The ATSB media briefing this evening, at a time and place almost no-one could attend and without dial-in facilities, has described the QF 72 accident as being caused by a ‘unique’ fault in the jet’s computer linked control systems.

A detailed statement issued after the briefing puts the spotlight on one of three sets of sensors which generated false data, causing the violent upset and a string of malfunctions which the pilots brought under control.

There are of course more questions. It isn’t immediately clear why triple redundancy built into the sensors and the information processors didn’t catch the error. And clarity is still needed as to whether Qantas operated the flight in full compliance with the A330 airworthiness directive Number 89 mentioned below.

Airbus has issued a bulletin on this incident to all airlines using the jet.

The control crisis that overtook QF 72 in a split second has all the hallmarks of becoming a landmark investigation, possibly the most important for airlines world wide of any ever undertaken by the ATSB.

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