Everyone is afraid of a terrorist crashing an airplane that they are flying on. While this is a real threat, we should also be mindful of the software that controls these same airliners. Brendan Spaar has learned that new airplanes rely on software now more than ever to control their flight. Some pilots merely babysit an autopilot system and are mostly in the cockpit in case something goes wrong. With all of the advances in technology, we still must remember that computers are only as smart as the people that design and program them. The FAA has recently alerted that due to a programming mistake in the Boeing Dreamliner 787’s software, the buffer for instructions sent to the plane’s generator control units would fill up in 248 days, causing the electrical system to revert to a “fail safe” mode. This could result in a loss of control to the engines by the pilot. Luckily this issue was discovered before any plane crashes occurred. Boeing says that they will fix the software defect in an upcoming patch. Until then, airlines are advised to reboot their planes before 248 days. Brendan Spaar never would have thought that you had to reboot a plane!
Boeing 787 Dreamliner