American and Airbus Blame Each Other for AA587 Crash
WASHINGTON, March 3
American and aircraft
maker Airbus blamed each other on Wednesday for the second-worst air
disaster in U.S. history - a 2001 crash that killed 265 people in New
American blamed the Nov.
12, 2001, crash on the plane's flight control system, while Airbus said
the pilot was improperly trained.
Documents submitted by
each company to the National Transportation Safety Board signaled that
the government is close to finishing one of its most complex air crash
investigations. It was also the agency's first probe involving the
The submissions also
crystallize arguments the companies have been making piecemeal and in
private since the Airbus A300-600 lost its tail fin over New York and
plunged into a residential neighborhood near John F. Kennedy airport.
All 260 people on the
American Airlines flight, bound for the Dominican Republic, and five on
the ground were killed. The crash shook an already-traumatized New York
City just two months after hijacked airliners slammed into the World
Trade Center in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The American Airlines
crash was the first time anyone could recall a tail fin and rudder
snapping off a commercial plane, creating a mystery that has tested the
most advanced theories on the effects of turbulence and aerodynamics on
American said the design
of the flight control system was unique and included an “unexpectedly
sensitive” rudder, which caused co-pilot Sten Molin to lose control of
the wide-body aircraft shortly after take off.
“What the pilots of
Flight 587 did not know was that the rudder controls on the A300 become
increasingly sensitive as airspeed increases”; American said.
Airbus blamed the crash
on what it called “aggressive” rudder training by American, which it
said led Molin to inadvertently mishandle the plane when he encountered
turbulence from the wake of a bigger aircraft flying ahead.
“The (co-pilot) did
exactly as he was trained to do with predictable fatal consequences”.
American said it has
found no connection between the airline's training and the crash.
Ted Lopatkiewicz, a
safety board spokesman, said the American and Airbus conclusions on the
crash would be considered by investigators.
© 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004