2003-11-14 / Front Page

Safety Board Looks At AA Flight 587’s Lugs

By Howard Schwach
Safety Board Looks At AA Flight 587’s Lugs By Howard Schwach


The day after the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue in Belle Harbor, an investigator for the National Transport­ation Safety Board takes a close look at the lug assembly that held the tail to the fuselage of the fated aircraft. A new NTSB update report says that the agency is testing lugs to see if they can withstand the limits they were designed to stand up to. More tests will be done.The day after the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue in Belle Harbor, an investigator for the National Transport­ation Safety Board takes a close look at the lug assembly that held the tail to the fuselage of the fated aircraft. A new NTSB update report says that the agency is testing lugs to see if they can withstand the limits they were designed to stand up to. More tests will be done.

A failure in the lug that attached the tail to the fuselage may have led to the crash of the American Airlines Airbus A-300 into Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in a recent update to the crash investigation, said that it is testing the strength of lugs similar to the ones on the Airbus that crashed into Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue two years ago.

"We are testing the lugs to see if they hold up to the forces that they are designed to hold up to," says Ted Lopatkiewicz, a spokesperson for the agency. "We are also trying to determine if the rudder movement’s prior to the crash were the result of the pilot’s action or of a mechanical problem."

Investigators believe that rapid rudder movements caused the lug to snap just minutes after the airliner took off from John F. Kennedy Airport and was flying over the Rockaway peninsula.

According to the NTSB update, the first lug that was tested had never been used on an aircraft. It reportedly stood up to its billing.

"The lug we tested withstood one and a half times the maximum force that it would be expected to encounter in its lifetime before structurally failing," Lopatkiewicz said.


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