower or a liar that tries to make some cash by blackmailing his former employer and Airbus is to have an independent review of the chip in question. Airbus said they did that but of course they're biased.

  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:36PM (#13695830) Homepage
    I'll take that one further.

    A Persons first duty is always to the public.

    It doesn't matter who you are. If your a cook, and know the meat your using was mishandeled, you have an obligation to prevent human consumption. Doctors have an obligation to preserve life. A cop's first duty is to the public (before his fellow officers or commanders).

  • by scotty777 (681923) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:43PM (#13695859) Journal
    I find this report very disturbing. The lack of protection for European whistle-blowers is terrible.

    If the guy is wrong about his concerns, he should still be allowed to have them heard. I'd rather have 9 out of ten "squalks" amount to nothing, than suffer the consequenses of the tenth.

    I'm shocked at the shortsightedness of Airbus response. Since Boeing is deploying the chips, in the American legal environment, there is no way an open process can be avoided. What in the world is the Airbus executive suite thinking? They have made a "no win" choice.

    If Boeing confirms the problem, then Airbus looks like they were playing fast-and-loose with peoples lives. If Boeing, in an open process, confirms the safety of the part... Well then folks will ask why Airbus didn't open the process. And all the while Airbus looks like an ugly outfit to work for...

    I just don't understand why they're playing it this way. This closed-process "deny, deny, deny" attitude destroyed Douglas Aircraft's business after the Chicago DC-10 crash. I hope the A-380 will prove safe in service, but I do wish they allowed whistle-blowers to live in peace, and addressed the claims with engineers, not lawyers.

  • Re:easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:44PM (#13695863)
    One of his key concerns is that all the chips used to control the pressure valves are of the same type. Historically, this has been considered a risk because any logic flaw could cause all the chips to fail simultaneously: an extremely dangerous possibility. This is apart from the claim that such logic flaws do currently exist in the chip and the company tried to cover them up (to the extent of forging his signature). According to TFA, alternative methods would lead to extra weight and throw off the whole design.

    I usually treat employee claims such as this with extreme skepticism, but his position within the company (chief engineer) and his obvious sincerity make this case very troubling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:53PM (#13695898)
    No, those are different questions actually. Especially when it comes to safety analysis, they are VERY different questions.

    -srr
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @08:54PM (#13695902)
    GP:
    > > how can we know for sure that other problemtic parts were used?

    Parent:
    > You can't. It's impossible to prove a negative.

    Parent refers to the well-known axiom that you can't prove something doesn't exist. I agree, so mod him up. However, let me play Devil's Advocate a second. Remember the exponential solution to circuit sat? An insane SOB can just plug in all 2^^N of the circuit values and demonstrate that in fact there is no possible input combination (nobody said there was a requirement for this to happen in polynomial time). Therefore, Airbus could in theory test every possible state of every possible combination of circuits found in the aircraft, and after many decades/centuries/millennia/eons of testing they will have proven that there were in fact no more defects. Nevermind that all the original engineers and their grandchildren might be dead, it's still possible to prove that there are no defects.
  • Re:Autopilot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @09:01PM (#13695944)
    You can't design by anecdote. Complex designs need a philosophy behind them. One of those philosophical points/principles is that (at least in some companies) you can't save the airplane from the pilot.

    Other than that, there is a lot of history (and inertia) in aerospace design. Some of these thoughts (like yours) are prompted by accidents and some of those thoughts are considered in the newer designs (certainly you can't foresee every problem that can happen in the real world). That is why the modern airliners are safer than the older ones.

    -srr
  • Re:easy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Scooter (8281) <owenNO@SPAMannicnova.force9.net> on Saturday October 01, 2005 @09:06PM (#13695972)
    Yes - that takes care of the actual technical issue. These guys are trying to avoid costly and time consuming certification that must be done on *new* controller chips. If they can successfully blag the powers that be that it's an existing one, then no certification required.

