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Software link suspected in Airbus A220 engine blowouts

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Software link suspected in Airbus A220 engine blowouts

Old 24th Oct 2019, 17:39
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Software link suspected in Airbus A220 engine blowouts

Reuters is reporting that A220 engine problems may be related to a recent engine software update.

Exclusive: Software link suspected in Airbus A220 engine blowouts - sources
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Old 24th Oct 2019, 20:40
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA View Post
Reuters is reporting that A220 engine problems may be related to a recent engine software update.

Exclusive: Software link suspected in Airbus A220 engine blowouts - sources
Airbus mangle compressor and spit-out system. Acronym left as exercise for the reader...
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Old 24th Oct 2019, 22:12
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If true it would be quiet a story...
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Old 24th Oct 2019, 22:41
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To err is human - to really screw up requires software.
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Old 25th Oct 2019, 00:22
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How could software cause that? Does the software patch just allow the engines to run harder so that a new failure mode has been exposed.
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Old 25th Oct 2019, 00:53
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Originally Posted by RickNRoll View Post
How could software cause that? Does the software patch just allow the engines to run harder so that a new failure mode has been exposed.
Educated guess is that they changed the stator vane scheduling in an effort to either optimize engine performance or get a little red line speed margin - if they got it wrong it can set up harmonics in the blades at certain rotor speeds.
Pratt has had that problem before - on the PW2000 they came out with some compressor tweaks as part of a performance improvement program. Turns out if you did derated climb, you could get a harmonic in (IIRC) the fifth stage compressor which could cause the blades to fail - interestingly it was only a problem with derated climb - full rated climb it was just fine.
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Old 25th Oct 2019, 01:06
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Originally Posted by RickNRoll View Post
How could software cause that? Does the software patch just allow the engines to run harder so that a new failure mode has been exposed.
If they took a lesson from VW/Audi it would be increase thrust when certfication authorities aren't looking.
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Old 28th Oct 2019, 19:17
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An interim AD was issued today by Transport Canada. It limits the N1 setting in climb above FL290 to no more than 94%. It also limits use of engine anti-ice to no higher than FL350.
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Old 28th Oct 2019, 22:11
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LOL

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/busines...JevbZfv9lac9lI
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Old 28th Oct 2019, 23:39
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA View Post
Reuters is reporting that A220 engine problems may be related to a recent engine software update.

Exclusive: Software link suspected in Airbus A220 engine blowouts - sources
If it really is a software update that has caused the problem surely the software can just be rolled back?
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 00:42
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Originally Posted by Chris2303 View Post
If it really is a software update that has caused the problem surely the software can just be rolled back?
Depends on what else is in the new software. Could be the old software has an even worse issue...
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 02:34
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Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
flight critical Level A software and 'open source' don't belong in the same sentence.
Why not?

Open source software is already used as a basis for (and/or incorporated in) safety critical systems in other industries, including nuclear, medicine, automotive, etc. Why not in aviation?

Just because the source is open doesn't mean the process behind it can't be as rigorous (or even more rigorous) than closed source development.

If the source code and associated documentation on MCAS had been mirrored to (say) GitHub, maybe someone from the industry or academia could have commented on its flaws before hundreds of people perished.
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 02:59
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First off, there is a great deal of proprietary information contained in FADEC software - how can you make it open source without revealing your trade secrets to your potential competitors? A lot of that information can't even be exported without special licenses (we needed to keep special agreements in place between Boeing and Rolls Royce just to allow us to talk with each other about the engine control s/w).
The flaw in MCAS was it's hazard classification (no worse than Major). Had it been properly identified as potentially Catastrophic, it never would have been implemented the way it was.
Or are you suggesting Boeing, Airbus, Pratt, GE, and Rolls provide China (and everyone else) with all the information needed to build state of the art aircraft?
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 12:08
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Originally Posted by futurama View Post
Why not?

Open source software is already used as a basis for (and/or incorporated in) safety critical systems in other industries, including nuclear, medicine, automotive, etc. Why not in aviation?

Just because the source is open doesn't mean the process behind it can't be as rigorous (or even more rigorous) than closed source development.

If the source code and associated documentation on MCAS had been mirrored to (say) GitHub, maybe someone from the industry or academia could have commented on its flaws before hundreds of people perished.
This is a fallacy - there are now numerous examples of core Internet infrastructure built on open source / free software, where everyone thought everyone else was auditing it - the reality is that no one was auditing it. The best example is possibly OpenSSL, which had a long-running and serious vulnerability. I am not knocking free/open source software, but some things cannot be crowd sourced and need clear ownership.
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 13:56
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Originally Posted by futurama View Post
If the source code and associated documentation on MCAS had been mirrored to (say) GitHub, maybe someone from the industry or academia could have commented on its flaws before hundreds of people perished.
Why would Boeing have paid any more attention to third-party comments than it did to its own engineers ?

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Old 29th Oct 2019, 14:33
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People tend to contribute to open source software because they personally have a use for it and want to make it better. It is unlikely Bill from Torquay will have anything to contribute to specialist software to control a P&W engine on an A220.

I'm inclined to agree that non pilots and aviation people like myself shouldn't be allowed to post when nonsense suggestions like the above are posted.
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 15:10
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Originally Posted by futurama View Post
Why not?

Open source software is already used as a basis for (and/or incorporated in) safety critical systems in other industries, including nuclear, medicine, automotive, etc. Why not in aviation?

Just because the source is open doesn't mean the process behind it can't be as rigorous (or even more rigorous) than closed source development.

If the source code and associated documentation on MCAS had been mirrored to (say) GitHub, maybe someone from the industry or academia could have commented on its flaws before hundreds of people perished.
Sorry, but this is right in my bailiwick. Open Source can not be used in many critical industries unless it is fully supported with a meaningful support contract in place. Take the financial industry, for example. Certainly in the EU all software used in banks etc must have fully licensed and supported software on *all* platforms. This is fully audited on a regular basis. It is absolutely a regulatory requirement for holding a licence.

I would be horrified at the thought of such critical systems as transport, medicine and others were allowed to cut corners by using Open Source software in key areas.
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Old 29th Oct 2019, 16:01
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Different engine type but FADEC related. Was sent software to update test machine, newly developed diesel engine that I said didn't perform right. Drove a machine up a hill until it stalled, then rolled backward and the engine began running - backward. Downloaded the record of my test and sure enough, running poorly but running backward. Emailed engine group who responded that could never happen but they would look at my data. Hear for months until they finally found time to run on a test stand and confirmed, required mechanical and software changes. Always nice to hear software people say that can't happen.
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Old 30th Oct 2019, 00:03
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After 27 years of the Avro I'm sure Swiss are relaxed about these engine problems. There's half as many
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Old 30th Oct 2019, 09:51
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Can any A220 pilot comment on the ramifications of a 94% N1 limit? WRT the anti-ice above FL350: I may have used anti ice in cruise that high twice in 41 years, but I wonder if this engine is susceptible to ice crystal icing?
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