HOW IS AVIATION BETTER OFF BECAUSE OF SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - 22660

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Assignment 1

 

*Thoughtful, complete and detailed responses with examples along with a justification on why you said what you said.


Is this article evidence that we have a software crisis? How is aviation better off because
of software engineering? What issues should be addressed during software development
so that problems like this will be prevented in the future?

2-3 paragraphs

 

 

*Use APA styles for writing your responses

 

Exercise:

 

 

 

1. The following article appeared in the Washington Post (Associated Press 1996)

 

 

 

PILOT’S COMPUTER ERROE CITED IN PLANE CRASH.

 

AMERICAN AIRLINES SAYS ONE-LETTER CODE WAS REASON CODE JET HIT MOUNTAIN IN COLOMBIA

 

 

 

Dallas, Aug. 23 – The captain of an American Airlines jet that crashed in Colombia last December entered an incorrect one-letter computer command that sent the plane into a mountain, the airline said today.

 

 

 

                The crash killed all but four of the 163 people aboard.

 

                American’s investigators concluded that the captain of the Boeing 757 apparently thought he had entered the coordinates for the intended destination, Cali.

 

                But on most South American aeronautical charts, the one-letter code for Cali is the same as the one for Bogota, 132 miles in the opposite direction.

 

                The coordinates for Bogota directed the plane toward the mountain, according to a letter by Cecil Ewell, America’s chief pilot and vice president for flight. The codes for Bogota and Cali are different in most computer databases, Ewell said.

 

                American spokesman John Hotard confirmed that Ewell’s letter, first reported in the Dallas Morning News, is being delivered this week to all of the airline’s pilots to warn them of the coding problem.

 

                American’s discovery also prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a bulletin to all airlines, warning them of inconsistencies between some computer databases and aeronautical charts, the newspaper said.

 

                The computer error is not the final word on what caused the crash. The Colombian government is investigating and is expected to release its findings by October.

 

                Pat Cariseo, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Colombian investigators also are examining factors such as flight crew training and air traffic control.

 

                The computer mistake was found by investigators for American when they compared data from the jet’s navigation computer with information from the wreckage, Ewell said.

 

                The data showed the mistake went undetected for 66 seconds while the crew scrambled to follow and air traffic controller’s orders to take a more direct approach to the Cali airport.

 

                Three minutes later, while the plane still as descending and the crew trying to figure out why the plane had turned, it crashed.

 

                Ewell said the crash presented two important lessons for pilots.

 

                “First of all, no matter how many times you go to South America or any other place-The Rocky Mountains- you can never, never, never assume anything.” He told the newspaper. Second, he said, pilots must understand they can’t let automation take over responsibility for flying the airplane.

 

 

 

1. Is this article evidence that we have a software crisis? How is aviation better off because of software engineering? What issues should be addresses during software development so that problems like this will be prevented in the future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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