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What made an Airbus rudder snap in mid-air?

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Don't be so sure. Rumor from a usually reliable source has it that this aircraft was worked on about a week prior to the incident flight, and after the incident all of the documentation related to this work has vanished.

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Anyone know the REG on the fuselage? I've flown a few of these birds, and am interested if this was one of them.

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OMG! It's C-GPAT! I flew on that very aircraft Last May between Toronto and Orlando, Found the REG on Airliners.net. Amazing.

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Glad you and the most recent PAX are OK :)

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Good pictures, especially of the composite material or what is left of it. The Air Buses have had from the begining flight control problems with the fly by wire system. Remember the one crashing on the test flight into the trees? I believe it is a combination of flight controls, composite materials, maintenance and engineering.Now this company is trying to build the A-380 to carry how many people?Terry

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"The Air Buses have had from the begining flight control problems with the fly by wire system. Remember the one crashing on the test flight into the trees?" Composite materials, maintenance and engineering might have been important factors here, but the fly by wire has nothing to do with this accident. As far as I know the A310 doesn't have a fly by wire system. As for the crash into the trees, that accident is often used, incorrectly so, by people to prove that FBW systems sometimes do things the pilot has not commanded. But in this case the pilot flying made his fly-by to low (below the tree line) and was to late with applying TOGA power. Even with all the flight control computers off the aircraft would still have crashed. (actually, it would probably have stalled first and than crashed)I hope an investigation will provide us with some answers, in particular about the composite materials and especially the long term effects of stress on composite parts. Every major new airliner rely on the use of composite materials, especially the A380 and even more so the Boeing 787.

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Wasn't there an Airbus at an airshow that crashed into some trees during a demonstration to show that the autopilot was so sophisticated it could fly the plane and land it without any pilot intervention?----------------------------------------------------------------John MorganReal World: KGEG, UND Aerospace Spokane Satillite, Private ASEL 141.2 hrs, 314 landings, 46 inst. apprs.Virtual: MSFS 2004"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story by Richard Bach

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Yes. In that instance the pilot had decided to make a low flyby. The computers in all their wisdom decided that an altitude like that is only ever used on short final and slowed the aircraft down to landing speed without being smart enough to notice they needed flaps to not stall at that speed.In fact that happened twice during demonstrations, and only after the second time did Airbus finally decide to install a manual override for the electronics.

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The big problem with the A300 family's tail was that it's of single spar construction.It's a weak point.

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Not only did the A310 not use fly by wire, but also on FBW system airworthyness requirements dictate that the trim and rudder are mechanical so allow a degree of manual reversion in the event of a complete computer failure.The A310 incident has been blamed on two things:* Bad training: The pilot used an inappropriate amount of rudder to couteract dutch roll that can occurr at such attitudes and speeds.* Bad weighting: The system should have been weighted to discourage such a large amount of rudder input. Apparently the pilot could too easily cause a full rudder deflection which would probably break the fin off of most aircraft, but most aircraft's q-feel systems will prevent it happening by virtue of the amount of effort required.

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Nice to see that the urban legend about that crash is alive and well.The pilot's, in all their wisdom, disabled the alpha floor protection mode of the autothrust system, ignored three radar altimeter callouts when they deviated below their planned flyover altitude of 100 feet, neglected to plan an airspeed for the flyover, and allowed speed to continue to bleed off, and then were surprised that when the engines responded like normal modern high bypass turbofans and did not give them instant thrust. The "computers," to their credit, at least prevented the airplane from stalling.And what are you referring to when you say that this "happened twice during demonstrations, and only after the second time did Airbus finally decided to install a manual override for the electronics?" The autoflight system (that is, the autopilot and autothrust system) is not unique to the Airbus (you'll find it on every modern airliner), always had a manual switch for disabling it. And in this crash, it was disabled.Don S.

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All modern aircraft are safe. It's the people that repair them or the people that fly them that can make them unsafe.

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Hardly an urban legend.The aircraft made incorrect deductions based on its flightpath and performed a controlled flight into what it thought must be a runway.and as to autoflight systems, only Airbus had at the time systems in which the pilot is along for the ride and even at this stage only Airbus has those systems on by default and doesn't provide an easy way to turn them off.

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>All modern aircraft are safe. It's the people that repair>them or the people that fly them that can make them unsafe.As one who maintains modern aircraft I find your statement uneducated, uninformed, narrowminded and furthermore rude. By your own admission, you would consider(assume) the designers infalable? You would also consider(assume) the structures and materials 100% safe? It is remarks like yours that paint the industry in a bad light. Lets give these stupid people (maintainers and pilots) a "perfect aircraft" and see if they can handle it. If they can't then we'll blame it all on them... ha ha! You might want to think twice before labelling certain groups as the main cause of aircraft accidents. Regards,JohnBoeing 727/737 & Lockheed C-130/L-100 Mechanichttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/ng_driver.jpg

