Rebooting Your Airbus (After All The Screens Go Dark)

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Cures aside, pilots of Airbus A320-series airliners are getting new guidance on what to do if the screens on their electronically biased aircraft go blank. "Checklists will be streamlined so re-booting of power is quicker," an Airbus spokesman told the London Daily Mirror after Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch released a report on an incident aboard a British Airways A319 last October. The plane was carrying 76 passengers to Budapest from London when most of the electronic displays went blank. The crew was able to bring everything back online in 90 seconds and the passengers were blissfully unaware of the glitch. The incident brought to light five similar instances on Airbuses. In the October incident, the plane was over southern England when the crew heard an audible "clunk." Five of six screens went out, the intercom and radio failed, the autopilot and autothrottles disengaged and most of the cockpit lights went out. The captain took over the controls and flew night VFR (fortunately it was a clear night) while he and the first officer sorted out the power failure. The flying pilot's task was further complicated by the fact that the backup analog instruments aren't lit. The AAIB has issued a series of safety recommendations but its final report isn't finished yet.