PARIS / SEVILLE --- Airbus and European safety authorities were warned in late 2014 of a software vulnerability in the A400M military plane that was similar to a weakness that contributed to a fatal crash seven months later, Spanish investigators have found.
The Airbus-built cargo and troop carrier crashed near Seville during a test flight in May 2015, killing four of the six crew, after three out of four engines froze minutes after take-off.
Data needed to run the engines had been accidentally erased when Airbus workers installed software on the ground, and pilots had no warning there was a problem until the engines failed, Reuters reported weeks after the disaster, citing several sources with knowledge of the matter.
A confidential report by Spanish military investigators into the crash, completed this summer, sheds new light on poor coordination and misjudgments that have dogged Europe’s biggest military project.
The findings confirmed the engines were compromised by data being wiped, according to extracts of the report seen by Reuters and three people familiar with the inquiry.
The report also said the engine-makers had warned Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in October 2014 that software installation errors could lead to a loss of engine data, and that technicians may not receive any warning before take-off that a problem had occurred.
When contacted by Reuters, Airbus said the crash was the result of “multiple, different factors and contributory causes”, but declined detailed comment about the investigators’ findings because they are not public.
The planemaker has since reviewed all systems and acted to “ensure the chain of identified causes could not happen ever again”, a spokesman added.
EASA declined to comment. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full report, on the Reuters website.