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'[OT] A Learjet in distress'
1999\10\25@195615 by Wagner Lipnharski

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Ok, look, this should be discussed "a bit", not so much please.

We the people involved with technology, mainly electronics and data
processing are responsible to provide the best the technology can do for
the human pleasure, comfort and safety.

We have the responsibility, want you to think that your involvement is
just as a hobby or not. Ideas and solutions come from everyone, it is
not only the job of "them", there is NOT this group called "THEY", who
have all the answers and all provide all the solutions for our lives, we
are "them", we need to run after our species survival.

With today's technology, mainly communication technology, I JUST CAN NOT
BELIEVE that in 5 hours flying in automatic pilot, it is not possible to
download information from a Learjet board computer and understand why
everybody aboard is dead or unconscious, and otherwise try to land it
even in a bad landing, better than wait it to crash.

Apparently what two F-15's and two F-16's can do at this time is just
approach the deadly silent airplane and do a "visual check"? and just
hope for a not so bad landing when fuel is no more?

I am just talking about a Learjet that took off from Orlando today 9am
destination Dallas, 2 pilots, 3 passengers, somehow, something happened
onboard, complete radio silence 20 minutes after take off. Automatic
pilot took the airplane flying in a straight line until fuel gone, it
crashed up in South Dakota, after 5 hours (!!!) of flying in automatic.
AFIK, 4 strike jets were after the LJ to try to contact it, made visual
check, no response.

Story repeats itself, if the pilot gets a heart attack, everybody dies.
Possible cabin decompressing was the reason, speculations, but the LJ
has O2 masks and lots of alarms that allows a pilot to react before he
goes unconscious.

Ok, during the time you were reading this email, approximately 50
persons died in highways traffic car accidents, it is much, much more
than airplane accidents.

I don't want to start a discussion here, not even a fight about [OT]s
but just transmit the idea, that when you develop something, please
think about safety and how it can impact human lifes, even being a small
PIC unit using a powerful explosive NiCad or Lithium battery.

I am pretty sad about those people and families, and thousands of others
that died today because somebody just didn't thought enough to try to
increase a little bit the possibility to increase safety and avoid a
deadly accident.

Wagner Lipnharski

1999\10\25@204015 by Andres Tarzia

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Wagner,

The Space Shuttle has some 5 main independent computers, each one "thinking"
alone (that is, measuring, computing, evaluating and deciding) and they
"vote" in real time to decide what to do. The technology is really
impressive. But even THAT technology was designed in the 70's and early
80's.

The truth is that, appart from the military, realy state-of-the-art
technology hits the mainstream some 10~20 years after it is developed and
proven.

Plane design and test is extremely complex and takes YEARS to complete. You
end up with technology some 5~10 years old. Then you want your production
lines to be alive some 5~10 years building the same basic model. And even
after that, the lifetime of most commertial airplanes is well over 20 years.

See what I mean?

That specific LearJet was built in 1976...

I can only hope that investigators could determine the cause of the accident
and prevent the same thing from happening again.

Kind regards,
Andres Tarzia
Technology Consultant, SMART S.A.
e-mail: spam_OUTatarziaTakeThisOuTspamsmart.com.ar

{Original Message removed}

1999\10\25@232856 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
   With today's technology, mainly communication technology, I JUST CAN NOT
   BELIEVE that in 5 hours flying in automatic pilot, it is not possible to
   download information from a Learjet board computer and understand why
   everybody aboard is dead or unconscious, and otherwise try to land it
   even in a bad landing, better than wait it to crash.
       :
   I don't want to start a discussion here, not even a fight about [OT]s
   but just transmit the idea, that when you develop something, please
   think about safety and how it can impact human lifes, even being a small
   PIC unit using a powerful explosive NiCad or Lithium battery.

"Safety" is usually at odds with other values that people claim to believe
in, such as privacy, affordability, accessability, and a large number of
factors that are usually lumped together under the heading of "freedom."
While the situation you descrive above is sad, it is also preferrable, I
think, to crackers posting pictures of famous people looking weird as they
sleep in airline seats, or assorted types of espionage carried out by
similar mechanisms.  (rather like that revolution that succeeded because
there was no back-door to the encryption algorithm that sealed the existing
goverments armaments.  Sad, but better than the alternative.)

