Tiny Computer File Error May Have Caused Massive Airbus A400M Crash

By Gary Cutlack on at

Investigators looking into the recent crash of an Airbus A400M military transporter are currently pinning the blame on what happened on a tiny missing configuration file, and are suggesting that something as simple as a wiped or overwritten driver could've cause three of the engines on the plane to shut down.

Four of the plane's six crew died in the accident in early May, after three of the plane's four engines switched themselves off shortly after takeoff. According to sources quoted by Reuters, the investigators think a file containing some "torque calibration parameters" that are supposed to contain unique configuration data for each engine may have been deleted or overwritten during a pre-delivery software installation process, confusing the control systems.

Without these parameters in place, the data the engines send to the control computers would've been "meaningless," resulting in the computers shutting down the engines to avoid possible damage. This, and the way it happened on three engines at once, plus the fact that pilots are only notified of such a problem when the plane is up at 400 feet, combined to create the scenario of doom.

Airbus says it's too early in the investigation process to offer any sort of official statement on what may have happened. [Reuters]