Airplane takes off a tonne heavier than expected after computer error weighs adults as children

Disturbance of air traffic by drones
Photo by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images

A flight from the UK to Spain took off with more than a tonne of unexpected weight after a software error classified female passengers using the title “Miss” as children. This led to the flight’s load sheet estimating the weight of 38 female passengers as 38 kg or 77 pounds each, the standard weight for children, instead of 69 kg or 152 pounds, the standard weight used for female adults.

The error was classified as a “serious incident” by the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) but did not affect the flight’s safety. Despite a discrepancy of 1,244 kg (2,743 pounds) between the expected and actual mass of the aircraft, the thrust used in takeoff by the pilot was only “marginally less” than what was required. “This meant the…

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