After reading the forums on Airliners.net for some time, this one prompted me to join!
I am a flight attendant (for AA
) and also a licensed pilot. This post is not intended to specifically bash Airbus - I fly the A300 a lot and it is a unique and useful aircraft in our fleet.
The disturbing thing about the 587 accident is that it suddenly "changed the rules". As a pilot will tell you, the "design maneuvering speed" of the aircraft is the speed BELOW which, simply put, you cannot break the airplane by control inputs. This speed varies with the weight and loading of the aircraft.
Since 587 was BELOW the design maneuvering speed at the time of the accident, in theory nothing Sten Molin did at the controls should have caused the airplane to have a structural failure. Whether he reacted correctly or in the best way is not the subject here...the point is that the vertical stabilizer should not have separated from the aircraft.
Airbus now says that repeated, opposite rudder inputs can cause failure...even below design maneuvering speed. That, in turn, has prompted a review of FAA certification requirements and has changed the way that AA
trains its A300 cockpit crews.
At the time, however, it seems that AA
(and therefore Sten) did not know of this limitation on the A300. Airbus advised AA
only after the accident.
And THAT is why AA
and Airbus are disagreeing. I would point out that I know of no other aircraft where this is an issue. As for it being a political issue, trust me AA
would take the same position if this accident had occurred in a Boeing aircraft.
It will be interesting to see what the NTSB finally rules as the probable cause of this accident, and what recommendations it makes.
The views expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer.