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Attorneys Say Airbus Rudders Have Been An Issue For Some Time

White Paper Published Prior To Indonesian Aviation Authority Report On Air Asia Accident Detailing History Of Rudder Problems

An aviation law firm in October published a white paper focused what it says is a history of rudder problems with Airbus Airplanes, perhaps particularly relevant because Indonesian aviation officials just published their final report concerning the loss of Air Asia Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320 which went down in the Java Sea in December of last year.


In that report, authorities said that a solder joint in a circuit board could have led to rudder problems that caused the crew to try to fix the autopilot by re-setting a circuit breaker. The crew eventually lost complete control of the airplane.

The white paper published by Nolan Law notes an American Airlines accident in 2001, in which the NTSB said that the rudder rapidly deflected from one side to the other, eventually resulting in the vertical stabilizer separating from the A300-600. The firm says that the NTSB eventually concluded that the rudder control system was "an inherently unfriendly design", and the board recommended in 2004 that rudder travel be limited on the A300-600 in an effort to prevent rudder reversals.

The according to the paper, the FAA continued to receive reports of "uncommanded rudder movements" on Airbus airplanes.

The white paper suggests that there continue to be design flaws in the A320 family rudder control system. It says there have been at least 13 previous Airbus rudder malfunctions prior to the Air Asia accident, and questions the NTSB's reputation for "rigorous investigation and diligent follow-through", saying that the board "may well have left the poor design door open for more lives to be lost."

(Image from file. Not accident airplane)

FMI: White Paper


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