Flight 587’s vertical stabilizer performed in a manner that was consistent with its design and certification. The vertical stabilizer fractured from the fuselage in overstress, starting with the right rear lug while the vertical stabilizer was exposed to aerodynamic loads that were about twice the certified limit load design envelope and were more than the certified ultimate load design envelope.
The first officer had a tendency to overreact to wake turbulence by taking unnecessary actions, including making excessive control inputs.
The first officer’s initial control wheel input in response to the second wake turbulence encounter was too aggressive, and his initial rudder pedal input response was unnecessary to control the airplane.
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