After adults are given a child’s weight, the plane takes off with less thrust.

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A software bug that may have resulted in disaster

Software bugs are unavoidable, but their severity varies depending on the circumstances. Since female passengers with the title “Miss” were wrongly marked as children, a flight from the United Kingdom to Spain took off more than a tonne heavier than scheduled.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) described the mistake as a “critical event,” with 38 passengers on the flight being assigned a child’s “normal weight” of 35kg (77 pounds) rather than the adult figure of 69kg (152 pounds).

The mistake meant the plane’s load sheet, used to calculate inputs during take-off, had a discrepancy of 1,244 kg (2,743 pounds). Thankfully, the pilot said the thrust was only “marginally less” than what was required. “This meant the safe operation of the aircraft was not compromised,” wrote the AAIB.

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According to the Press Association, the error was caused by an upgrade to the reservation system of Anglo-German airline Tui when its planes were grounded due to Covid-19 restrictions. The title “Miss” is used for a child in the unnamed country where the software is created, and “Ms” is used for an adult female.

The code was corrected 11 days before the incident when the error was discovered, but this did not fix the weight entries for the July 21 flights.

“Our clients’ and crew’s wellbeing and wellbeing are still our top priorities. Following this isolated event, we fixed a flaw in our IT system. According to the study, the flight’s safety was not jeopardised “TUI said.

 

Masthead image: Craig Russell

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