DAYflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 3546
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:35 pm

Early Airbus Aircraft Get Rudder Checks

Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:22 pm

Fair use:

The rudders of about 420 older Airbus jetliners are being subjected to repetitive ultrasonic and other enhanced inspections, the first time airlines and safety regulators have resorted to such recurring, high-tech procedures to determine the integrity of composite parts on airliners already in service.

The enhanced inspections, including ultrasound, X-rays and other techniques, stem from a March 2005 incident in which an Air Transat Airbus A310 suddenly lost its rudder over the Caribbean while flying from Cuba to Quebec. There were no injuries, and the plane returned safely to Cuba. But as a result, the plane's manufacturer, Canadian air-safety investigators and European regulators began investigating what, if any, additional inspection requirements were necessary to safeguard the integrity of such rudders used on early model Airbus aircraft.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1198...4337975.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo
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dougbr2006
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RE: Early Airbus Aircraft Get Rudder Checks

Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:07 pm



Quoting DAYflyer (Thread starter):
stem from a March 2005 incident in which an Air Transat Airbus A310

Took them long enough to make this a scheduled maintenance issue, composite materials ehhhhhhhh !

Lets hope the new generation aircraft won't have similar fatigue problems due to hyrdaulic fluids delaminating/weakening the composite structure. I believe that was one of the points investigated.
 
DAYflyer
Topic Author
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RE: Early Airbus Aircraft Get Rudder Checks

Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:23 pm



Quoting Dougbr2006 (Reply 1):
Lets hope the new generation aircraft won't have similar fatigue problems due to hyrdaulic fluids delaminating/weakening the composite structure. I believe that was one of the points investigated.

An interesting point you raise.

Do you have a link to the investigation where this is stated?
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breiz
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RE: Early Airbus Aircraft Get Rudder Checks

Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:47 pm



Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 2):
Do you have a link to the investigation where this is stated?

Doubr2006 was most probably citing the cause from memory as it was much discussed at the time.
Here is a link you may find useful:
http://www.tsb.gc.ca/en/reports/air/2005/a05f0047/a05f0047_index.asp
 
NAV20
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RE: Early Airbus Aircraft Get Rudder Checks

Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:54 am



Quoting Dougbr2006 (Reply 1):
Lets hope the new generation aircraft won't have similar fatigue problems due to hyrdaulic fluids delaminating/weakening the composite structure. I believe that was one of the points investigated.

That point was first raised by the US NTSB in a Safety Recommendation issued in 2006, also recommending more urgent and extensive inspections:-

http://www.ntsb.gov/recs/letters/2006/A06_27_28.pdf

At that time the problem was thought to have been bolts through the rudder and core providing a 'pathway' for hydraulic fluid to penetrate through both the composite skin and the honeycomb core, resulting in disbonding.

The Canadian Board differs from this, identifying the possibility that the problem arose from initial faulty manufacture followed by repeated 'vacuum cycling.':-

"The residuals showed indications of possible insufficient bonding pressure during cure at the bond between the honeycomb and the inner skin along the edges of the z-section of the left side panel within a width of 20 mm. Subsequent investigation revealed that low bonding just aft of the z-section could be caused by insufficient caul plate pressure during cure as a result of mispositioning of the z-section, or of adverse accumulation of tolerances. This deviation would not necessarily be open to the outside air and could grow by vacuum cycling loads into a disbond. Further computer analysis determined that it was possible for such a disbond to grow under the influence of vacuum cycling. This deviation would have been present since manufacture and is a possible cause of the initial damage to the rudder."

The rudder design was changed some years ago and there are no penetrating bolts in later A300/A310/A330/A340 versions. So if the NTSB is correct, the problem of hydraulic fluid penetration has been solved except for the earlier models, which will require more frequent and searching inspections. The Canadian Board refers to the need for continued inspections of 'aircraft equipped with part number A55471500 series rudders'; it is not immediately clear whether these are only the early aircraft which have bolts penetrating the structure, or whether some later models are now included.

In any case, all the evidence is that the problem is not a general one applying to all forms of composite construction, but is rather a (hopefully isolated) case occurring with this particular design (composite skin bonded to honeycomb core).

And it certainly does NOT appear to be a 'fatigue' problem.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
LONGisland89
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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:34 am

RE: Early Airbus Aircraft Get Rudder Checks

Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:55 am



Quoting Dougbr2006 (Reply 1):
Took them long enough to make this a scheduled maintenance issue

American has been making regular checks on their A300 tails since 587.

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