    This is an unfortunate side effect of "too many procedures, too many monkeys, not enough reasonable thinkers" that plagues most modern corporates. Eventually, for most upper-middle management and below, the object becomes one of manipulating the policy to make the numbers they are judged by, better, rather than achieving any real world goal. So - (waves hand) "it's a tried and trusted chip guv'nor. Honest. You don't need to see his design schematics. In fact, these aren't even the chips you're looking for. Move along." will save them a whole bundle of cash; they won't have to wait for the chips to pass the tests, the 'plane will be built on time, and the faceless project manager/bean counter who didn't ever really understand the technical issue anyway get's his appraisal score up and a bigger bonus.

    Mind you, having seen a bit of telly recently about the A380, I reckon that things got other "issues". I still can't beleive they designed the main undercarriage in a way that it relies on the wheels to push certain parts of the cover out of the way when it deploys! The test crew had come round to sign for the aircraft for it's first test flight a week later and the wheels kept getting stuck on this bit of cover. They "fixed" it with some silicone spray! Why on earth they couldn't design a mechanism that opened fully before the wheels deployed is beyond me. But then I'm not an undercarraige designer...

    You know, I'm not sure I want to travel on anything designed and built in this day and age of mindless "by the numbers, one size fits all" policy and procedure. I see stuff built in this way by disparate vendors and in-house shops from around the globe that, when cobbled all together, sort of works but has a lot of inadequately explained failures. I can get frustrated with those, and maybe sometimes even laugh at them. But then, we don't make aeroplanes...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2005 @09:13PM (#13696015)
    Unless the component only fails under some environmental conditions (eg temperature, electromagnetic interference, power fluctuations etc). Alternatively, a simple circuit which superficially has N binary inputs and hence 2**N states might have state when it shouldn't. That inputs of 0...0 only cause a failure if there was a particular sequence of inputs immediately beforehand.
  • Mangan's blog (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmichaelg (148257) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @09:36PM (#13696134) Journal
    Joseph Mangan's blog [eaawatch.net] starts off being pretty inflamatory. However, down towards the bottom of his main page, he posts the minutes of a meeting that discusses how the employees should act if anyone asks about problems with the chip. The items he cites can be read two ways:
    1. say as little as needed to avoid getting entangled in details or...
    2. say as little as possible so Airbus is deceived into thinking the part is "simple."
    Without more documents, it's not clear to me which interpretation is closer to the truth.

    In this document [eaawatch.net] he asserts that the OS that runs on the chip was hacked together and that the software being delivered to Airbus was not put together according to the software engineering standards Airbus requires of its sub-contractors. He also says:

    In numerous official review findings by Honeywell International employees performing the role of external reviewers, led by Honeywell Engines and Systems Tucson, Software Quality Assurance Manager Jeff Young, TTTech consistently failed to deliver documentation, tests, and process compliance evidence at an acceptable level of quality.
    Perhaps someone here knows Jeff Young and can ask him if Mangan's charge is true vis-a-vis the product delivered to Honeywell.
  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @09:52PM (#13696202) Journal
    The fact that the company forged his signature on internal certifications should be enough to throw the burden of proof on the company.

    It's not a fact. It's a claim made by Mangan that no doubt will come up during trial. If this can be proven, then it's a really bad mark against the the company.
  • Re:Autopilot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idlake (850372) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @10:22PM (#13696325)
    If the folks in charge of writing autopilot software are idiots, then I invite you step right in and do it for them, since you seem to know what's what.

    Written by someone with no clue about how contracts are awarded in this modern economy. In real life, technical competency and contracts are at best weakly related.
  • Scewed up? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Saturday October 01, 2005 @11:02PM (#13696448)
    It sure sounds like Austria has a screwed up legal system.

    Screwed up as it is I don't think the Austrian system is any worse than the US, German, French. British one.... The basic truth is that every body is equal under the law in a Democracy and everybody can get justice. All you have to do is put up the money for a N-year long legal battle and we all know who is more likely to win that one don't we? Ciitizen John Q. Public or Corporation X? My money is on the corporation. The end result in cases like this usually is that however wrong they may be the corporations always win. They do it by dragging things out in court until they have bankrupted you broken up your marrage and genarally ruined yoru life causing you to give up. One is just left hoping that Boeing and Airbus both have the sense to test these chips exhaustively before one of their aircraft makes them regret their lethargy when several hundred people die. Of course it usually never sinks in until to late that the PR damage done by one of their new superliners crashing will cost them more than what they are saving by ignoring the problem but one can always hope for a miracle, like... say... an aerospace industry CEO growing a consience? I know it's a slim chance but I have't quite given up on the human race yet.
  • by EvilNTUser (573674) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:08AM (#13697426)

    The pilot made *excessive* alternating rudder inputs. The main problem with the aircraft seems to have been that it wasn't programmed to stop him. Try trusting the NTSB reports instead of the conspiracy theories.

