The Tenerife disaster was not so much a cascading failure but a conjunction of independent circumstances or comedy of errors, equally as bad.
The plane's last automated messages detail a series of failures that end with its systems shutting down, suggesting the plane broke apart in the sky, according to the aviation industry official.
The pilot sent a manual signal at 11 p.m. local time Sunday saying he was flying through an area of black, electrically charged cumulonimbus clouds that come with violent winds and lightning.
Ten minutes later, a cascade of problems began: Automatic messages indicate the autopilot had disengaged, a key computer system switched to alternative power, and controls needed to keep the plane stable had been damaged. An alarm sounded indicating the deterioration of flight systems.
The former can be designed for to an extent; the latter is near-impossible to contend with.