Was Heathrow 777 crash caused by poltergeists?

Summary:Despite speculation (also here and here) that the January 17 crash of a BA airplane at Heathrow Airport was caused by defective software, the most recent Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report does not draw this conclusion.

Was Heathrow 777 crash caused by poltergeists?

Despite speculation (also here and here) that the January 17 crash of a BA airplane at Heathrow Airport was caused by defective software, the most recent Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report does not draw this conclusion. Although the investigation has not yet unconvered the cause of the crash, preliminary analysis points toward the fuel system:

Investigations are now underway in an attempt to replicate the damage seen to the engine high pressure fuel pumps, and to match this to the data recorded on the accident flight. In addition, comprehensive examination and analysis is to be conducted on the entire aircraft and engine fuel system; including the modelling of fuel flows taking account of the environmental and aerodynamic effects.

Speculation that faulty software caused the accident arose because AAIB preliminary statements did not offer concrete findings:

The investigation is now focused on more detailed analysis of the Flight Recorder information, collecting further recorded information from various system modules and examining the range of aircraft systems that could influence engine operation.

THE PROJECT FAILURES ANALYSIS

Anyone involved with IT systems is keenly aware of the frequency with which software failures occur. In addition, many observers feel almost viscerally uncomfortable when a technical problem cannot be properly explained after some research.

This drive toward closure pushes some writers to accept a kind of "ghosts in the machine" logic, where they place unexplained technical phenomenon into a black box called "software failure." Such logic represents little more than poor thinking and, even worse, failure-mongering.

Instead of jumping to conclusions, I suggest we wait for the AAIB to complete it's investigation.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Software

About

Michael Krigsman is recognized internationally as an analyst, strategy advisor, enterprise advocate, and blogger. For CIOs and IT leadership, he addresses issues such as innovation, business transformation, project-related business objectives and strategy, and vendor planning. For enterprise software vendors and venture-funded star... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.