FAA Adopts New Rudder AD on Some Airbus Models
The FAA is adopting a new Airworthiness Directive (FAA-2011-0518) for Airbus A300/310 airliners to prevent high loading of the vertical stabilizer caused by excessive rudder pedal inputs, which could cause failure of the vertical stabilizer and consequent loss of control. The AD, effective Dec. 14, 2012, applies to A300 B4-600, B4-600R, F4-600R and C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called the A300-600 series), as well as to the A310 series.
The NTSB labeled excessive rudder inputs as a contributor in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in November 2001 just after takeoff from New York JFK International Airport. The AD requires either incorporating a design change to the rudder control system and/or other systems, or installing a “stop rudder inputs” warning modification.
Both FedEx and UPS asked the FAA not to issue the AD, claiming the cost was excessive for the benefit derived. UPS said its flightcrews operate the airplanes in a manner that would not warrant the need for the proposed systems, while FedEx said its current flightcrew training practices have ensured elimination of excessive rudder pedal inputs on company A300-600 and A310 series airplanes.