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ATC agencies 'blacklist' 787 over position-data flaw

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Most of the Boeing 787s delivered to date contain a software defect that, in at least five identified aircraft, have erroneously reported their location to controllers, prompting two air traffic management agencies to put the Dreamliner on a “blacklist” for certain services. (www.flightglobal.com) 기타...

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RobSJC
With the PLANE SPOTTERS and GENERAL PUBLIC, being able to outfit their various locations with radar reporting devices for tracking, I have seen this with numerous aircraft ... Not just the 787. FR24 has shown aircraft in one area, while FA has it in another and more often correct location.
AABABY
AABABY 3
There ya go, Jack370 and Clement Roberts. 2 comments about the same problem within 24 hours . Maybe both of you need to mention the issue to somebody at FAA? NTSB?
My guess would be NTSB since the issues with 787 are in international airspace.

WWPS?
Jack370
Jack370 1
One would think that this is a huge embarrassment to Boeing. Luckily for them it hasn't been "front page news" so far.

It seems that this may expose a flaw in the ground based flight controller's software and not just the transponder's fault regarding displaying false position data.
joelwiley
Those may be two different things. MLAT is a committee consensus that the a/c is 'here', which depends on the quality of data submitted by the committee members and may have sporadic reception. ADSB is the a/c saying I am 'here', which I think would be more authoritative unless it is spewing garbage- which this thread seems to be about.
AABABY
AABABY 2
Joel: It appears that more than one person has come up against this or related issues. Maybe we can't see the trees because of the forest?
Personally, I've never trusted a committee to get anything right, whether it's a machine or people.
Jack370
Jack370 2
There's not much doubt that there is a flaw in the 787's transponders software that allows sending out coordinates that have missing parameters. That needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

The issue that I'm concerned about is that it's most likely the controllers computers that are extrapolating missing data. If that's the case, the algo should flag the aircraft as "extrapolated" and not just report a false position.

The FR24 network has a lot of ADBS contributors that are not necessarily accurate or reliable but the app does show how that can happen. The ATC controllers are not using the FR24 free ADS-B feeds so their data is much more reliable. This issue probably only shows up to ATC with the rare occasion that the airborne transmitter has a real problem.
lakemountain
“It is important to understand that this is not a safety concern,” Boeing says.

Pfft... yeh. I don't know whether TCAS is impacted, but reporting incorrect positional data to ATC is never a problem, right?!!!

I'm more interested in how ATC and regulators will know when an operator's plane has the updated software, particularly if it's only an advisory. Does ADS-B report software versions to the ground with the data payload?
Jack370
Jack370 2
It would be interesting to see the technical details of this problem instead of an explanation released by the PR crew. One question I have is it really the transponder that is extrapolating position or is it the ATC computers that are doing that?

I see this same phenomena on FR24 all the time in the SFO area with all kinds of different aircraft. Aircraft suddenly jumping miles due to interpolated data from last received coordinate and sometimes off in lat or long for a period of time. Obviously this problem seems to be unique to the 787 in real life but is it possible that it's also a similar computer algo flaw on the receiver side that shows false data to the controllers?
AABABY
AABABY 2
Good question, Jack. How can attention be brought to bear on this? As you stated, you see this all the time. Can you report to someone in authority?
I hope so and hope something is looked at.
joelwiley
Details on the problem seem kind of sparse on the ground so far. Websearch found many reiterations of the original post - not unusual. I did find an article lamenting the state of software development today that, while a bit off topic, gives one an uneasy feeling about software quality of life. (I know, we oldsters are always saying things are going to H*ll in a hand-basket, but sometimes we are right)
https://jaxenter.com/software-development-is-deteriorating-into-abstract-paradigms-and-cool-tools-122299.html
AABABY
AABABY 1
Could some malfunction like this have occurred on MH 370?
I realize it's a different model A/C but is it possible?
Sparky? Joel?
lakemountain
They were also calculating position arcs based on the timing data from the satellites.
joelwiley
I believe the transponder on MH 370 lost power. In this case it appears to be operating, just sending incorrect data. Just my guess.
joelwiley
"In rare cases, after passing a planned turn upon crossing a waypoint, the data packets that arrived at the transponder would contain either the aircraft’s latitude or longitude, but not both. In those cases, the ADS-B transponder’s software would extrapolate the 787’s position based on the previous flight track before it made a planned turn at a waypoint. It would continue reporting the aircraft erroneously on the incorrect track until it received a data packet containing both the latitude and the longitude of the aircraft."

So, should the the transponder report interpreted or null data?
TorstenHoff
Wouldn't this also make TCAS useless, as that relies on position information from the transponder?
chalet
chalet 0
As in the case of engines and other elements purchased outside why should the airframe manufacturer be held responsible for any malfuntioning. Yes Boeing in this case has the legal obligation to make sure that all equipment installed on its aiframes meet specs but in the end it is the vendor, isn't it.
Ruger9X19
If Boeing can prove their engineering spec was not what was at fault (i.e. the vendor didn't follow the supply contract) then Boeing may have a case to claim damages. But at the end of the day it is Boeings Type certificate and Boeing has to fix the problem.
chalet
chalet 1
linbb
linbb 0
While it may report a different place than its in the radar track will come from the aircraft scanned location not from its reporting location. I see also no big deal as its the radar track they follow not a message from something onboard the AC.
jbqwik
jbqwik 2
Raw radar returns can be hard to track. It is transponder code that 'blooms' the data track for the software to use. The average controller isn't well equipped to decipher missing and/or erroneous position data. Our controllers are busy enough without added confusion.
In fact, in the case of plane position reporting, it's better to have no data than erroneous data. Now throw a malfunctioning transponder (or one that was purposefully turned off, i.e. 9/11) into the mix and now you have a quandry: Which track to believe? No, in this case Boeing needs to fix it first, fix blame second.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
they used to routinely turn off the raw radar returns... radar around the airport I worked would pick up trucks on I-5, flocks of geese, crop dusters etc that had no relevance to positive control... course, I've been out of the business for over 30 years...so?

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