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AA587 - Truth, Lies And Coverup  
User currently offlineDutchflyer From Netherlands, joined Feb 2004, 169 posts, RR: 1
Posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3662 times:

After reading an article on US Read http://www.usread.com/flight587.html one starts wondering.

What is the deal with flight AA587. Why did the tail went off. Did the co pilot used too much force on the rudder pedals or is the RTLU to blame or is the use of composite materials the cause of this accident?

Is the AA training program too aggressive for the rudder? Don't know, but which aircraft manufacterer would allow the uses of the rudder to cause the tail to break down. Airbus uses the RTLU but is it foul proof. The article states that more errors came to light but Airbus and NTSB did a good job on blaming the pilots being to agresive with pedal movement.

In both cases Airbus was allowed to provide vital data to the NTSB proving the correct functioning of the RTLU. Strange, seems like believing the murderer and not the witnesses. Some years ago Airbus alledged to have switched CVR's to put the blame on the pilots and not on the AutoPower after a crash on a demonstration flight.

Is the Airbus A300 a unsafe aircraft? Is Airbus RTLU to blame? And what about the NTSB allowing Airbus to analyze the data?

Same old story: pilots are to blame (not my opinion).



26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3572 times:

Before I begin:
- This has been discussed before.
- It opened up quite a can of worms.


I think that, as usual, it's hard to pin it on one single factor. If any of a number of things had not occured, the plane would have safely made it to it's desitnation. In no particular order:
- Extreme rudder deflection.
- Omissions in the training of pilots.
- Attachment of tail in certain fashion.
- Wake turbulence due to shorter than safe minimums distance to plane ahead.

After the accident, there was an unfortunate bout of fingerpointing and posturing from both Airbus and American, and the issue was a bit lost in the middle. This has happened in the past, with for example the AeroPeru 757 (Boeing blamed Aeroperu for shoddy maintenance. Aeroperu blamed lacking equipment) and the United 737-200 at Colorado Springs (Boeing blamed the pilots, United blamed the plane).

In the end, the truth is almost invariably that there were several factors contributing to the crash, with the absence of any of them meaning a safe flight.


I would feel perfectly safe flying an A300. And the FAA did not ground the aircraft, so it would seem that they agree with me.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3552 times:

Because the black helicopters shot the tail off.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Seriously, there's nothing wrong with the plane and due to it's proximity in time to 9/11 it is surrounded in speculation.


User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3504 times:

In the end, the truth is almost invariably that there were several factors contributing to the crash, with the absence of any of them meaning a safe flight.

Or perhaps two of those factors in conjunction, without any of the others, would have cause the crash. The possibilities are endless. Suffice to say, lack of communication (between AA, Airbus, and the pilot trainers) significantly contributed to the accident. That's something you'll probably not see on any NTSB report.



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3470 times:

This has happened in the past, with for example the AeroPeru 757 (Boeing blamed Aeroperu for shoddy maintenance. Aeroperu blamed lacking equipment) and the United 737-200 at Colorado Springs (Boeing blamed the pilots, United blamed the plane).

Not to exclude the most classic example of all:

Boeing and USAirways are still squabbling over US427... and that's been ongoing for around a decade.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3435 times:

About Airbus analyzing the data, this is standard practice. No one else would be equipped to do it. Boeing does the same in accidents involving it's aircraft. No doubt there's an NTSB dude standing right next to the Airbus dudes every step of the way, with an American dude next to him.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17663 posts, RR: 46
Reply 6, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3409 times:

"(Boeing blamed Aeroperu for shoddy maintenance. Aeroperu blamed lacking equipment) "

I thought it was pretty clear that Aeroperu was at fault since duct tape (or some other covering that has to be removed post mx and pre flight) was found on the pitot tube, static port, and other critical instruments?



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

MaverickM11. You won't see me disagreeing. But nowadays Boeing issues special covers to be used while washing the plane (due to this very accident).

I think that AeroPeru was just playing a bit of politics. It was pretty obvious that shoddy maintenance was to blame. The supervisor was sick that night and the guy who taped the ports was untrained. He also used duct tape (against the rules), which made it hard for the Captain to see during the walkaround.




