Computer Failure (ICAO test film)


Every time you board a plane you put your trust in the pilots and every time pilots enter the cockpit they put their trust in computers.

It’s a complicated relationship between man and machine and, when it doesn’t work perfectly, disaster can strike in an instant.

Lima, Peru, October 2, 1996: AeroPeru Flight 603 prepares for take-off for Santiago, Chile.

The plane is a four-year-old Boeing 757, a highly sophisticated jet known for its reliability and safety.

The jet is among a new generation of computer-controlled aircraft in which pilots are trained to rely on a central data system that is designed to reduce errors, both mechanical and human.

First Officer: Gear up.

Tonight though, within minutes of take-off, the flight begins to go horribly wrong.

First Officer: The altimeters are stuck.

The altimeter indicates how high the aircraft is flying over the ground.

It reads zero, but the plane is clearly airborne.

As the two men try to solve the first problem they loose another crucial instrument, the airspeed indicator.

First Officer: The speed.

Bewildered by the host of confusing warnings, Captain Schreiber decides to land.

To add to their problems, Schreiber and Fernández are flying at night over water with no visual reference points.

Unable to trust their instruments the pilots have to depend on information from the ground.

Even as they try to return to the airport, the havoc in the cockpit gets worse.

Now the stall warning sounds, and then …

Aircraft: Too low. Terrain.

Captain: What’s happening?

… the ground proximity alarm warns them that they’re flying dangerously low.

Investigators manage to find the data recorders.

It was clear to us that they were really experiencing a problem with airspeed and altitude.

On the 757, devices called pitot static tubes measure the airspeed and altitude.

They’re small external sensors, which relay that information to the plane’s computerized systems.

Deep underwater, tape is discovered covering the plane’s sensors.

Just before AeroPeru 603 lifted off from Lima, maintenance workers had cleaned the jet.

A worker had covered the static ports with tape to protect them.

This is standard procedure, but when the maintenance was complete the worker forgot to remove the tape.

It was a small oversight with tragic results.

AeroPeru was a deadly lesson about how dependent pilots have become on their automated flight systems.

1) What do all people who fly planes trust?
All people who fly planes trust to pilots.
2) Why is the cooperation between man and machine so vital?
Cooperation between man and machine so vital due to safety reasons. Pilots put their trust in computer.
3) What was the origin and the destination of Flight 603? What type of aircraft performed the flight?
The origin of Flight was Lima, Peru. The destination was Santiago, Chile. Four-year-old Boeing 757 performed the flight.
4) What was that type famous for? What control system was used to operate that type?
Boeing 757 is famous as a highly sophisticated jet, known for its reliability and safety. The jet is among a new generation of computer-controlled aircraft, in which pilots are trained to rely on a central data system that is designed to reduce errors both mechanical and human.
5) What problem did the flight crew encounter? When did it occur?
The flight crew encountered with altimeter failure when airborne. It indicated zero.
6) Was it the only problem onboard Flight 603?
No, it wasn’t. Another problem was with airspeed indicator.

7) What is the function of the altimeter? What are the other basic cockpit instruments? What function do they perform?
The altimeter indicates how high the aircraft is flying over the ground. The airspeed indicator shows the speed of the aircraft. The artificial horizon indicates the attitude of the aircraft.
8) What caused the confusion of the flight crew? What warnings did they have in the cockpit? Did these warnings help them to realize what was happening?
The data from altimeter and airspeed indicator caused confusion of the flight crew. The crew had several warning in the cockpit such as speed warning, ground proximity warning and stall warning. These warnings didn’t help to pilots to realize what was happening.
9) What did the flight crew intend to do in that situation?
Flight crew intended to land.
10) What was the first conclusion of the investigation?
The first conclusion of the investigation was problem with altimeter and airspeed indicator.
11) What caused malfunctioning of the Pitot tubes? How did this failure contribute to the crash?
Protective tape caused malfunctioning of the Pitot tubes. These tubes need for measuring the airspeed and altitude.
12) What did the crash of Flight 603 prove?
The crash of Flight 603 proved that pilots are dependent on their automated flight systems.
13) In your opinion, was the reason for the crash a technical problem or a human error? Do you agree that human error is the main factor for accidents in aviation? Can you think of any examples?
In my opinion, the reason for the crash was a human error. I agree that human factor is the main factor for accidents in aviation. There are many examples that can prove my opinion. One of them is crash of Tu-154 near Irkutsk when problem with starter caused a total hydraulic failure for aircraft although before takeoff indicators in cockpit had indicated that problem. All the passengers were killed in that accident in 1994.