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Air France crash inquiry doubts Airbus speed monitor safety

Last Updated: Friday, December 18, 2009 - 00:09

Paris: The inquiry into the loss of an
Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic with 228 people
on board called today for new testing standards for air speed
probes, which it said ice up at high altitude.

In an interim report on the June 1 crash of flight
AF447 from Rio to Paris, the French air accident investigation
agency BEA said that, while it has yet to confirm the cause of
the accident, the plane`s Pitot probes were faulty.

The BEA agency`s report said that Airbus, which built
the missing A330 jet, had identified 32 cases between November
12, 2003 and the date of the crash in which two or more of
these air speed monitors had iced up on its planes.

When Pitots are blocked by ice they send false speed
measurements to the plane`s onboard flight computers, as was
the case on the missing flight, which sent a string of
automated error messages before plunging into the ocean.

The BEA, which has already ordered airlines to replace
the European-designed Pitots on their A330 and A340 Airbus
jets with a US-made model, called in its latest report for new
testing standards for the device.

"In practice, the testing criteria are not
representative of the conditions really encountered at high
altitude, in the case of temperatures for example," the
investigators wrote.


First Published: Friday, December 18, 2009 - 00:09

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