"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePresRDC From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 663 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3341 times:

It's a standard technique in litigation to try and pin the blame on another party. Just because they are blaming each other publically, does not mean that they really believe it. It would be illogical to take the blame for something like this when lawsuits are pending.

User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3319 times:

I don't think the F/O using hard rudder had anything to do with the tail seperating from the fuselage. I believe it is a result of the composite material used in the production of the aircraft. The way AA trains it's pilots is fine.

User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3293 times:

Yes Maverick.

The instruments told the pilots that they were in windshear and something like 9500ft higher than they actually were... they aircraft descended too low and impacted water.


User currently offlineRj777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1862 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3252 times:

Has the NTSB report even been released yet? When will this thing be put to bed. It's been almost 3 years!

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 12, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3221 times:

NIKV69 said:
I don't think the F/O using hard rudder had anything to do with the tail seperating from the fuselage. I believe it is a result of the composite material used in the production of the aircraft. The way AA trains it's pilots is fine.


The NTSB wanted to change the pilot training slightly. And these planes have been around for a while and flown quite safely, not to mention all the other planes with composites. Did I mention that composites can be stronger than aluminum and weigh less? And that they are used in everything from planes to to racing cars to baby prams to notebook computers to golf clubs? And that they have been used for decades?

Simply saying that AA training is fine does not close the accident investigation.


Dutchflyer, I have been reading on that website. Seems very sensationalist to me. Good stuff to sell copies, but pretty skewed to make the NTSB look bad.




"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineERJ From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 245 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3167 times:

Elwood64151: You likely will see lack of communication listed as a contributing factor in the final NTSB report.

That's what's great about the NTSB, they are in no way a political organization. Their only goal is to find the truth and recommend ways to fix any problems they discover. They are in no way related to the FAA or the DOT. They report directly to the executive branch.

Finger pointing will continue and both parties are likely at fault, as is usually the case. We're talking about 2 of the most stubborn names in aerospace here, so expect this to go on for decades to come.


User currently offlineCOAB767 From Guam, joined Nov 2003, 1377 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3135 times:

So whose at fault AA or Airbus? AA is trying to blame it on Airbus, and Airbus is trying to blame it on AA. In my honest opinion I think it was the co-pilots fault.


Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3105 times:

In my honest opinion I think it was the co-pilots fault.

Since you apparently missed Reply #1...

...a basic recap is that crashes are almost never the "fault" of any single person/piece/incident/occurence etc.

Usually a considerable number of odds-off factors have to occur simultaneously in order to bring an aircraft down.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 16, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3074 times:

I think both AA, the pilots, and Airbus are at fault in some way. And while we're at it, isn't ATC supposed to keep planes more separated?

It's not like premeditated murder, where there is obviously an intent to commit a crime, and a plan. In an air crash, none of the parties intended to do wrong, so blaming someone is a bit iffy at best if it is not 100% clear that they were suicidal or terribly trained or having a heart attack.

It's easy for us to sit here in front of a computer, analyzing data for hours (years in the case of the NTSB) and say: "It's the fault of this and that." I saw an interview with an NTSB guy about the Aeroperu 757. He said he had had 18 months to figure out what the pilots should have done, and then fproceeded to point out that the pilots had minutes at most, and incomplete information.

The poor F/O had to make a split second decision, and probably just did something instinctively. Can we really blame him if the fecal matter hit the rotary air impeller? I don't think so.

We have to look forward instead, and give the next F/O the knowledge and tools to get out of the situation.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12635 posts, RR: 46
Reply 17, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3017 times:
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I don't think the F/O using hard rudder had anything to do with the tail seperating from the fuselage. I believe it is a result of the composite material used in the production of the aircraft.

So the NTSB and certification authorities have got it all wrong, and a golf professional knows better? Please!  Insane

The way AA trains it's pilots is fine.

But it seems the AA course teaches a technique that both Airbus and Boeing subsequently issued warnings to airlines not to use in recovery situations, as the induced PIO can overload the tail and cause it to fail.

The documentary on this incident that was shown in the UK showed that the tail is certified to withstand 4* times the design loading. The AA tail was subjected to 9-10* times design loading before it failed.

