Spanish plane crash may have been caused by software fault

20 May 2015

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A military plane crash that occurred near Seville, Spain earlier this month may have been caused by software problems.

Four crew members were killed when the Airbus A400M crashed just after taking off for its first flight on 9 May. According to Reuters‘ sources, the company has ordered software checks focusing on a possible problem with the system running the plane’s turboprop engines.

Sources say the issue might have been caused by the way the software had been installed, and not a flaw in its design.

Airbus has also sent out an alert to other air forces operating the A400M, advising them to carry out checks on the Electronic Control Units (ECU) on board.

“To avoid potential risks in any future flights, Airbus Defence and Space has informed the operators about necessary actions to take,” the company said in a statement. “In addition, these results have immediately been shared with the official investigation team.

“The AOT requires Operators to perform one-time specific checks of the Electronic Control Units (ECU) on each of the aircraft’s engines before next flight and introduces additional detailed checks to be carried out in the event of any subsequent engine or ECU replacement.

“This AOT results from Airbus Defence and Space’s internal analysis and is issued as part of the Continued Airworthiness activities, independently from the ongoing official investigation.”

The Airbus A400M was developed to carry heavy military equipment. Following the crash, air forces of four countries grounded their crafts while the incident was investigated.

Airbus A400M image via Shutterstock

Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com