Topic Author
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Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 10:35 am

Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts to Tail Section Breakup (new details!)

LA Times

Some selected quotes from the link:

The tail fin--which helps to keep a plane flying straight--was pulled Monday from the waters of Jamaica Bay and appeared as if it had cleanly broken away from the rest of the fuselage.

The NTSB said the rudder was trimmed to a left deflection of 10 degrees, and Barry Schiff, a retired Boeing 747 captain and air safety consultant, said this appeared to indicate that the right engine had failed.

However, since the bolts remained secured to the main fuselage, suspicion focused on the first possibility, a structural breakdown.
Officials said the vertical stabilizer cracked above its attachment point to the fuselage, while the bolts that were supposed to hold it in place remained intact. They speculated that the problem might be some weakness in the material--a combination of aluminum and a composite material.

So it wasn't the bolts?
If it was the actual material fracturing why haven't they immediatley grounded all Airbuses?

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RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 1:54 pm

How about because its never happened before and there are much older A300's flying that have never had this problem. I know the Americans would be very happy if every Airbus was grounded but that will not happen.

All 737 have not been grounded even though they have crashed numerous times without reason.

If the tail did break off for no reason then Airbus will I'm sure see this as a najor problem, but what happened before the tail fell off, or the plane broke apart ?. What started all the shaking ??

Boeing Nut
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RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 2:04 pm

Hello again HKspotter,

Keep in mind with the 737 incidents that the causes were unknown. Theories, but unknown. The AA587 incident, if it indeed was the tail falling off, look for the Airbus aircraft to be grounded. This was indeed the case with AA191 (DC-10) back in 1979. DC-10's were grounded when the cause was known.

As far as the root cause, investigators are now looking at seperation minimums between AA587 and a JAL 744. They may have been too close and the aerodynamic forces mat have contributed to the crash.

I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on
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RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 2:10 pm

Boeing nut, would this mean grounding all Airbus, or just the 300's?
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RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 2:18 pm

I completely agree with Bove. To say that Americans would be happy for Airbusses to be grounded is totally out of line and completely wrong.

Grow up is right.


RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 4:40 pm

It is ridiculous to believe Americans want Airbuses grounded but, at the same time, we must all recognize that had the events of 9/11 not happened, a healthier industry would have made it easier for the FAA to temporarily ground A300s. The fact they are not being grounded for a potential serious material fatigue issue only shows how fragile the industry is; there is HUGE political pressure to not encumber the industry with groundings, even for safety.

On the A v B issue, the more compelling question is, if this proves out to be a combination of material fatigue and wake turbulence, how might this impact the A380 and any other super-jumbos? I.e., might this incident catalyze the industry away from wake turbulence, to the point of abandoning the A380? If the FAA adds another minute or two to heavy-heavy departure separation, will the inefficiency of lost runway capacity more than offset the added passenger capacity for these heavies, further compelling airlines away from using heavies?

So, yes, there is an A v B issue here...but let's keep it civil everybody, OK?
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RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Thu Nov 15, 2001 10:26 pm

I'll say this: if AA is forced to temporarily ground its A300B4-605R fleet, it would have very devestating effects on the airline, especially in the Caribbean.

Imagine JFK, MIA and SJU losing a large fraction of its AA flights until the planes are repaired--that will be how big the impact will be. AA could temporarily reassign its 767-300ER fleet, but I don't think that will come close to filling the needs of AA's very large Caribbean operations.
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RE: Jet Crash Inquiry Shifts To Tail Section Breakup!

Fri Nov 16, 2001 1:46 am

Newer aircraft, such as the A380, are designed to minimise wake turbulence.
It's very puzzling, as stated, there are older A300-600's flying around.
So is the spotlight on AA?

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