A couple of weeks ago a Qantas flight experienced a topsy-turvy ride enroute to Perth. 70 people were hurt, some seriously. At the time it was put down to an air pocket, but today I read that it was actually due to something called an ADIRU (Air Data Inertial Reference Unit):
Investigators said last night the false information from an air data inertial reference unit (ADIRU) fed "very high, random and incorrect values". The ADIRU supplies information such as air speed, altitude and position.
If you are constantly logging air speed, altitude and position for every flight then you have a very large dataset to work with, making it extremely useful for seeing if the readings you seeing are what you expect. Similarly, you can record the rate of change between readings and my bet is that is shows a highly normalized distribution. I am wondering if an Error Function is utilized to check for dodgy readings? Anyone know of the inner workings of these things from a software point of view?