* I can't remember the exact figures, but it was of that order of magnitude.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineDutchflyer From Netherlands, joined Feb 2004, 169 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2958 times:

Isn't it a design flaw to allow pedal input to exceed structural limits for the rudder. As I understand the RTLU must prevent exceeding those limits.

@Starlionblue: is a very sensational website indeed. Most articles are controversial, but a lot of facts and figures which contribute to some kind of trustworthiness, but nobody will now for sure in the end.

"About Airbus analyzing the data, this is standard practice". Are the CVR's not standard? In other words: everybody (NTSB, A or B) must be able to read and interpret the data in order to conduct proper independent investigations.


User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12635 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2860 times:
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Isn't it a design flaw to allow pedal input to exceed structural limits for the rudder. As I understand the RTLU must prevent exceeding those limits.

Can a single use of the rudder exceed those limits? Wasn't it a case that the PIO caused ever increasing forces, which eventually lead to the tail failing, at significantly over the designed and certified loading.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 20, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2693 times:

As for blaming the F/O...

I think that one can safely say that he wasn't suicidal. If he made a bad decision, it shouldn't have brought the aircraft down. It should just have put him in a situation that was worse than where he started, but still recoverable. That's the whole point of "foolproof", redundant design, pilot training and all the other stuff. Even a Cessna 172 pilot with 100 hours might be able to fly the big iron in an emergency. These planes are not fighter jets. They're designed for ease of use and friendly, stable flying. If you release the controls, they stabilize themselves, for crying out loud.

The truth is somewhere in there, but it won't be solved by fingerpointing.

As I said before, let's look to the future. Move on and make sure it doesn't happen again. Don't try to assign blame without a lot of evidence on a guy who was trying to do his job to the best of his ability. Or on an airframer that was trying to build a solid, safe aircraft. Or on an operator that was trying to maintain that aircraft in top-notch condition.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6357 posts, RR: 31
Reply 21, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2590 times:
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Starlionblue,

"And while we're at it, isn't ATC supposed to keep planes more separated?"

In theory, but they don't. At CDG I was in a 737-400, on hold in the runway behind a departing Saudia 777. The tower cleared us to go just as the 777 rotated. We said thanks, but no, we'll wait our full 2 mins. We got the call again after 30 seconds. To keep the matter short, the controller started yelling at us to go, and our captain yelling at the controller that we would go when we wanted too. If the controller had someone in short final behind us, it was his problem, not ours. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had just taken off after the 777 sans the 2 mins. pause?. Sometimes the most unprofessional people creep up on the places you least expect them too.


User currently offlineBoo25 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 294 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2467 times:


This could go on forever...............
I think it's proximity to 9/11 has made it stand out in retrospect too.

Don't forget the A300 has been flying over 30 years now, with no similar incident.(or any noticeable incident due design).

Also , that AA's technique in this type of disturbance was one seemingly only used by them, untested , and disapproved of by Airbus / other A300 operators.

It could have been many things, but i think it was a one in a million chance of unique events together.




User currently offlineTekelberry From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1459 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2298 times:

Don't forget the A300 has been flying over 30 years now, with no similar incident.(or any noticeable incident due design).

Yes, there were actually. There was another AA A300 that temporarily lost control but didn't crash. There was also an A310 (same tail design, different airline) that temporarily lost control on approach somewhere in Europe or Asia.

Also , that AA's technique in this type of disturbance was one seemingly only used by them, untested , and disapproved of by Airbus / other A300 operators.

Airbus disapproved of their training before the crash? I don't think so... In fact, Airbus never informed AA of how sensitive the A300 tail is. Also, since when do airlines tell other airlines how to train their crew?

[Edited 2004-04-06 09:10:44]

User currently offlineQqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2294 posts, RR: 13
Reply 24, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2260 times:

No, the NTSB has not released its final report, and until they do, speculation should end.


The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
25 Sevenair : AeroPeru was caused by stickytape covering the Pitot-statics, it was put on to protect it during cleaning and forgot to remove it, hence the crew had
26 Starlionblue : It is quite possible to move control surfaces beyond their design limits on quite a few planes. For example, you can extend flaps at 400kts IAS.
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