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American FLt 587 Findings  
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2534 posts, RR: 14
Posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7079 times:

Here's the link
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/041025/ntsb_flight_587_1.html

The NTSB found the tail broke off becuse the copilot used full rudder to attempt to counteract a roll. AB in it's defense stated, we told them not to train their pilots to do that.

It is amazing any manufacturer could allow a plane to fly with such a known defect. Would you buy a car if the salesman said, "Whatever you do don't move the steering wheel real quickly all the way to the end. The wheels might break off."

77 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5015 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6999 times:

Has it ever occurred to you that if full rudder was repeatedly applied in the same way on a Boeing, the tail of the Boeing would quite likely break off as well?

User currently offlineAirtran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3702 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7002 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Tommorow should be interesting. AA vs. Airbus slugging it out.


Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlineTrident2e From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6960 times:

Before our American friends turn this into an Airbus bashing thread, bear in mind that Boeing has formally notified operators of their aircraft that crews must not use excessive rudder or their tailplanes will fall off too. So Dalmd88 - would you buy an aircraft from Mr Boeing if he told you not to use too much rudder?

User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6904 times:

Scoripo,

I am sure in one or more Boeing aircraft a piot used full rudder to regain control, no tail ever fell off a Boeing. I think the real problem lays with the fact the rudder pedals on that 300 were very sensitive and I also don't like the composite design which is why I feel the tail came off under that strain. I also feel Airbus didn't inform AA about this potential problem. Great article in my local paper today about AA Flight 903, Reg N90070. On May 12th, 1997 the pilots lost control of the plane on a flight to MIA after it stalled and the pilots used the rudder to regain control and nearly lost the tail the same way 587 did. They landed safely. Same model Airbus.


User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6808 times:

I can think of a couple of Boeings, a B-52 and a 707, that lost their vertical stabs. They didn't crash though....

[Edited 2004-10-25 22:58:45]

User currently offlineCol From Malaysia, joined Nov 2003, 2093 posts, RR: 22
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6784 times:

Don't think any manufacturer would advise to use full rudder in Vortex conditions, at those speeds. So lets be real about the integrity of the aeroplane.

The issue seems to be of communication, either Airbus to customers, or American to pilots.


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3465 posts, RR: 47
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6765 times:

The NTSB found the tail broke off becuse the copilot used full rudder to attempt to counteract a roll. AB in it's defense stated, we told them not to train their pilots to do that.

Wrong on both counts. Recommend reading a bit more closely.

It is amazing any manufacturer could allow a plane to fly with such a known defect.

Your original premis is wrong, so your statement is also wrong.

...bear in mind that Boeing has formally notified operators of their aircraft that crews must not use excessive rudder or their tailplanes will fall off too.

Another inaccurate statement.

Before our American friends turn this into an Airbus bashing thread...

Before anybody goes bashing AA, Airbus or anybody else I recommend y'all do a bit more research. The above postings indicate folks forming opinions without facts or knowledge. A good beginning on this site would be:
http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/search.main?search_table=archived_general_aviation&search_field=topic&search_active=1&search_year=&search=587&search_order=id&submit=Search+Forum%21




*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineANstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5161 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6719 times:

NIKV69, Are these the same composites the 7e7 will use?

From what I see, Airbus warned about rapid rudder movements.

AA claim that they didn't know the tail would snap off.

So, Why would you still train pilots to use loads of rudder if you were told it was dangerous. Who cares if Airbus didn't say the tail would snap off, thery said it was dangerous, so take heed.

Now, the article also states that the rudder is very sensitive. Ummm, wouldn't A300 pilots already be aware of this when using the rudder?


User currently offlineMissedApproach From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 713 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6692 times:

United 585 & USAir 427, 737s, both had full rudder deflection without the fin breaking off. Unfortunately the rudder deflection was uncommanded due to a flaw in the yaw damper design & caused crashes in both cases, but at least the structure was sound.
While there are tests for metal fatigue, does anyone have a fatigue test for these composite structures that are proliferating in aircraft design now? I'm sure that by the time you have a visual delamination on these things it's already too late.
Oh boy, another A vs B thread!  Laugh out loud



Can you hear me now?
User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5015 posts, RR: 44
Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6659 times:

I am sure in one or more Boeing aircraft a piot used full rudder to regain control, no tail ever fell off a Boeing.

