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Airbus Withheld Information AA587  
User currently offlineDutchflyer From Netherlands, joined Feb 2004, 169 posts, RR: 1
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4323 times:

According to "de Telegraaf", a dutch newspaper, proof is found that Airbus technicians withheld information about their concerns regarding the tail. The documents found prove that Airbus technicians knew about the possibility that the tail could break off during flight, but did not air their concerns explicitly enough.

Unforntunatly no online information just the paper of this morning.

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4270 times:

From what I have heard on a documentary, which I think is pure speculation, is that Airbus and AA are sworn enemies now since that A300 crash. Both companies have been finger pointing each other blaming each other for endless things. I think the documentary was on Dateline NBC.


A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12155 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4171 times:
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How many other A300s have lost their tails inflight? If this is true then there is a cause to concern for the other A300 flying the skys.

User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3967 times:

The Wall Street Journal apparently is running a similar article although I have not read it. I cannot link it either. If it turns out that Airbus did know of a potential problem and supressed those concerns, that would be an appalling example of corporate irresponsibility. If they are smart, they will pass any other information along right away to JAA, FAA, and so on so that they can decide whether to issue an airworthiness directive or something similar.

It is strange how businesses do not learn from the Ford Pinto example of the 1970s. It must be one of the most cited business school case studies. In Japan, Mitsubishi motors may fold soon because of punishment for covering up a defect in their trucks which ended up killing a woman.


777ER, AA587 is the only accident of its kind of the A300 or perhaps any airliner.


User currently offlineAa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3957 times:

Perhaps it was just a faulty part on that particular plane. A300s take off daily behind 747s like 587 did. Perhaps its mutual in terms of who's at fault.


Go big or go home
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3902 times:
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You know, it coudl also have been just that particular defective aircraft, but then again, in the realm of investigation, such a notion would not be considered.


Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
User currently offlineAa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3862 times:

Defective aircraft just sounds wrong. Like a 'defective condom' in both situations, you're gonna be in some trouble.


Go big or go home
User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3854 times:

It may well have been just one airplane but that is not the issue. The issue is whether Airbus had knowledge of a potential saftey problem which it concealed from operators and regulators.

If there were concerns within Airbus, then that indicates to me that the potential problem would have been a design problem affecting the airplane type. If it were just one airplane off the line that worried them, then they could have worked with American with probably no PR issue whatsoever.

AA587 was under 10,000MSL so they were traveling under 250kts --well below Velocity-never exceed. Control inputs made that far inside the airplane's performance envelope should not cause catastrophic structural failure as it apparently did. I think American has a very strong argument that their pilot was not at fault.

Like I said, I have not read the article. My own theory prior to today was that a confluence of extremely unlikely events that Airbus, JAA, or FAA could not imagine or test for occurred simulataneously to cause the tail to snap off.




User currently offlineNyc777 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 5758 posts, RR: 47
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3835 times:

If Airbus knew of a defect and did not put out a warning to regualtors (FAA and JAA) as well as airlines that use their products then they're going to be in a world of hurt. BTW, no way can the JAL 747 which took off before 587 can be held responsible. You will always have wake turbulence from any airplane. The 300s tail should have been able to withstand the turbulence as well as the pilots inputs in fighting the turbulence.

Airbus needs to own up to the omissions that they did not reveal.



That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
User currently offlineSXMbyKLM747 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2004, 82 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3721 times:

there had been a similar incident in 1997 above Florida, although then the plane did not crash down. An internal report at Airbus was made about this, as was found out that quick movements of the rear rudder could cause such high pressures on the constructions that these could not cope with it. This document was recently found.
However, Airbus failed to correctly inform airlines and such. So in the end the pilots can not be blamed for this fault as they simply didnt know about the design flaw

/Robbert
(also read the article in Walstreet journal Europe)



MST/EHBK
User currently offlineFlyABR From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 659 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3686 times:

what i find a little disconcerting is that all airbus planes have composite tails...not just the a300s!! let's just hope that when any of those planes go through a high g force situation that they are thoroughly checked afterward. something that wasn't apparently done with the a300 that crashed...