"Those who would trade their liberty for safety deserve neither."  (Or
something like that.  Ben Franklin.)

OTOH, even as I type over here, there is source code over there that I'm
working on which will add the off-requested "tap" feature to cisco terminal
servers, to aid in "debugging" of complex async problems and such, where
you'd like to see the data stream that's happening on some other terminal.
For years I've fought this on privacy and "attractive nusiance" values, but
I'm finally giving in based on the "there are a lot of other ways to do
basically the same thing, anyway."  There's little doubt that elsewhere in
the company, people are working on other parts of the federally mandated
wiretap features...

BillW

1999\10\26@003435 by Kevin Maciunas

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Andres Tarzia wrote:

> Wagner,
>
> The Space Shuttle has some 5 main independent computers, each one "thinking"
> alone (that is, measuring, computing, evaluating and deciding) and they
> "vote" in real time to decide what to do. The technology is really
> impressive. But even THAT technology was designed in the 70's and early
> 80's.
>

As a CS academic I have to raise a caution here: 5 computers is NOT ENOUGH to
decide/vote.  If you wish to engineer a fail-safe/fail-operational system, it
takes 3k+1 entities to achieve concensus in the presence of k failures.  It
seems to be pretty common practice to engineer in "a" redundant system -
unfortunately "a" redundant system doesn't buy you much.  There was an
excellent survey of the concensus problem in the early 1990's in IEEE Computer
(even made the front page, I believe).

/Kevin

1999\10\26@014352 by gdaniel

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g=good vote
b=bad vote
ggb    system ok
gggbb    system ok
ggggbbb  system ok

I "fail" to see the Kevin's logic below,
2 x (design maximum failures) +1 works above, 5 unit votes is the required numbe
r
to achieve a correct consensus with 0 to 2 vote failures.   Perhaps Kevin refers
to safety in the event of incorrect implementation of Murphy's Law ?   I think t
he
real issue is specification of the maximum concievable failures, costs and risks
,
also susceptability of units to voting empathy (ie common power supply ! fails)
Kevin Maciunas wrote:

> As a CS academic I have to raise a caution here: 5 computers is NOT ENOUGH to
> decide/vote.  If you wish to engineer a fail-safe/fail-operational system, it
> takes 3k+1 entities to achieve concensus in the presence of k failures.  It
> seems to be pretty common practice to engineer in "a" redundant system -
> unfortunately "a" redundant system doesn't buy you much.  There was an
> excellent survey of the concensus problem in the early 1990's in IEEE Computer
> (even made the front page, I believe).
>
> /Kevin

1999\10\26@061814 by Quentin

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We can try as much as we like to increase safety and their will always
be somebody else who will tell us otherwise.

The recent train crash in London is a case in point. After another
simular crash in the same area a few years ago, people were lobbying get
the anti collision systems fitted. Not done, reason: No money.

There are many such examples. Another thing that gets to me is that
always something bad must happen before people jump up and take note.

Wagner's point well taken.
Quentin

1999\10\26@074857 by Jonathan ferguson

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Hi there

Yes it is very bad that thirty people died (at the Landbroke grove ,London
rail crash) because the government would not spend 250Million pound or how
ever much it was... but  if that money was put in to the health service then
how many people would be saved???...just a little food for thought....

Regards

Jonathan Ferguson
------------------------------------------------------
Research Student
Microelectronics/Radiation Group
University of  Lancaster
Lancaster
Bailrigg
Lancs LA1 4YR
Tel : (01524) 593326
Fax :(01524) 381707
.....j.fergusonKILLspamspam@spam@lancaster.ac.uk
ICQ 31455174


{Original Message removed}

1999\10\26@142601 by Quentin

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Hi Jonathan
Yup, your reply just highlights my point that money for safety can just
as well be used for something else if you follow a certain train (pun
not intended) of thought. So where does it leave safety standards then?
We are back to square one.
We have another thing here in SA. 5 Billion Pounds were spend to upgrade
military hardware when we don't have any immediate enemies to talk
about, but our police, health care, schooling, etc. are still way bellow
standard...