So can you provide us with an instance where the pilot of a Boeing aircraft repeatedly used FULL rudder to regain control, in the same way as on AA587?

and I also don't like the composite design which is why I feel the tail came off under that strain.

Just because you 'feel' that doesn't make it so. The rudder withstood more than it was designed to withstand before it fell off. And it was designed to withstand just as much strain as any other aircraft. Otherwise it wouldn't have have received its certification.

Great article in my local paper today about AA Flight 903, Reg N90070. On May 12th, 1997 the pilots lost control of the plane on a flight to MIA after it stalled and the pilots used the rudder to regain control and nearly lost the tail the same way 587 did. They landed safely. Same model Airbus.

And, more importantly, same airline. Any stories of other airlines using full rudder on their A300s?


User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6634 times:

SATL382G,

I thought an aircraft can not fly without a tail. Are you sure they lost their entire tail?

As for Airbus telling AA about the rudder defect, I strongly doubt they did. I find it hard to believe Captains would use hard rudder in any situation if they knew it could mean death to the entire aircraft.


User currently offlineANstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5161 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6623 times:

NIKV69, um AA587 didn't fly... hence it fell to the ground.

As the article says Airbus did warn AA of rudder issue, just not to the extent of the tail snapping off.


User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6598 times:

ANstar,

No Kidding, ready reply #5 please. Then you will understand.


User currently offlineFedExDC-10 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 196 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6594 times:

The article states that American is the only airline that flies this aircraft, and I'm rather curious about that. I can think of other A306 operators. Am I missing something?

FedExDC-10


User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2240 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6581 times:

The Boeing examples of tailess flight did not have the added fuel storage, thus weight and balance issue the A300-600 was faced with. If fuel was in the tail at the time of the incident, the aircraft would has become instantly nose heavy, that does not usually lead to a climb.

The article I have read incorrectly states that only American operates "this type". Correct me if wrong, but I recall FedEx, and Monarch also fly/flew this, possibly some Asian carriers.



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2534 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6568 times:

Full rudder defection even if repeated should not rip the tail off. This is on ANY airplane. I don't care who makes it. I'm not real keen on composites they tend to fail real ugly when they do fail. Yes I know Boeings use a lot of composite parts now also and we might very well see some similar failures in the future on Boeing aircraft.

My main thought on this thread is the only fix they had was "Don't do that, bad things could happen." Why didn't they fix the vertical stab so this couldn't happen?


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3607 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6560 times:

Tommorow should be interesting. AA vs. Airbus slugging it out.

No, tomorrow will be the NTSB releasing its findings. AA and Airbus have had their chance to make their feelings known.

United 585 & USAir 427, 737s, both had full rudder deflection without the fin breaking off.

The issue is not full rudder deflection. The issue is full rudder deflection from one direction to another. Neither of the two airplanes you mention had that happen.

It is amazing any manufacturer could allow a plane to fly with such a known defect. Would you buy a car if the salesman said, "Whatever you do don't move the steering wheel real quickly all the way to the end. The wheels might break off."

Would you buy a car if the salesman told you that turning the wheel fully from one direction to the other at 70mph might cause it to flip over and crash? Probably not, but millions of cars and trucks out there fit that description and lots of people buy them...



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineMissedApproach From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 713 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6545 times:

Correct on other A306 operators, AA was the launch customer for the R model. FedEx, Thai, & Monarch also operate it. The columnist of the article was obviously mistaken.
I wouldn't go as far as to say I don't like composites since their light weight goes a long way to improving aircraft performance, but does anyone know what sort of lifespan a composite structure has on an airplane?
Military planes have been using composites for awhile, have there been any failures in these applications?



