This is my first ever post on Airliners.net. Everybody is entitled their own thoughts and opinions, here are mine.
A couple of people in this thread have said that they believe design of the A300 is at fault and that AA
should have withdrawn the type immediately following this tragic accident.
However, this would have left a hole in their fleet as the A300 is their highest capacity aircraft (250/251 seats) - their 777s seat less (224/245) and is considered to be "too much aircraft for the job", and their 763s seat less still (212) with less cargo capacity than the A300. The A300 is the perfect aircraft for the routes AA
use it on - AA
obviously thinks so as it is still in their fleet and is planned to be for a number of years yet to come.
To my knowledge, this is the only loss of an A300 which may be attributed to the rudder system. The sensitivity of the rudder system should not have had any adverse effect as the flight crew should be fully accustomed to the controls of their aircraft, just as people get accustomed to the controls of their cars. They should have known how much to move the rudder pedals to accomplish the response they wanted from the aircraft, and acted accordingly. Although panic could have caused over-reaction to the wake turbulence of the 744.
lost a DC-10 at Chicago in the 1970s. This was one of a number of accidents involving the DC-10, and resulted in the worldwide grounding of the fleet, yet AA
did not dispose of its fleet. It even went ahead and purchased other DC-10 variants and the MD
has built up a large fleet of 737s over recent years. The 737 is an aircraft with a history of accidents that have been attributed to the rudder control system, although none to my knowledge involving AA
. Should AA
withdraw the 737 from its fleet due to the concerns that have existed over its rudder design?
All aircraft type are at some point afflicted by a problem or tragedy, and this sometimes tragically means the loss of life.
As for "not liking the way Airbus are built" - it is exactly the same as any other current large transport aircraft: aluminium fuselage, aluminium wings, carbon fibre vertical tail and carbon horizontal tailplane. All held together with thousands of bolts and rivets, etc. There isn't a great deal of difference at all.
Airbus pioneered the use of carbon fibre in transport aircraft structure, other manufacturers have been forced to follow suit. Most, if not all modern commercial aircraft have composite tails and other composite parts. The American Airlines livery helps us identify the carbon tails as they are not polished metal, but painted grey. The 727s, DC-10s and 707s all had shiny metal tails, the current fleet all have grey tails.
If people feel so strongly against the use of composites in aircraft structures, then I would suggest that they avoid the 7E7 and any other designs that appear after it from whichever manufacturer because the use of composites is only going to increase. Would these people then rather take a more conventional aircraft such as the A300 or 737 to their destination than the 7E7, or will they be choosing another mode of transportation?
I'd feel as safe on an A300 as I would on a 737 or on any other aircraft for that matter. I am not going to blame Airbus or AA
for the accident - there are experts paid to investigate events such as these and make judgments, and I feel that it should be left up to them.
Just my Â£0.02/$0.02