I know who to blame, but then I'll be talking politics. This thread has
gone waayyy off topic for the PIClist anyway. Reply private if you wish
to continue.

Quentin

1999\10\26@163808 by Steven Keller

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In the case of the Learjet, the customer only wants a certain amount of
safety.  If they wanted more they would be willing to pay for more.
Manufactures are only going to make it as safe as the customer is willing to
pay for.  Supply and demand.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Steve


{Original Message removed}

1999\10\26@185513 by Brian Kraut

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You forget that today's technology is not used in most avionics because of the
approval process from the FAA.  Most avionics are 70s technology.  This is one
of the main reasons that I got a degree in avionics and decided to work in
marine electronics.  I wanted to work on something a little more cutting edge
than 1972 circuits.

It may sound like a good idea on modern designs to be able to control them
remotely, but the chance of that going wrong and crashing a plane is about 1000
times more likely than of it saving one.

William Chops Westfield wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1999\10\26@201834 by Nick Taylor

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As an ex Lear pilot (23s & 24s), I have (had) the utmost confidence
in the airplane and it's systems ... but would be extremely hesitant
to fly an aircraft that could be controlled externally.  Almost all
of the Lear accidents of which I'm aware were rooted in human error,
not systems failure.  The Lear is a suburb airplane ... Bill Lear
way over engineered his design.  The company I flew for regularly
operated a LR-23 (certificated for 41,000 ft.) at 50,000 feet on
photo mapping missions in Latin America, and often cruised the
24s at mach .85 or .86 (certificated for .82).

This accident is difficult to understand ... both pilots should have
had their oxygen masks around their necks during climb out and had
no difficulty in donning their masks in the event of an explosive
decompression.  If there was a failure in the pressurization system
causing a slow loss of pressure there should have been at least
two cockpit indications before hypoxia became a problem ... a
cabin altitude warning alarm and the cabin altitude indicator
which the copilot should have been monitoring during climbout.  If
the cabin altitude warning failed, and the copilot wasn't being
alert, there are still all of the physiological symptoms of hypoxia
which should have alerted the flight crew to the problem long before
they became incapacitated.  The flight's assigned cruising altitude
was F.L. 390, so they were apparently incapacitated somewhere in
the mid 30s ... making it even more difficult to understand.

Many corporate pilots have not been through a military altitude
chamber training course (although they are available), but even
without training a rapid decompression should not have caused them
any problem other than having to divert to an alternate airport
or continuing at 12,000 feet.  As a new copilot I once accidentally
dumped cabin pressure while at F.L. 410 ... and the only problem was
the captain's anger (we were flying freight so there were no pax
problems).

Pure off the wall speculation:  In these days of weird behavior I
wouldn't be too surprised if it turns out to be murder/suicide.  Dead
pilots cannot fly the plane, and several bullet hole would be more
than the pressurization system could overcome.  Weirder things have
happened ... remember the attempted suicide some time ago in a C-421?
He eventually crashed at sea and survived after shooting himself in
the head.

'enough of this,
- Nick -


Brian Kraut wrote:
{Quote hidden}

1999\10\27@120423 by Andy Kunz

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>way over engineered his design.  The company I flew for regularly
>operated a LR-23 (certificated for 41,000 ft.) at 50,000 feet on
>photo mapping missions in Latin America, and often cruised the
>24s at mach .85 or .86 (certificated for .82).

Sounds like you flew for Air America.

>This accident is difficult to understand ... both pilots should have
>had their oxygen masks around their necks during climb out and had
>no difficulty in donning their masks in the event of an explosive
>decompression.  If there was a failure in the pressurization system

Except that both appear to have minimal experience with the type.  From
what I saw in the paper today, the captain had only 40 hours in the type
and they had no idea if the copilot had any.

>Pure off the wall speculation:  In these days of weird behavior I
>wouldn't be too surprised if it turns out to be murder/suicide.  Dead

That would be sad, indeed.

