Software upgrade caused major incident for flights

It was recently found out that a software flaw seriously affected a flight departing from Birmingham last July.

Indeed, it would seem that, due to a language difference, all-female passengers who used ‘Miss’ as a title were classified as children and not adults. This happened after the software received an upgrade during the lockdown, while all flights were suspended.

This error meant that the weight used for all female passengers using ‘Miss’ for take-off calculations was lower than it should have been, which could have led to serious consequences.

It was then discovered that the software flaw was due to the fact that it has been programmed in a foreign country where ‘Miss’ was only used to address children. Hence, 38 adult women on the plan were considered children by the computer system, leading to an important difference in weight.

The Air Accidents Aviation Branch (AAIB) however reported that the difference was only by 0.1%, meaning that the flight was safe. It was found out that other flights were affected by this error but manual checks were performed so as to prevent it from happening again. The software was also upgraded once more, resolving the problem.

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