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View Diary: Measurement as a Way to Understand the World (121 comments)

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  •  A catastrophic failure (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, BYw, kyril, lazybum
    I always hoped that those who got zeros on that problem used it as a life lesson that reporting things carelessly in bad/non-standard units could result in the loss of a bid (or worse, a catastrophic failure) later on out in the real world.
    Mars Climate Orbiter.
    •  The Gimli Glider (5+ / 0-)

      The Gimli Glider incident occurred when the crew bollixed up a conversion from litres to kilograms. Very fortunately, no fatalities resulted.

      •  Flight crew or ground crew? (5+ / 0-)

        I believe it was the ground crew that made the incorrect conversion from pounds to kilograms (the Boeing 767 was one of the first commercial planes to convert from lb to kg for fuel). However, the plane was flying without operational fuel gauges that could have identified the problem for the crew (probably not an option to fly without them today).

        Unlike the Air France 447, the Gimli Glider had a pilot that had a feel for the plane and successfully landed.  No flight crew has ever been able to successfully reproduce the Gimli Glider experience in a simulator.

        The plural of anecdote is NOT data

        by Dr Arcadia on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:24:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Per wikipedia... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, BYw, foresterbob, kyril

          Captain Pearson reproduced the same equation/calculation, using the same wrong density constant, which put them in the air with considerably less than 1/2 the fuel they intended. The constant they used, 1.77 lbs/l, was printed on the refueling sheet they used. The constant they should have used, however, was 0.803 kg/l. The 767 was the first Air Canada aircraft to use metric units, so there was considerable opportunity for confusion.

          This was complicated a bit by the fact that the tanks were already partially filled, so there were additional computations. In any event, they added considerably less fuel than they should have.

          Whether the ground crew did the wrong calculations or not (Air Canada did suspend three ground crew, as well as the pilots), the pilots were responsible for ensuring -- through whatever means (incl. dipsticks after fueling) -- that the airplane had sufficient fuel before takeoff.

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