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AA 587

Reader comment on item: Why Did American Airlines 587 Crash?

Submitted by Dave K (Israel), Aug 30, 2004 at 08:14

Dr. Pipes,

I disagree with the possibility that this plane was brought down by a terrorist event. I have several friends in the FAA who have told me about the crash (I work in aerospace also). The cause was due to with the composite structure of the Airbus plane and the difficulty in detecting failure between the the laminates. I won't bore you with lengthy technical items.

However, the report is highly political becuase if the FAA were to publicly declare that the aircraft in question had a major design flaw, it would ground the aircraft probably worldwide. The Airbus - Boeing trade war would really go full tilt since we'd be accused of grounding the planes for political (i.e. to get back at France) and economic reasons.

This is still a scary thought. Composites are nice but they are demanding and very hard to routinely inspect and tend to fail catastrophically rather than partially. Remember the Boeing 737-200 that used bonding rather than riveting and delaminated in Hawaii? Later models of the 737 used more rivets.

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