Lawsuit Brought in Case of 2008 Qantas Airbus 330 Uncontrolled Plunge

Passengers and pilots suing Airbus, Northrop Grumman and others

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Lawsuit Brought in Case of 2008 Qantas Airbus 330 Uncontrolled Plunge

Two years ago, I blogged about the Qantas flight QF72 traveling from Singapore to Perth which was forced to make an emergency landing at Learmonth air base in Western Australia (about 1,100 kilometers northeast of the state capital Perth) after it unexpectedly and rapidly climbed and then lost altitude. Some passengers and crew were injured, many seriously.

The cause was traced to a problem with the Airbus A330-300 Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU). You can read more about it in depth in the second interim Australian Transport Safety Bureaureport or a summary of the incident on Wikipedia.

This week, there were several news reports about at least 76 passengers filing suit against Airbus, and Northrop Grumman, Dupont and Motorola in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, seeking unspecified compensation. The pilots on the flight are also suing.

An Airbus spokesperson was quoted in this Western Australian (WA) newspaper article as saying: 

"The investigation into flight QF72 is ongoing, and any suggestion the factors are known is premature… Airbus is continuing to assist the ATSB in its investigations."

The US statute of limitations for bringing lawsuits against Airbus et co. expires on the 7th of October.

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Top Tech 2022: A Special Report

Preview two dozen exciting technical developments that are in the pipeline for the coming year

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Photo of the lower part of a rocket in an engineering bay.

NASA’s Space Launch System will carry Orion to the moon.

Frank Michaux/NASA

At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report

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