Andy

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1999\10\27@123411 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Andy Kunz wrote:
> Except that both appear to have minimal experience with the type.  From
> what I saw in the paper today, the captain had only 40 hours in the type
> and they had no idea if the copilot had any.

Oh man, I would not hire a programmer that has only 40h in programming
knowledge in the specific uC I need, even if he had 10000 hours in lots
of other chips... and I am not talking about put my life in his hands...

I am not saying that a professional needs zillions of hours in training,
but experience is a must, like a joke I read somewhere;  "Ok, now that I
have 50 hours of reading and watch 10 hours of video about the subject,
can somebody hand me the scalping blade so we can go ahead and start
this brain surgery soon?"

1999\10\27@124444 by Andy Kunz

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>Oh man, I would not hire a programmer that has only 40h in programming
>knowledge in the specific uC I need, even if he had 10000 hours in lots
>of other chips... and I am not talking about put my life in his hands...

Couple of points, on that (drifting into another OT topic):

I would hire who had minimal (even no) experience on a particular uC, if
there were other factors which overruled them.  I have hired well-rounded
folks and never been disappointed, and I've hired "exactly the exp. I need"
and been sorely disappointed.  As much as I hated the "arts" part of my
degree, it DOES make for a better employee.

Now, as for putting your life in his hands:  Yes you are, every employee
can make or break an organization.  For example:

What does it mean when the US Post Office flies the flag at half mast?




They're hiring.

<G>

Andy

PS.  OK, Mark, you can shoot me now!!



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1999\10\27@133027 by Sean Breheny

face picon face
On Wed, 27 Oct 1999, Andy Kunz wrote:

> Now, as for putting your life in his hands:  Yes you are, every employee
> can make or break an organization.  For example:
>
> What does it mean when the US Post Office flies the flag at half mast?
>
>
> They're hiring.
>
> <G>

ROTFL!

1999\10\27@141937 by paulb

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Sean Breheny wrote:

>> What does it mean when the US Post Office flies the flag at half
>> mast?
> > They're hiring.
> ROTFL!

 Is that a parochial joke or is there something very obvious I'm
missing?
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B.

1999\10\27@142937 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> Sean Breheny wrote:
>
> >> What does it mean when the US Post Office flies the flag at half
> >> mast?
> > > They're hiring.
> > ROTFL!
>
>   Is that a parochial joke or is there something very obvious I'm
> missing?

It's parochial. There have been numerous instances of disgruntled postal
employees returning to the Post Office heavily armed and proceeding to
shoot, maim, kill, anyone in sight.

It's a really sick joke.

BAJ

1999\10\27@143144 by James Paul

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On Wed, 27 October 1999, "Paul B. Webster VK2BZC" wrote:

I take it as though whenever a government employess dies, the
flag is flown at half staff as a tribute.  But that also means
that they now have to hire someone to fill the newly vacant
position, so therefore, they're hiring.

                                         Jim






{Quote hidden}

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1999\10\27@153747 by Andy Kunz

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> I take it as though whenever a government employess dies, the
> flag is flown at half staff as a tribute.  But that also means

Only "eligible" employees.

Andy

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1999\10\27@174851 by Nick Taylor

picon face
Only 40 hours in type shouldn't have been a problem if the captain had
a reasonable amount of experience (as captain) in one or more other
jets.
The rapid decompression procedure is the same (or very similar) for all
high altitude flight: (1) don O2 mask (which should have either been
on or around his neck); (2) reduce power to flight idle; (3) disconnect
autopilot; (4) pitch the nose down to redline airspeed (or mach number)
while rolling into a 60 degree bank to keep from putting the passengers
on the ceiling; (5) declare an emergency; and (6) descend to 12,000 feet
or an assigned altitude.  To obtain a type rating in a particular jet
aircraft all pilots are required to have trained in this procedure
and then must demonstrate the procedure during flight test.
- Nick -

Andy Kunz wrote:
[snip]
> Except that both appear to have minimal experience with the type.  From
> what I saw in the paper today, the captain had only 40 hours in the type
> and they had no idea if the copilot had any.
>
> Andy

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