User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8269 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3649 times:

It would seem to my limiteds mind that Airbus faces one of two basic issues. Either the single plane was defective or there is a problem with the 300's design.

I remember reading after the crash that one or more parts that secure the tail were "defective" when they were delivered to the factory and Airbus "repaired" them and put them in the plane. This may well be the situation, which avoids the entire 300 fleet being considered unsafe. It does, however, put Airbus in a difficult position.

The one thing that Airbus does not seem to understand is the legal environment in the US - especially with trial lawyers. If there IS a problem with the series or individual plane then trial lawyers throughout the country will be drooling over the potential jury award. In many states (Texas especially) the juries are well known to express their feelings with a lot of zeros when establishing an award and Airbus is very much at risk, simply because they may not have rejected a defective part. If it is a series wide issue then you can add another zero or two.


User currently offlineJumboJet From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3593 times:

Aren't these planes tested in a million different ways by the manufacturer before even flying a single flight? I have seen pictures where wing structures are bent up at these unseemingly upsurd angles before they break. Surely, these or similar tests are done with the Horizontal stabilizer?

User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8114 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3584 times:

AA587 is the new TW800 on this forum! I don't mean to be rude by shouting but there is a very important point that is never referred to in the myriad AA587 discussions that take place here:

THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE NTSB ABOUT EXCESSIVE CONTROL INPUTS DURING WAKE TURBULENCE ENCOUNTERS AS A RESULT OF THE AA587 TRAGECY WERE ISSUED TO ALL BOEING OPERATORS AS WELL AS ALL AIRBUS OPERATORS.

Therefore in their opinion it could have happened to a 767. Those of you who think Airbus tails aren't as strong as Boeing tails should take great comfort in this. N79969: "AA587 was under 10,000MSL so they were traveling under 250kts - well below Vne. Control inputs made that far inside the airplane's performance envelope should not cause catastrophic structural failure as it apparently did. I think American has a very strong argument that their pilot was not at fault." I don't know if this is strictly true. No aircraft will tolerate infinite mismangement of the controls. I presume you have watched the CGI reconstructions which actually shows the control inputs as they were made - full deflection of the rudder back and forth, with at times full deflection of the ailerons, sometimes opposing the rudder movement.

Finally: the forces on the tail far exceeded the manufacturer's limits, in fact by more than double. There may be additional documentation coming to light about Airbus concerns about the tail, but in fact it failed at a point far beyond the published tolerances. If the tail had come off at a point below the published tolerance, Airbus would indeed be in a "world of hurt" right now, faced either with the grounding of all their planes in the US, or faced with having to replace a lot of tail fins. I doubt that this has been avoided because of commercial pressure (it's not as though Airbus are a US company), more likely cos there isn't a case for it. The pilots were irresponsible in their handling of an everyday situation, and paid a terrible price. Airbus should not have to.



fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 84
Reply 14, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3576 times:

That A300 had been in situations that stressed it beyond design maximums before... there's a good chance that just that airframe was damaged.

Concealing problems is common. Boeing held back on the 737 rudder for a long time... and nobody sued them for it. I think this will also pass.

N


User currently offlineNyc777 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 5758 posts, RR: 47
Reply 15, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3528 times:

The pilots were irresponsible in their handling of an everyday situation, and paid a terrible price. Airbus should not have to.

If Airbus withheld valuable information relevant to the crash of 587 then they must be made to pay a high price to the victims. They should not be allowed to go scott free.



That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
User currently offlineBENNETT123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7605 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3414 times:


At the moment, we do not know who had concerns at Airbus and the nature of those concerns. I suppose that we have to assume that it concerns the A300 tail. We do not even know the extent of those concerns.

It is also a fact that any machine will break at some point, this is why design limits are set. If the A300 was unsafe, how is it that no other similar crashes have occured.

