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Lawsuit Brought in Case of 2008 Qantas Airbus 330 Uncontrolled Plunge

Passengers and pilots suing Airbus, Northrop Grumman and others

1 min read
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.

The Conversation (0)

Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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