Speculation laptop use caused Qantas flight plunge


resident denizen
<bod> Air safety investigators say it is too early to blame passenger laptop computers for causing a Qantas jet to abruptly nose dive on a flight from Singapore to Perth.
The Airbus A330-300, with 303 passengers and a crew of 10, experienced what the airline described as a "sudden change in altitude" north of its destination on Tuesday.
The mid-air incident resulted in injuries to 74 people, with 51 of them treated by three hospitals in Perth for fractures, lacerations and suspected spinal injuries.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has said an "irregularity" in one of the plane's computers may have caused the dramatic altitude change which hurled passengers around the cabin.
Laptops could have interfered with the plane's on-board computer system, it has been reported.
But the bureau says it's too early to make that judgment.
A spokeswoman said the bureau had not yet received an update from its investigators at Learmonth, near Exmouth in WA's north, where the plane was forced to land.
The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder had only just arrived at the ATSB's Canberra headquarters and were yet to be analysed.

Seems a little early to place blame.


New Member
The flight commands between the FMS and the AP aren't over the waves. It's a hardwire connection. Sure, hardwires are subject to fields, just as waves are, but a notebook computer won't put out enough of a signal to disrupt wiring. Not unless it was made to disrupt it, but even that's a stretch.

Sounds like the media is trying to add unnecessary drama to the incident.

I still vote CAT.


Unknown Member
Pilot error. One of the pilots accidentally leaned against the joystick with enough force to disconnect the A/P and send the aircraft into its plunge. More probable than some "laptop" interference, right?


Well-Known Member
to abruptly nose dive on a flight
The media's favourite phrase when reporting about an airplane incident/accident. That word along with "single-engine Cessna" (where the accident aircraft could even be a Beech Baron...but oh no, that's a single-engine Cessna!).


Well-Known Member
Wasnt this first reported as a close mid-air collision? Now laptops? What next? TSA gremlins looking for hijackers in the wiring bays?


Incorrect flight data led Qantas A330 to descend sharply: ATSB

A Qantas Airways Airbus A330 that descended suddenly appears to have received faulty data from one of its units and this then played havoc with the aircraft's flight control system.

"At this stage of the investigation, the analysis of the available data indicates that the air data inertial reference unit (ADIRU) 1 abnormal behaviour is the likely origin of the event," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says in a statement today, referring to an incident that occurred on 7 October while the Qantas A330 was enroute from Singapore to Perth.

"The faulty ADIRU unit continued to feed erroneous and spike values, for various aircraft parameters, to the aircraft's flight control primary computers."

This "led to several consequences including: false stall and over-speed warnings, loss of altitude information on the captain's primary flight display and several centralised aircraft monitoring system warnings."

Because the ADIRU 1 generated very high, random and incorrect angles of attack it meant that "the flight control computers commanded a nose-down aircraft movement, which resulted in the aircraft pitching down to a maximum of 8.5 degrees."

It also "triggered a flight control primary computer pitch fault".

The ATSB says the crew responded in a timely fashion and helped prevent the aircraft's rapid descent from being even greater.

In its preliminary review released on 9 October the ATSB says the A330 descended about 650ft in about 20s, before returning to the cruising level of 37,000ft.

Then about 70s later the A330 descended about 400ft in about 16s before returning to the cruising level. In both instances the aircraft was pitched nose-down.

Of the 303 passengers and 10 crew on board 14 people were seriously injured, an additional group of up to 30 had serious enough injuries to receive medical treatment in hospital and up to a further 30 required first aid treatment, says the ATSB.

The Qantas pilots responded by making an emergency landing at Learmonth, a remote airport in northwest Western Australia and from there the passengers were put on other aircraft and flown to Perth.

In today's statement the ATSB says Airbus a few moments ago issued an operators information telex providing information about the incident along with recommendations to A330 and Airbus A340 operators that have aircraft fitted with the same type of ADIRU as on the Qantas aircraft.

The recommendations include "guidance and checklists for crew response in the event of an inertial reference system failure".

ATSB says it will issue a preliminary factual report within 30 days of the incident.

ADIRUs provide data with regards to the aircraft's air speed, altitude, position and altitude.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news
But his Airbus can land in bad weather :D (joke from another thread).

WTF ... bad data (from one of three boxes!) should not cause that kind of upset. That's like going into a false landing mode because of crappy data from the Radio Altimeter.


Frozen Guppy Manipulator
Wait, so two ~1600 fpm descents in about 2-3 mins time caused a bunch of serious injuries to include fractures and lacerations? Even without a seatbelt on...what were those people doing gymnastics in the aisles at the time?