"The World’s Greatest Mistakes" edited by Nigel Blundell

A summary of some of "The World’s Greatest Mistakes" which relate to safety-critical systems.

The following are a few of the case studies written up in "The World’s Greatest Mistakes".

  • One possibly unexpected hazard of landing an aircraft at Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK) in California is that it is adjacent to the Las Positas Golf Course. A golfer managed to strike a ball through the window of an aircraft while it was landing, but the pilot managed to land safely.
  • An unusual power blackout occurred in Ventura, California when a drum major, twirling his baton, sent it into a power cable.
  • Dr. Hubertus Strughold (head of the US Space Medicine Program in the 1960s) anaesthetised his posterior with novocaine and as a passenger in an acrobatic aircraft, returned to ground abnormally sick. Having attempted to disprove the theory (and well known saying) that a pilot flies by the seat of his pants, he demonstrated that the human factors aspects can be considerably more complicated than the information presented by instruments, and that the pressure from gravitational and other forces on the skin can provide significant help.


Although not a serious resource of case studies relating to safety-critical systems, there are a few items in "The World’s Greatest Mistakes" which provide an interesting perspective on how incidents can occur.


This book was published by Octopus Books Limited with ISBN 0 7064 2136 1.