Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Airbus design problem ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Airbus design problem
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: traveler06-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 12 Apr 2006 15:39 PDT
Expires: 12 May 2006 15:39 PDT
Question ID: 718330
I recently came across a news report about design problems with the
Airbus A300-600, responsible in part for the crash of American
Airlines Flight 587 in 2001.  How serious is this problem?  Does it
apply to Airbus models A320, A321 and A346, as well?

Request for Question Clarification by techtor-ga on 12 Apr 2006 23:43 PDT
Greetings Traveler06,
See if this report about the incident will help you:

U.S.Read's Flight 587 Preliminary Report


Clarification of Question by traveler06-ga on 18 Apr 2006 08:56 PDT

It seems the first part of my question is answered (USA Today link). 
Does the same or similar situation apply to the other models I
Subject: Re: Airbus design problem
Answered By: techtor-ga on 18 Apr 2006 20:52 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Greetings Traveler06,
I took the liverty to post an answer since I feel I have enough information.
I'll be a bit brief here. Below is the rest of the information I
collected, and I believe the problem has to do with the composite
substance construction of the Airbus A300 rudder. It points to a
potential problem with the A320 series since they also use the same
composite materials for the rudder. This may also apply to the A380
rudder, which also used composites. I could not ascertain if the A340
series also uses a composite rudder, but it is mentioned in the
Wikipedia entry about the aircraft that there are some composite
primary structures. The Whyfiles page says that the wing has a lot of
composite material, and I don't know if the rudder also does. If you
know if the A340 rudder has composite material, you can probably guess
the likehood for its having the same problem as Flight 587 and Flight

JEC Group Website
14 Dec 2001 - United Airlines Finds Flaw in Airbus Plane Tail 
Mentions possible flaw with A320 rudder as well. 

Luchtzak Aviation | Forums | Latest aviation news | Another Airbus rudder problem??  

COBRAE News on Plane Accidents (Adobe PDF)  
HTML Version: - NTSB investigators sound alarm on Airbus rudder - March 26, 2006   

CBC News - Safety group makes urgent call for Airbus rudder
inspections - March 27, 2006   

The Observer | International | What made an Airbus rudder snap in
mid-air? - March 13, 2005,6903,1436374,00.html   
- This also mentions the possibility that the Airbus A380 might suffer
the same problem, also having a composite tail fin.

Airbus rudder/tail problems? - Above Top Secret Conspiracy Community  

Whyfiles: Designing with composites  
Good explaination about how carbon fibers might fail. 

Transportation Safety Board of Canada - Aviation Safety Recommendation A06-06  
Report by the Canadian transport safefy agency about inpecting Airbus rudders.

Airbus A340 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  

I assume you're hoping to avoid these Airbus models in the future to
avoid the likelihood of being in the same kind of accident. However,
take note that the Boeing 737 also had a rudder valve problem, but the
problem was addressed. After all, the companies making these planes
will find errors and rectify them as best as they could. In my
opinion, I guess there's no avoiding it if it really is your time to

Google Search terms used:
airbus a320 rudder flaw
airbus a321 rudder flaw
airbus a346 rudder flaw
airbus composite rudder 
airbus a340 rudder composition
airbus a340 rudder composite

I hope this was a good answer. If you need something clarified, or
have a problem with the answer, do please post a Request for
Clarification before rating and I'll come back to you as soon as I
can. Thank you.
traveler06-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Airbus design problem
From: techtor-ga on 13 Apr 2006 08:17 PDT
Here's an additional piece of info I found:

Flight 587 Crash Analysis

However, it does not support the idea of an inherent flaw in the Airbus A300 design.
Subject: Re: Airbus design problem
From: stanmartin1952-ga on 14 Apr 2006 00:36 PDT
You state that the Flight 587 Crash Analysis does not support the idea
of an inherent flaw. In my opinion, the vertical stabilizer falling
off is an inherent flaw. I would be uneasy flying on a plane in which
too much rudder (whether or not it was due to pilot error) would cause
the vertical stabilizer to fall off.
Subject: Re: Airbus design problem
From: techtor-ga on 14 Apr 2006 10:00 PDT
This then is a more updated article about the A300 and Flight 587
rudder matter. You're right, it appears a flaw with the A300's rudder
design has been acknowledged by NTSB.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy