The Deadliest Airplane Crash Caused by a Simple Software Error

All 189 people lost their lives!

4 mins read
The Deadliest Airplane Crash Caused by a Simple Software Error

The 2018 plane crash in Indonesia was undoubtedly one of the deadliest. Everyone on board, including the crew, lost their lives. And the cause was a software bug…

The pilots were experienced and the airplane was new, but the misfortunes that started with a software error on the plane would lead to a chain of errors that would lead to an unfortunate end.

Let us tell you how what started as a short and ordinary flight turned into a disaster that took 189 lives at the end of the 11th minute…

A plane from one of the most well-known airlines was about to take off for a short flight

Lion Air, one of Indonesia’s relatively affordable airlines, was a favorite of many. On October 28, 2018, a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max, accustomed to flying short, domestic flights every day, was due to take off on a 1.5-hour domestic flight to Bankga Island in Indonesia. The plane was also relatively new, with only 900 hours of flight time.

The captain of the aircraft was Bhavye Suneja, 31, with 6000 hours of flight experience. The co-pilot was 41-year-old Harvino with 5200 hours of flight experience. There were 189 people on board, including 9 flight crew members, and almost half of them were prosecutors and police officers.

The pilot and co-pilot had discrepancies on the instrument panel

The co-pilot would transmit the knots (the airplane’s base speed used in performance and aerodynamic calculations) to the captain. Since the knot level that the captain and co-pilot saw on their own screens was sent from different sources, they had to check each other’s screens.

When the co-pilot informed the captain that the speedometer had reached 80 knots, the captain’s display read 78. Since there was only a difference of 2 units, no anomaly was noticed at first. Later, when the plane took off, the system that warned the pilot by vibration was activated and they were ascending at a speed of 1000 feet per minute.

Except for the pilots, no one noticed anything was wrong. Not only was the difference in the airspeed indicators getting wider and wider, but there was also a big difference in the altitude levels. The plane was nose down and the captain couldn’t get his nose up.

System on board would have caused the accident

The Deadliest Airplane Crash Caused by a Simple Software Error

The reason why the airplane went nose down on its own was because it already had a system called MCAS. Because of MCAS, the aircraft would automatically nose down to the appropriate angle in the event of an inability to hover at low speeds and high nose angles.

In this case, the system kept going nose down because it kept receiving commands from the captain’s malfunctioning display. In fact, the MCAS was activated at least 10 times.

The plane, which took off only 11 minutes ago, crashed into the Java Sea

The plane, which was heading nose down, unfortunately crashed into the sea. There were no survivors on board, including the crew… The only thing that remained intact on the plane, which was pulled out of 35 meters of water, were the black boxes and it was immediately clear that the problem was the MCAS.

This accident has gone down in history as one of the deadliest accidents. Boeing admitted its mistake and temporarily banned the use of Boeing 737 Max airplanes.

Source: Business InsiderThe GuardianNY Post 


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