Computer System "Irregularity" Cited in Qantus Aircraft Emergency

Qantas flight QF72 traveling from Singapore to Perth on Tuesday was forced to make an emergency landing in at Learmonth air base in Western Australia (about 1,100 kilometres northeast of the state capital Perth ) after it unexpectedly and rapidly climbed and then lost altitude. Some 70 plus passengers and crew were injured, some severely.

Initial speculation was that the aircraft hit a pocket of air turbulence. However, now, speculation is that there may have been something wrong with the onboard computer equipment. Air safety investigators supposedly have told Qantas that, "The pilots received electronic centralised aircraft monitoring messages in the cockpit relating to some irregularity with the aircraft's elevator control system."

However, in another story appearing today in the Australian paper the HeraldSun, speculation focuses on a known problem with elevation controls on the Airbus A330-300 aircraft, the type of aircraft involved in the incident. This story seems to imply that the problem was more likely mechanical than computer-oriented in nature, and was one that was supposed to have been fixed by June of this year to comply with a safety directive covering the issue.

I'll let you know what transpires are the story moves from the realm of speculation to fact.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City