Can you hear me now?
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6505 times:

I thought an aircraft can not fly without a tail. Are you sure they lost their entire tail?

Aircraft designed without a tail seem to fly well. The B-52 and A300 left some vertical stab behind. I'm not sure about the 707.


User currently offlineMoman From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1054 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6496 times:

"Would you buy a car if the salesman told you that turning the wheel fully from one direction to the other at 70mph might cause it to flip over and crash? Probably not, but millions of cars and trucks out there fit that description and lots of people buy them..."

I bet every SUV on the American highways would fail this test....

"The Boeing examples of tailess flight did not have the added fuel storage, thus weight and balance issue the A300-600 was faced with. If fuel was in the tail at the time of the incident, the aircraft would has become instantly nose heavy, that does not usually lead to a climb."

Do Airbus jets store fuel in the tail or did I miss the point of this post?

Moman



AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6385 posts, RR: 54
Reply 21, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6439 times:

Any aerodynamic surface - including the wings - can be ripped off an airliner if improperly flown. It mostly depends upon speed since aerodynamic forces become four times greater as speed doubles.

FDR data has long time been published telling how much the lateral load on AA587 exceeded design and FAA certification limits. That tail stood up to considerably more than it was certified for.

If the A300-600 vertical stab was unsafe, then all examples would of course have been grounded for modification like the DC-10 in 1980 when the "unsafe" - or at least not "fool proof" - baggage door was so dramatically discovered.

The AA587 is an information exchange issue, and/or an AA crew education issue.

That doesn't make the whole thing less serious. Information exchange and education is fully as important as product quality.

To those who bitch over carbon fibres there is only one thing to say: Stay away from any airliner designed less than 30 years ago. Don't even dream about getting near an A380, much less a 7E7 Dreamliner.

Carbon fibres is nothing new. What is fairly new is payable CNC milling of very large moulds making large carbon fibre structures economically viable compared to aluminium. On military planes and spacecrafts, where economy takes the backseat compared to performance optimization, carbon fibres have long time ago been introduced at a much faster pace.

Carbon fibre is a supperior material compared to aluminium in all respects. It is stronger, lighter, stiffer and much less prone to fatigue. The only major disadvange is that it is more expensive.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 22, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6419 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

Information exchange and education is fully as important as product quality.

One of the best points made thus far, Preben. Well put.


Carbon fibre is a supperior material compared to aluminium in all respects. It is stronger, lighter, stiffer and much less prone to fatigue. The only major disadvange is that it is more expensive.

I think it's important to remember that carbon material can be engineered poorly as easily as it can be engineered well...grouping all prepregs and layup processes together as one may be misleading. Basically, carbon can be the best thing in the world or a brittle, dangerous material, depending on many factors. I would only add the words "properly engineered" carbon fiber to your statement above.

Thanks for yet another great post, Preben. Always a pleasure to read your stuff.


2H4



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6385 posts, RR: 54
Reply 23, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6391 times:

The B-52, which lost its vertical stabilizer many years ago, was an entirely different thing. It was cruising at high altitude when it encountered wave winds over high mountains (the Rockies?) which put it way above limiting Mach number airspeed. The vertical tail separated due to flutter.

Unlike AA587 it was not exposed to extreme lateral force, and it was not exposed to extreme wake turbulence.

Furthermore not the whole vertical stabilizer was lost. Some 20% of the surface stayed with the plane and it landed safely.

That B-52 was a long time gone B-52D model. The incidence was one of the reasons for the revised and considerably smaller vertical stabilizer on the B-52G and B-52H planes. Today only the -H model is in use.

The AA587 accident could hardly have happened on a B-52. The A300 - like all other airliners - has a generous lateral control ability mainly to make landing in sidewind possible. The B-52 also lands in sidewind, but it has the ability to turn the main landing gear wheels and land slightly sideways with heading pointing directly against the airflow.

This system was mainly made because the extremely low landing gear and long and drooping wings make any sideslip landing completely impossible.

The B-52 has a very small rudder. Powerful lateral control input can only be imposed using the spoilers on the wings, which also perform roll control.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6373 times:

Nobody is saying the B-52 lost it's tail for the same reason as AA587. Someone mentioned that a Boeing had never lost a tail and that wasn't true, which I pointed out by mentioning the B-52 and the 707 incident.

Oh and the B-52 involved was an H model....


25 AAR90 : The AA587 is an information exchange issue, and/or an AA crew education issue. Obviously this (and other inane postings) shows how little folks follow
26 Post contains links Starlionblue : I was going to go on a long rant, but Preben made most of my points for me, and much more eloquently than I would have. It's not about the airframe, i
27 AAR90 : Maybe not reversals, but there was concern about rudder usage. Boeing, McD and Airbus sent a joint letter to AA warning about overemphasis on rudder i
28 Starlionblue : I think it is rather central to the cause. If Airbus did not inform AA properly about the sensitivity of the rudder, or if AA did not inform it's pilo
29 Cannikin : "...Benzon also said that the rudder control system on the aircraft is sensitive at higher air speeds, which is potentially hazardous..." Is 200 knots
30 Starlionblue : Most commercial jets don't go over about 350KIAS (IIRC) so 200 is not very high but definitely not low. Low would be 160 and under.
31 Aa717driver : Correct me if I'm wrong but did a rudder reversal(unknown cause) happen prior to the full rudder input occur? If it did, the aircraft would have yawed
32 Starlionblue : Correct me if I'm wrong but did a rudder reversal(unknown cause) happen prior to the full rudder input occur? Nope. All rudder movements were due to p
33 Phollingsworth : The rudder control system is "different" on the A300-600, even in respect of the other Airbi (and earlier A300s). In fact the pedal forces required to
34 Post contains images Starlionblue : Phollingsworth, as usual your input is much appreciated, at least by this A.nutter. As you say, you can only do so much to protect the vehicle from th
35 Spacecadet : Is 200 knots a high airspeed? Accident occured at 240 knots from what I'm hearing now. I'm still watching the NTSB webcast right now (it's still going
36 Miamiair : American's point is that cause was "the onset of a design induced, adverse Aircraft-Pilot Coupling." That the co-pilot's input was part of the process
37 Gigneil : I also feel Airbus didn't inform AA about this potential problem. How can you feel anything? They either did, or didn't, and you're not in a position
38 Starlionblue : There is also the point that "Airbus informing AA" does not really cover very much. After all, AA is pretty large. Even if someone at AA had the infor
39 Post contains images Westindian425 : I'm going to add Preben and Phollongsworth to my respected users list. I'll add 2 things: First, it's very comforting to know that the airplane is saf
40 Elwood64151 : The issue seems to be of communication, either Airbus to customers, or American to pilots. I think we can ignore just about every statement made after
41 N766UA : An aircraft should not be manufactured in such a way that the entire tail can become detatched should full rudder be applied. That's like saying the w
42 Scorpio : Some people just don't seem to get it... N766UA, In a Cessna, for example, you can kick the rudder pedals to the stops back and forth repeatedly and n
43 Commander_Rabb : What struck me is that Airbus said high speed rudder deflections could cause seperation of the tail from the aircraft. Climb speed was under 200 kts.
44 Post contains images AAR90 : Correct me if I'm wrong but did a rudder reversal(unknown cause) happen prior to the full rudder input occur? Yes, but only to a barely readable amoun
45 Udo : Commander, The "A300-600" product is also heavily used by FedEx and UPS with a total of 83 units in service. Regards Udo
46 EnviroTO : Regardless of whether or not the pilot did the wrong thing the aircraft should not rip apart unless it crashes first or the pilot was given some sort
47 Widebody : If you fly any aircraft outside its certificated envelope you can expect trouble no matter what the aircraft. If the aircraft is certified to fly, the
48 FSPilot747 : "In a Cessna, for example, you can kick the rudder pedals to the stops back and forth repeatedly and nothing of structural importance will happen" I s
