EASA issues AD for A318/19/20/21 for excessive forces possibly causing separation of tailplane

Last Update: November 24, 2015 / 15:48:12 GMT/Zulu time

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The European Aviation Safely Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive (AD) on Feb 26th 2015 (adopted by the FAA on Nov 24th 2015) regarding all Airbus Models A318, A319, A320 and A321 stating:

During design reviews that were conducted following safety recommendations related to in-service incidents and one accident on another aircraft type, it has been determined that, in specific flight conditions, the allowable load limits on the vertical tail plane could be reached and possibly exceeded.

This condition, if not corrected, could lead, in the worst case, to detachment of the vertical tail plane in flight and consequent loss of the aeroplane.

To prevent such a possibility, Airbus has developed modifications within the flight augmentation computer (FAC) to reduce the vertical tail plane stress and to activate a conditional aural warning within the flight warning computer (FWC) to further protect against pilot induced rudder doublets.

Consequently, EASA issued AD 2014-0217 to require installation and activation of the stop rudder input warning (SRIW) logic. In addition, that AD required, prior to or concurrent with modification of an aeroplane with the activation of the SRIW, upgrades of the FAC and FWC, to introduce the SRIW logic and SRIW aural capability, respectively. After modification, the AD prohibited installation of certain Part Number (P/N) FWC and FAC.

The actions required by the EASA AD have to be accomplished by Oct 10th 2018.

A similiar issue had been identified as cause of the crash of American Airlines flight AA-587 on Nov 12th 2001, an Airbus A300-600 registration N14053, while climbing out of New York's JFK Airport and encountering wake turbulence. The resulting aircraft yaw and roll movements were corrected by left/right alternating rudder inputs resulting in forces on the vertical tail plane, that exceeded the design loads, caused the vertical tail to separate from the airframe and ultimately resulted in the crash of the aircraft at Belle Harbour on Rockaway Peninsula underneath the departure path of JFK's runway 31L.
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This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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