““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
FAA Emergency Directive Targets Eclipse 500
During an encounter with wind shear at Chicago Midway Airport on June 5, the pilot of an Eclipse 500 pushed the thrust levers (throttles) forward with enough force to cause a software error that locked both engines at full power. Unable to slow the airplane for landing, the pilot elected to shut down one engine for the subsequent landing attempt. When he did, the thrust on the working engine dropped to idle and became unresponsive to thrust-lever inputs, resulting in a hard landing that blew out both of the airplane's main tires. No one aboard the airplane was hurt, but the incident prompted an FAA emergency airworthiness directive on June 12 requiring inspections of the thrust levers in more than 200 in-service airplanes. Nearly all of them had completed the checks at press time, with similar anomalies uncovered in two aircraft, according to Eclipse Aviation. The company is working on a software update to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.