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>>All modern aircraft are safe. It's the people that repair>>them or the people that fly them that can make them unsafe.>>As one who maintains modern aircraft I find your statement>uneducated, uninformed, narrowminded and furthermore rude. By>your own admission, you would consider(assume) the designers>infalable? You would also consider(assume) the structures and>materials 100% safe? It is remarks like yours that paint the>industry in a bad light. Lets give these stupid people>(maintainers and pilots) a "perfect aircraft" and see if they>can handle it. If they can't then we'll blame it all on>them... ha ha! You might want to think twice before labelling>certain groups as the main cause of aircraft accidents. >Get out of bed the wrong side did we, John?Tell me, what percentage of modern aircraft accidents were caused by errors in maintenance. I understand that Boeing themselves have mentioned that the figure is around 15%. Someone correct me if this figure is way out. Then tell me what percentage of modern accidents were caused by pilot error? I believe the figure is around 85% of all aviation accidents but others may have have better information. Finally, tell me what percentage of accidents are caused solely by aircraft design. I would hazard to guess that the third cause is very small compared to the other two.

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Victor,And exactly what experience and training do you have in the industry? Have you had human factors training? Do you know that most accidents are caused by a chain events in which one may be a shortcoming in design or materials.I will admit that the majority of accidents are human error but what got me is your comment that "ALL" modern aircraft are safe, implying that every single accident is caused by maintenance or flight crew.JohnBoeing 727/737 & Lockheed C-130/L-100 Mechanichttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/ng_driver.jpg

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Hi Victor...there are absolutely no absolutes in aviation. bt

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Yup saw that just an hour ago - About time Airbus gets on the ball with this. This may help clarify the muddied findings by the NTSB on the AA587 tragedy. There is clearly a problem with the rudder design and pilot interaction - something internal memos at Airbus Industrie have said before - but kept secret.Interestingly, FedEx's maintenance engineers, on investigating a recent Un-Commanded rudder incident on an A300, discovered the actuators tore holes in the composite rudder in exactly the same places as both the ATA Airbus and the AA587 Airbus, of course the AA587's entire composite fin snapped off mid-flight.One of the problems (in addition to the single-spar Vertical Fin design mentioned here before) with the Airbus tail/rudder system is the forces required by the pilot to initiate and continue a simple rudder movement. According to American Airlines' own maintenance engineer in the NTSB report of the AA587 tragedy, the pilot used only 10 POUNDS of force with a one and one quarter inch (1.25") depression of the rudder pedals to cause a FULL Rudder deflection by the system. In addition to that startling fact is that the Aircraft was traveling well below VA - manuevering speed - which according to every pilot's teachings - if you are below that speed the aircraft is safe to withstand full control inputs with no damage. There's a gap between sound flight training and Airbus design principles - not Airbus' fault per se - just something that was not considered before the loss of Flight 587.Anyway,Airbus is showing some wisdom here - let's see where it leads.

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>There is clearly a problem with the rudder design and pilot>interaction - something internal memos at Airbus Industrie>have said before - but kept secret.>Secret memos? And what evidence do you have of this?>Interestingly, FedEx's maintenance engineers, on investigating>a recent Un-Commanded rudder incident on an A300, discovered>the actuators tore holes in the composite rudder in exactly>the same places as both the ATA Airbus and the AA587 Airbus,>of course the AA587's entire composite fin snapped off>mid-flight.>That would be pretty difficult since "holes" were not torn in the same places in the ATA and AA587 airplanes. AA587 lost its fin due to structural overoad, not just the rudder coming off at the attachment points like the ATA airplane.>In addition to that startling fact is that the Aircraft was>traveling well below VA - manuevering speed - which according>to every pilot's teachings - if you are below that speed the>aircraft is safe to withstand full control inputs with no>damage. There's a gap between sound flight training and Airbus>design principles - not Airbus' fault per se - just something>that was not considered before the loss of Flight 587.>Well, that shows a problem with "every pilot's teachings." Below VA, the airplane is protected structurally from one full flight control iinput followed by a return to neutral, not from rapid, full range oscillatory inputs. The industry and regulatory authorities as well as the NTSB are trying to get this word out as it is apparent that what you say about pilot knowledge and training is true.Don S.>>

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I just thought I'd jump in and give Canadian pilots a thumbs up! We've gotten ourselves into some pretty compromising situations in the last 20 years or so, (Gimli Glider, A330 Glider, then this...) and yet not one fatality in any of these instances!!

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"The aircraft made incorrect deductions based on its flightpath and performed a controlled flight into what it thought must be a runway."Not true. The plane was under fully manual control at the time of the crash. The pilots flew too low, too slow, and then when they tried to climb out by giving a sudden TOGO power command, they left it too late, and the few seconds that it tok the engines to develop full thrust - which is a characteristic of the engines not of the avionics - they were over the airfield and into the trees. The story about the autoflight trying to land because of the low speed / low altitude is pure urban legend.Richard

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From what I read the pilot typed in wrong (engine-related) data into the MCDU to override some hardcoded limits for the show.Still the A320 family can be cheated.To 100% disable FBW you have to turn off two switches in the upper-panel. The result is a flight-behavior like a good old Boeing.But thats not teached in school :)

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