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My degree is in Aerospace Engineering, so I have followed aviation even as I drove ships around the ocean for a living.

I am concerned when planes lose major chunks in flight.  AVweb has a story on the Latest Airbus Missing Rudder involving Air Transat, a Canadian charter airline, Airbus A310.  The Mail & Guardian story is here and an interesting blog analysis here.

Update 1: France Issues Emergency Airworthiness Directive On Airbus Rudders

Update 2: US inspections are now required, but Reuters gets it wrong.  The rudder did not “nearly fall off.“  See the pictures below.

Most of the mainstream media reported it as an Airbus who had “lost a portion of its rudder“ and then returned to the airport it came from in Cuba.  Here is what that “portion“ really consisted of.

Air Transat A310 Rudder

Scary.  I would say about 98% of the surface and all of the aerodynamic control disappeared into the ocean.  The red along the edges is not rust, but (supposedly) super-strong super-lightweight composite material.  Much of the new A380 super jumbo will be made of this material to save weight.  I do not think I will ever fly in one.

Interestingly, Air Transat was also involved with a 2001 incident where an Airbus A330 had a major fuel rupture in an engine during a trans-Atlantic flight, ran out of gas, and had to glide unpowered to an emergency landing at Lajes, Portugal.  Luckily the island was within gliding range.

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:23 PM & Etc. , Personal | Back to top

Comments on this post: How to Understate an Airbus Accident

# re: How to Understate an Airbus Accident
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Left by LL on Dec 10, 2008 10:26 PM

# re: How to Understate an Airbus Accident
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perhaps airbus is a new kind of de havilland comet?
Left by Rocco on Jul 07, 2009 6:46 PM

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