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UA Finds Fault With A320 Fin  
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1812 times:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United Airlines said Thursday it had detected evidence of a flaw in the vertical stabilizer on one of its Airbus planes, raising more questions about the composite makeup of the tail fin on an aircraft that crashed in New York last month, killing 265 people.
Safety investigators, probing why the tail fin of an American Airlines Airbus A300 fell off seconds before that plane crashed after takeoff in New York in November, have talked with United and the manufacturer about the discovery made by mechanics on the United jetliner, an A320.

The latest development was first reported by USA Today.

Airbus said the tail fin composition of both model planes is similar even though the A300 is a wide-body aircraft, while the A320 is a smaller single-aisle jet.

Airbus and United said evidence of a flaw was revealed during recent ultrasonic tests in an area where the tail connects to the fuselage. The defect was described as a possible tiny ply separation within layered carbon fiber.

David Venz, a spokesman for Airbus, said the problem was in the rear section of the tail structure in an area that did not support the weight of the stabilizer.

The aircraft, which was made in 1994, was being returned to service by United, which said it would conduct ultrasonic tests on the tail sections of two other A320s.

The flaw was found on the opposite side of the tail section of the A320 where repairs were made at the factory on a different problem before being delivered to the airline.

``We just decided to take a look at it and we did,'' said United spokesman Joe Hopkins. He added that there were no problems detected in the area that had been previously repaired.

After the November crash of American Flight 587 that killed 265 people, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered carriers to visually inspect tail sections of A300s.

No problems were discovered during those checks, an FAA spokesman said.

Some safety experts have criticized the agency for not mandating ultrasonic inspections on the relatively small U.S. fleet of A300s, saying visual checks could not do a thorough job. The FAA has not ruled out additional tests down the road. The agency said it would closely watch the latest development.

``Certainly we'll want to know additional information to see if there is any safety issue to address,'' FAA spokesman Les Dorr said about the United discovery and its subsequent tests on two other aircraft.

While National Transportation Safety Board investigators will not likely determine what caused the crash of Flight 587 for a year or so, a critical part of the probe has focused on the tail fin and why it fell off.

NASA engineers are analyzing the tail's composites for any defects.

Advanced composites are increasingly used in commercial aircraft construction for their weight advantages and durability. These materials are usually constructed in layers, like pages in a book.

Composites are extremely resistant to fatigue, but when they fail it is usually catastrophic, experts said.

Investigators also are looking at the plane's rudder movements, and are examining at least four flight control mishaps over the past several years involving the A300 series aircraft. One involved the ill-fated American plane in 1994.

United is a unit of UAL Corp. while American is a unit of AMR Corp., and Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, is owned by European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co and BAE Systems Plc.

----------------------------------------------

Interesting. Probably not linked to the A300 crash. Still, makes you wonder...

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDELL_dude From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1646 times:

I always felt safer on a Boeing, and this is just my opinion.

DELL_dude


User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1649 times:

always funny to see how americans celebrate it if there is a small problem with an airbus.

If there would be reports about every problem found at a boeing they could fill books with that.



User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5731 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1617 times:

Give me a DC-9 any day.

User currently offlineAirman99o From Canada, joined Aug 1999, 975 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1620 times:

GREAT!! Just what I need to hear. I work with an airline that has nothing but Airbus planes. A-320's and -330's Hope that they are doing inspections on all of our aircraft.

airman99o



Safety is Everyones Responsibility.
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1620 times:

I'm English, and I'm not celebrating. The fact is that an A300 crashed probably due to a defective composite tail fin, and now UAL has found a defective composite tail fin in one of its A320. Take that however you want.

User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1613 times:

Seems like ultrasonic tests for all aircraft with composite tail fins is the way to go (current Airbus lineup and B777 both). I'm surprised this hasn't been mandated yet although the AA 587 crash is still under investigation.

User currently offlineCaptain.MD-11 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 704 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1594 times:

Not rying to jump the gun, however when you think about it these findings could ground a majority of the worlds fleet!

A319
A320
A321
A310
A300
A330
A340
B777

Do any others use the same material in their tail sections?



Twins,twins, everywhere.... but where are the three holers?
User currently offlineCaptain.MD-11 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 704 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1586 times:

Sorry it is spelled trying  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


Twins,twins, everywhere.... but where are the three holers?
User currently offlineGoAllegheny From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 340 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1580 times:

There are very few people who would celebrate the loss of so many people. Bin Laudin would be one of those, McVeigh another. Boeing and Airbus are both good manufacturers, and there have been mishaps at both companies. In this case, there is little doubt in my mind that composites stress and fatigue on commercial airliners is a big issue that is going to get a lot bigger. We seem to be on the wrong side of the learning curve on this one.

User currently offlineHoffa From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

It would seem the only tailfins affected are those that were improperly manufactured and then repaired in the factory before delivery, so its a much smaller percentage of the world fleet than you seem to think.

At the very least, a new policy of total replacement rather than repair of flawed tailfins on the production line would seem to be one outcome of all this.


User currently offlineCaptain.MD-11 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 704 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1563 times:

Sorry I didn't read that Hoffa, but the implications of such a finding could be yet another massive blow to the airlines  Sad


Twins,twins, everywhere.... but where are the three holers?
User currently offlineAvilitigator From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 214 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1556 times:

Racko:

"always funny to see how americans celebrate it if there is a small problem with an
airbus."