I am sure that the trial lawyers are drooling, did'nt MacDonalds lose a case recently because the Coffee was too hot and the customer burnt themselves.

I also remember a case some years ago, when a businessman went overseas on business, met a woman and died of "overexertion". His wife then successfully sued his employer for not supervising him 24/7.

It seems that proving fault is not required, you simply need a "good" lawyer

I think that we, (and the lawyers) need some facts. Once we know what if anything was concealed and the impact of it, then some rational debate is possible.


User currently offlineRIX From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1787 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3395 times:

”THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE NTSB ABOUT EXCESSIVE CONTROL INPUTS DURING WAKE TURBULENCE ENCOUNTERS AS A RESULT OF THE AA587 TRAGECY WERE ISSUED TO ALL BOEING OPERATORS AS WELL AS ALL AIRBUS OPERATORS” - yes, as “confluence of extremely unlikely events”, as N79969 said, was considered to be the cause. What else could they do (like to remind once again, “try not to do sharp turns”)? But if Airbus had real concerns… that changes everything (like then it comes out that there were concerns about particular steering wheel design… and, indeed, no need to shout  Smile). Remember the Comet 1 crash before G-ALYP and G-ALYY (I think, it was YV)? Storm, turbulence, so on… but after the following crashes that one, too, was believed to have metal fatigue as a main cause. Disregard whatever measures/recommendations were taken before.

” That A300 had been in situations that stressed it beyond design maximums before...” - might very well (hope so) be that particular airframe problem. Which doesn’t change anything about possible “manufacturer concern” issue.

”Boeing held back on the 737 rudder for a long time” - did Boeing “withheld information“ similar way before doing something? Then I’d be surprised why nobody sued them…


User currently offlineKnoxibus From France, joined Aug 2007, 260 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3358 times:
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Well we have a whole department called "liability" here in Airbus, and everyday they warn us about the importance of what we write in e-mails and stuff.

We are now fully aware of what we call the "You did not write down in the manual that it was forbidden to do a full loop with the aircraft" type of suing...

It's like that woman that put her cat in a microwave and sued the manufacturer because it was not written anywhere that it wasn't made fro drying cats.....

Anyway, if you do a little research, you could find a post from Starlionblue I believe (sorry if I'm wrong) in which he linked the report from NTSB or something similar, that proved that the aircraft suffered from severe actions on the rudder through pilots' commands, and that it failed at a far greater safety coefficient that it was supposed to fail normally, so............

And surely the NTSB would have issued some warnings or stuff when doing the investigations, and supposedly discovered some wrongdoings by A.



No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3352 times:

You know, it coudl also have been just that particular defective aircraft, but then again, in the realm of investigation, such a notion would not be considered.

Because there's no such thing as a "defective aircraft", at least not in the implied terms here. There could be a particular part that's defective, but something, somewhere, caused that defect. It is not acceptable to say "in our manufacturing process, there is the possibility that 1% of all parts we make will be defective during manufacture, will not be caught in the QC and testing process and could cause a crash." Such a manufacturer would not be certified to build airplane parts.

All parts are tested and inspected prior to being installed. If the manufacturer made a mistake, they will be held accountable. If the inspection team made a mistake, they will be held accountable. If the design team made a mistake, they will be held accountable.

There is no situation in which you can just say "oh well, defective airplane, these things happen". There is a reason why defects are introduced into the process, whether it be because of poor design, poor manufacturing processes, poor inspection, or poor maintenance.

Anyway, if you've been following the NTSB's investigation (which has been a very public investigation), I see no chance that any part on this plane was defective. The NTSB has clearly been looking at both AA pilot training, the actions of these particular pilots, and the design and certification process of the A300. My guess is still that some combination of these factors will be blamed in the final report, which is due (I think?) at the end of this month.

