Not sure if this latest story, 3/25/05 has been posted.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "U.S. aviation regulators on Friday ordered detailed rudder inspections and repairs, if necessary, of certain Airbus planes after the rudder of a Canadian passenger jet nearly fell off this month.
The Federal Aviation Administration wants operators of the 112 European-made Airbus A310s and A300s registered to U.S. carriers to complete detailed rudder inspections within three months. The planes are flown primarily in the United States by cargo giant FedEx Corp. . American Airlines also operates some A300s.
The tests include visual checks and a tap test, which is an audio analysis.
FedEx said it expected to complete inspections of its nearly 100 planes within the required time. "To date, we have seen no indication of any irregularities in our aircraft," the company said in a statement. Officials at American could not immediately be reached for comment.
French aviation regulators, in concert with the world's largest commercial plane manufacturer, issued a similar directive last week covering nearly 400 planes, including those flown by American and FedEx. The inspections are usually performed every few years.
The FAA order, which was expected after the European action, instructs operators to look for any separation or other damage to the rudder, which is made from layers of carbon-reinforced composite materials.
The directive stems from a March 6 in-flight incident in which a Canadian charter A310 lost part of its rudder. The Air Transat flight from Cuba to Quebec City with 270 people aboard returned safely to Cuba. Canadian authorities are investigating.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is also monitoring the investigation.
The Canadian incident focused new attention on the tail and rudder system of the A300 family. Rudders are attached to the tail fin and move back and forth to help with lateral steering usually on the ground or to counter crosswinds during landing.
Rudders were replaced on some Airbus aircraft in the early 1990s. In November 2001, an American A300-600 crashed in New York after its tail fin snapped off, killing 265 people. U.S. crash investigators said the co-pilot's excessive rudder use likely caused the fin failure but also cited the sensitivity of the rudder system and crew training at American.
U.S. investigators found no fault in that crash with construction of the composite tail fin after initial speculation focused strongly on that possibility."
-U.S. National - Reuters
Here is the link:
[Edited 2005-03-26 01:05:01]