A340 - needed a computer re-boot at gate (long)

From:         m.fiddler@staffs.ac.uk (Martin)
Organization: Staffs University, UK
Date:         09 May 96 12:50:16 
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

Hi,

I thought you might be interested in a recent experience I had on an A340
about to depart on an 11 hour flight to LHR.  It wasn't a US airline, but
that's all I'll say about their ID.

We boarded at ETA-30 minutes, and the door was closed at eta-5.  We then
sat there for 20 minutes before the captain announced "a very minor
technical fault with a fuel valve which will take 15 minutes to sort out".
20 minutes later:  "just about to replace a valve, it will take 30 minutes"
20 minutes later I sensed the APU stop, and the air conditioning stopped.
5 minutes later:  "we need to turn of all the electrical power in the
aicraft so that the valve can be connected.  All of the lights will go
off for about 5 minutes.  Please get ready to sit in the dark, and don't
worry".  I said to my wife that, if I didn't know better, I'd think they
were going to reboot the computers!  So, the power goes off.  (There must
be an emergency backup battery, as the emergency lights on the floor came
on, and some dim overhead lights).  Anyway, 5 minutes later the power came
on, the apu started and we pushed back and departed.

When I visited the flight deck the pilot said that "a valve in the
refuelling system seemed to be stuck open and there was an ECAM warning.
They tried to reset the valve manually, but it WAS closed, and it was a
erroneous ecam warning that we couldn't reset.  So we had to power down
the complete aircraft, to reboot the computer and remove the spurious
error message, which always works".

I asked about the FMS routing and the IRS allignment, and for some reason
they have backup power so they didn't loose their 'memory' during the
power down.  So no need to re-allign or re-enter the route.

I thought the above was both interesting and amusing!  I wonder why they
didn't pull the CBs for the ecam, aids, bite or whatever actually needed
rebooting?

M.fiddler@staffs.ac.uk