And yes, the NTSB does check for defects, and many crashes have been caused by and blamed on defective parts (check the Sioux City DC-10 crash for one example). The NTSB did check the bolts, the mounts, and the composite material itself on this particular tail for defects. But there are supposed to be procedures in place for keeping defective parts out of airplanes anyway so if a defect causes a crash, it means there was a systemic breakdown somewhere in the process; the part itself is not the root cause of the accident, the breakdown in the system is the root cause of the accident.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineLtbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13113 posts, RR: 12
Reply 20, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3305 times:

I think part of the problem as to AA587 is that the tail here had an extensive amount of composites and investigative agencies have little experience with composite material structural failures. The NTSB had to send out samples of the tail structures to specialized labs for testing in this investigation. There is also the developing issue of how to inspect composite materials for fatague, damage vs. those for traditional metal materials where inspection techniques are well established. One question I have is how are the tails on A300 series a/c intergrated into the rest of the fusulage vs. how other airlines (ie: Boeing) do it, especially when composities involved?

User currently offlineMagyar From Hungary, joined Feb 2000, 599 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3269 times:

Dear Knoxibus,

>>
We are now fully aware of what we call the "You did not write down in the manual that it was forbidden to do a full loop with the aircraft" type of suing...
<<

These type of allegations are not the only ones
that AI may have to face (beyond of course the
real issues concerning airbus planes). If the
transatlantic trade spats go dirty, the AA587 accident
could be very handy for some to hurt airbus, regardless
whether they were responsible for it or not.


User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2445 times:

"Boeing held back on the 737 rudder for a long time... and nobody sued them for it. I think this will also pass."

Gigneil,

Boeing did not hold back about a known problem on the 737 and they did get sued after the 1994 USAir crash. Check your information.

Cedarjet,

If there was a problem with a rudder use at low speed, then Airbus had a duty to placard that information in the cockpit and/or amend the Airplane Flight Manual. I have not seen the reconstruction in a long time. If I recall correctly, I do not know if the pilot could tell how much rudder deflection was actually being applied through his own input. In other words, what may have been light rudder use in the cockpit may have been full deflection.

The A300 was subjected to extreme forces somewhere well within its normal performance envelope in a pretty normal flight profile. How did that come to be?

Bennett123,

You seem to trivialize the gravity of the situation. If Airbus did not disclose information regarding a potentially serious problem with one of its airplane to operators and the authorities, then it failed in its legal (and moral) obligations.

To compare this situation with some frivolous bs lawsuit is simply absurd and shows a certain amount of conceit on your part.


User currently offlineGregg From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 327 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2261 times:

Boeing did not hold back known problems with the 737 rudder. The analyzed the data for a long time, and didn't find any issues. So they started running actual senarious on the valve that positions the rudder (not sure on the proper name of the valve.) They found once instance where freezing the valve at temperatures below that normaly seen in flight, for times not seen in flight, caused a problem that could in rare cases cause a rudder over.

Within a few hours of finding this out, they contacted the FAA, and scheduled a meeting for the next day. It still isn't clear if this valve could have caused the accidents.


User currently offlineBENNETT123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7605 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1788 times:

N79969

I am not trivialising anything.

If you read reply 11, KEN777 referred to the interest of trial lawyers, I was merely making the point that they can "find" blame even in the most implausible situations.

You might also re-read reply 18.

If Airbus knew that there was a problem, then they should have told the Airlines/Regulators. We have yet to see evidence of this this.

The A300 Tail has design limits, (like anything else) these are not intended as guidelines. I assume that you have read reply 14.


25 N79969 : Bennett123, You compare the issue here to several asinine lawsuits. What trial lawyers will or will not pursue is not the issue here. But you brought
26 Rj111 : Just to clear a few things up. The A300 which crashed on that day experienced pressures on the tail that exceeded the "ultimate load" (the maximum loa
27 BR715-A1-30 : Boeing held back on the 737 rudder for a long time... Not exactly, They had 2 crashes, but could not prove it was the rudder, because everytime they t
28 Klmyank : Fact: AA587 was below Va (Maneuvering speed to the non-pilots) a speed where you are supposed to be able to make a FULL control input without structur
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