BA038 crash landing caused by a software glitch?

Even if the investigation from the AAIB is still in progress and the preliminary report is expected to be released in about one month, new theories are emerging about the BA038 crash landing’s root cause. Since a simultaneous engine failure is extremely unlikely, a software glitch affecting the engine control system is among the possible causes being investigated.
An interesting article dating back to October 2006 (http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/belfast/BA777_Unthrustworthy.htm), focuses on errors introduced with a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) software update that affected the B.777 equipped with GE90 engines. The article reports about two thrust rollback recorded on the 777-300ERs that suffered the failure during take off (and 5 occurred in flight). Subsequent troubleshooting found that the rollbacks were caused by a glitch in the software of the FADEC and that the reductions “only likely to occur at reduced powers”. The article explains that the flawed software was installed after a FADEC software update.
So, the FADEC has already caused worries to the B.777 operators using GE engines. The British Airways aircraft was equipped with RR Trent engines, even if the software used to control them is probably the same (or mostly similar). Even discarding the possibility that the current software may still cause Loss Of Thrust Control or LOTC for the same flaw (the AD was issued in 2006 and by now the software should have been patched), the above mentioned article provides also details dealing with an Airworthiness Directory applied to the GE90 engines that confirms the risks of corruption of the FADEC signals because of clogging of the sensors feeding the engine control system. The GE90 engines incorporate now a design modification aimed to prevent signal corruption but what about Trent engines?

For pictures and a more in-depth analysis, I suggest visiting this link that was provided from a visitor: http://www.iasa.com.au/folders/Safety_Issues/others/The_BA038_LikelyCause.html

About David Cenciotti 3773 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.