Document Type


Publication Date

January 2014

Publication Title

2014 Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) Conference




drones, military aviation, mishap, accidents investigation, software


Aviation Safety and Security | Engineering | Risk Analysis


Software is assuming an increasing role in the aerospace industry, and by the same token it is also playing an increasing role in many recent incidents and accidents of both military and commercial vehicles. To better understand this role, we examine two case studies from the accident database of the Air Force Accident Investigation Board (AIB). We previously illustrated the limitations of the notion of “software failure” and developed, in its stead, the notion of software contribution to adverse events. We show here how specific operational scenarios, generally unconsidered during the software development and testing, trigger those contributions. We provide an analysis of the recurrent patterns of those mechanisms and preliminary recommendations for software development and testing. We also suggest ways to consolidate AIB reports' findings and to be more mindful of the chain of causality in the accident sequences.


This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) Conference, 2014. Find the published version of this article at this link.