Well, I'm an American and I'm not celebrating. I am, however, concerned that any plane I would fly on may have a structural problem that may cause catastrophic failure during flight, be it an Airbus 320/300 or a B777. If you're going to generalize, a more accurate generalization is that Americans are concerned about safety, and that they will not necessarily stick to an American product if they know it is unsafe. Take for example, Ford Pintos (defective rear gas tanks that tended to explode after a rear-end collision), or Ford Explorers (defective tires), and even Boeing 737s before the rudder deflection problem was corrected.


User currently offlineBWIrwy4 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 940 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1528 times:

Wasn't one of the reasons why United went for the Airbus because they lost one of their 737s due to a rudder deflection?

User currently offlineB757300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 4114 posts, RR: 23
Reply 14, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1470 times:

Hey Solnabo, stop trying to turn this into a flame war. Your comment is nothing but a lame attempt to incite another Airbus vs. Boeing war.


"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
User currently offlineRIX From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1787 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1441 times:

Hey, Racko! Read those SAS 736 comments? What would you say now? Big grin

User currently offlineWarriorII From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1441 times:

Solnabo,

Hmm, I sure would like to see some sort of proof, anyway, that is not a known serious problem.

Manni,

I am very curious to see why you think that the B737NG is "crappy"? Seems SAS has gotten over most if not all of the introduction problems experienced with the NGs. I think that just switching from a lifelong history with MD, to Boeing caused some problems, but I tihnk SAS will really benefit from the NG's in the long run, they just had to get used to them.

About South African, well, I was very suprised to hear that they were talking about disposing of the B738 fleet, I thought it suited them well. I guess they don't fit SAA's structure. Anyway, you really don't make much sense in what you said, because SAA before disposed of their entire A320 fleet for the B738s! There are a few operators who replaced A320s with 737s: Oman Air, Midway, China Airlines, China Southern (In the process), and ANK Air Nippon to name a few. Also, look at TunisAir, they ordered the B737-600 while they operate the A319 and A320! BTW, what did that guy say about Americans....................

-Tom


User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5018 posts, RR: 44
Reply 17, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1429 times:

China Airlines never operated A320s. China Southern, afaik, has no plans to replace their A320s. TunisAir ordered the A32x and 737NG pretty much at the same time.

BTW, I think Manni was being sarcastic in his comments, merely pointing out to some here that it's not only Airbuses which have problems.


User currently offlineOO-AOG From Switzerland, joined Dec 2000, 1426 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1417 times:

China airlines did operate a single A320.


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Photo © Kelvin Poon



Cheers OO-AOG



Falcon....like a limo but with wings
User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5018 posts, RR: 44
Reply 19, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1396 times:

Hmm, never knew they operated the A320. But still, this seems to have been a short-term lease, and it was NOT (as you suggest) replaced by the 737NG.

TunisAir ordered the A320 before the 737-600, but the A319 was ordered at pretty much the same time as the 737-600 (don't have the dates, sorry).

And it was stated a few months ago that China Southern plans to standardize on the B737NG.

Never heard about it. Are you sure it's China Southern, as there's a lot of airlines out there with similar names  Big grin


User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1374 times:

``We just decided to take a look at it and we did,'' That's a bit scary. This wasn't a scheduled mx thing then (unless the spokesperson wasn't right). This aircraft could be still flying around with this problem if they didn't decide to "have a look". Admittedly, it probably wouldn't have caused any problems, but after the AA crash, is that good enough?

Time for mandatory composite fin checks.....?


User currently offlineManni From South Korea, joined Nov 2001, 4221 posts, RR: 23
Reply 21, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1350 times:

Just for the record,
Airlines that replaced the 737 for the A32S.
United, US Airways, America West, Lufthansa, Sabena, British Airways, ... Insane



SUPPORT THE LEBANESE CIVILIANS
User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6659 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1341 times:

Dell_dude,
you seem to post alot of these anti-Airbus posts which are more or less identical.Why?


User currently offlineLeftseat86 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1340 times:

Racko, that was just plain dumb

User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1295 times:

I know that not every american is anti-airbus, but if you look through these forums you will often see amercian making statements about airbus planes being unsafe, being underpowered, being ugly etc etc. and if you check then their user profile, 90% of them are from the USA.

Racko - 737-3/4/500,747-400,A32X,A330,A340 fan  Smile


25 WarriorII : Manni, I am talking about 737NG's replacing A32Xs. (Although ANK is an exception). -Tom
26 Manni : Racko, good observation! Warrior, the A32S was there before the 737NG's. If you are going to make these comparisons you might want to consider that ne
27 Post contains images L-188 : Your point being racko And 90% of the people who are saying the same things about Boeing airplanes are from parts of the world that aren't the US.
28 Addi375 : Here it goes A vs B. Guess what guys: 1. Most of the parts used to make Airbuses are made right here in the good ole' US of A. 2. The same things on t
29 WarriorII : "Warrior, the A32S was there before the 737NG's. If you are going to make these comparisons you might want to consider that nearly every current Airbu
30 777236ER : Away from the A vs. B war....... ``We just decided to take a look at it and we did,'' That's a bit scary. This wasn't a scheduled mx thing then (unles
31 Scorpio : Manni and Warrior II, That's quite a pointless discussion you're having. Can we just say that both are fantastic planes, which can be judged by their
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