49 AA777 : Im sorry, but if the plane was travelling at 200 kts, and the pilot applied full rudder, the airplane's rudder shouldnt have SNAPPED off in response.
50 Widebody : The aircraft met the current design requirements. Anything outside of that doesn't constitute a design flaw in the design sense. The issue in this cas
51 AAR90 : Im sorry, but if the plane was travelling at 200 kts, and the pilot applied full rudder, the airplane's rudder shouldnt have SNAPPED off in response.
52 Scorpio : Isn't it great how several of our forum members here (not surprisingly all Americans) think they know better than the NTSB, and keep on fueling this r
53 Post contains links ATLhomeCMH : Some of you need to reread the important information. http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/10/26/ntsb.flight587.ap/index.html
54 Prebennorholm : Thanks a lot ATLhomeCMH for that CNN link. Now as Mr. Robert Benzon has spoken out so clearly, then the technical issue must be regarded settled. But
55 N766UA : Does a Cessna fly at 240 knots? I mean, seriously, are you saying you're comparing a CESSNA to a commercial airliner?????????? If you would have read
56 N766UA : To clear things up a bit, however: If the first officer were kicking the rudder faster than the airplane could yaw, then there might be a problem. I'm
57 Scorpio : They are proportionate and the design is very much the same. Airliners should have much better tolerances than "uh oh I kicked the rudder, we're all g
58 N766UA : It seems to me a professional pilot would know that, too. Thus, I find it hard to believe he was horsing the airplane like that. I would imagine the r
59 M27 : I remember in the short weeks after the crash, and I know many others do too, that there were many, MANY post saying the FAA, NTSB, and any and all ot
60 N766UA : The NTSB has certainly never shown any bias towards protecting Boeing in their findings. They're as fair as it gets. They would never make something u
61 Spacecadet : Isn't it great how several of our forum members here (not surprisingly all Americans) think they know better than the NTSB, and keep on fueling this r
62 Scorpio : Thus, I find it hard to believe he was horsing the airplane like that. The NTSB says they were. And they have access to *slightly* more data than you.
63 Sabenapilot : To all those who are in total disbelief Airbus got off the hook, go and read the conclusions on the NTSB site for yourself.... These are some extracts
64 N766UA : I'm sure hundreds of aircraft, Airbus, Boeing and otherwise, have flown through the kind of turb AA 587 encountered. I'm also sure that somewhere alon
65 Knoxibus : I'm also sure that somewhere along the line a pilot used the same corrective action with the rudder. Why, then, was this Airbus an exception? Still di
66 N79969 : I have not read the actual report but from all accounts Airbus has been largely vindicated and the bulk of the blame lies with American Airlines throu
67 N766UA : The copilot performed unnecessary and overreactive actions Unnecessary given what Airbus has told AA. However, to the pilot's knowledge he was not doi
68 Ltbewr : Is it possible, as suggested in post #46 (?) to install on existing aircraft software or hardware to limit rudder movements at speed or other conditio
69 N685FE : Is there an animation of the flight using the FDR data?
70 Widebody : N766UA you're plucking out of thin air - the report states that what the pilot did was not in line with his training - both Airbus and AA confirmed th
71 Widebody : http://www.ntsb.gov/events/2001/AA587/board_mtg_anim.htm For animation.
72 Commander_Rabb : I liked this recomendation fro the NTSB. Review the options for modifying the A300-600 and the A310 to provide increased protection from potentially h
73 Post contains links SATL382G : Clickable animation http://www.ntsb.gov/events/2001/AA587/board_mtg_anim.htm
74 N766UA : I thought I read that American didn't even have the recommended training available to pilots?
75 Pilotallen : I actaully feel quite bad for the families of these people and pilots primarily because I can assure everyone that the first thought in their head as
76 BENNETT123 : All aircraft have limits, not just the A300-600. I believe that Airbus, Boeing and MDD had warned about the risks of aggressive rudder use in flight b
77 Starlionblue : The copilot performed unnecessary and overreactive actions Unnecessary given what Airbus has told AA. However, to the pilot's knowledge he was not doi
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