    Not to mention that turning this into a pissing contest will force someone else to bring up the problems with the Boeing 737 rudder. You wouldn't want that, would you?

  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Begs (599325) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:09AM (#13697428)
    You may be correct. I did the same but came away with a little different instinct.

    I recognize a pattern I have seen before. When a person gets under this kind of pressure and scrutiny, they have a tendency to over explain, giving ever extending details right on out into the minutia.

    Here's why. They feel very vulnerable to fallacious but effective attack of "you got one thing wrong, so everything might be wrong" or the "you left one thing out, so what else are you hiding." They feel compelled to try and head off these attacks by being excessively expository and detailed, giving their writing that edge of paranoia.

    You may be right. But remember, just because he comes across as paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after him. It also doesn't mean that the conspiracy to cover up this supposed problem is only his imagination.
  • by Vario (120611) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:20AM (#13697566)
    Try to prove the this single atom is not chlorine.
    Come up with some ideas and you will find problems everywhere. Quantum mechanics kill any attempt in getting a 100% answer.
    You can't even locate the atom exactly, so how do you want to find out what type of atom it is exactly? You will even have a hard time proving that a chlorine atom is not as big as hour house. The probability will be very low, less than 1 in a trillion but it will never reach zero and so your prove will never work.
  • Re:Not Quite (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dspacemonkey (776615) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:33AM (#13697594) Homepage
    I would be more interested in finding out what the alleged flaw is. It doesn't give details in the article; has anyone seen anything more detailed?
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @06:53AM (#13697758) Journal
    The aircraft COULD NOT be programmed to not allow those rudder deflections. The type of Airbus that crashed was an older, non-fly-by-wire (traditional hydraulic controls) type.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02, 2005 @07:25AM (#13697841)
    The AC who made the GP comment.

    I wanted to make two points originally:
    1) With analogue things like temperature, the parameter space is not only infinite, it is not even countable.
    2) With things like history state, you get an infinite parameter space. Hence your tests will never finish.

    Therefore, it is impossible to test every single possible state, though in the real world, you can get close enough.

  • by sonamchauhan (587356) <sonamc@ g m a i l . com> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @07:54AM (#13697904) Journal
    I understand the legal system adequately. You need to understand that doing the right thing trumps European legalities when lives are at stake.

    Take a read of this - this happened a couple of weeks ago - a Greek airliner lost cabin pressure - everyone died:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2 005/08/16/MNGVAE8CRS1.DTL [sfgate.com]
    Aviation experts puzzled by clues in Greek disaster
    Crews well trained to handle cabin decompression


    Or it can follow a malfunction in the pressurization equipment, although such systems have built-in redundancies to prevent such problems.

    You see these "built-in redundancies" mentioned there? The new system this guy is working on won't have them.

    Now he's chief engineer for the company designing that one crucial control, so he's the domain expert. If he thinks there is a problem, industry is ignoring it, and the judge is siding with them and issuing a gag order, he did the right thing by following his conscience.

    As you darkly imply, he may have sacrified his career because of his troublemaker status. Worthwhile price to pay to follow your conscience.
  • Undercarrage test (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MROD (101561) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @08:41AM (#13698055) Homepage
    The test you saw was the emergency deployment when all hydraulic power has been lost and not normal deployment.

    In the case of a complete hydraulics failure the crew can actuate a manual lever which unlocks the undercarrage and deploys it using only gravity to do so. This is what you saw.

    Normally, the doors and the undercarrage itself are driven fully by the hydraulic system and the doors are never touched by the wheels or anything else.

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