Software Bug Can Cause Boeing 787s to Shut Down All Power

From The New York Times:

Federal regulators will order operators of Boeing 787 Dreamliners to shut down the plane’s electrical power periodically after Boeing discovered a software error that could result in a total loss of power.

And later:

The company said it was working on a software update that should be ready by the fourth quarter this year.

Boeing has so far delivered 264 787s to carriers including Japan Airlines, Air India and Ethiopian Airlines. It alerted operators about the potential problem two weeks ago.

The plane maker said that power was shut down in all airplanes in service in the course of the regular maintenance schedule, and that it would be rare for a plane to remain with power on without interruption for eight months.

No immediate action is required from operators whose planes had a power cycle in the last 120 days, according to Boeing.

I’m something of a nervous flier, and two weeks ago I flew to Japan on a Dreamliner. When considering the list of man-made disasters that could befall the plane, software glitches were actually top on my list. Not shoddy maintenance, or pilot error, or terrorists. Knowing that the Dreamliner is a new plane, I assume it is very heavily reliant on very complex software for its operation. Knowing further that software is very hard to write, my biggest concern was bugs in the software.