Northwest flight may have had similar problems as doomed Air France jet

As investigators continue to focus on faulty airspeed indicators as the cause of the Air France crash off the coast of Brazil, the National Transportation Safety Board says a Northwest Airlines Airbus 330 may have had a similar problem.

In a release late Thursday, the NTSB said the Northwest jet was flying between Hong Kong and Tokyo on Tuesday when it apparently had faulty readings for airspeed and altittude. “The aircraft landed safely in Tokyo; no injuries or damage was reported. Data recorder information, Aircraft Condition Monitoring System messages, crew statements and weather information are being collected by NTSB investigators,” the release said.

Investigators in the Air France case are trying to determine if icing on the external speed sensors called — called pitot tubes — caused incorrect airspeed readings and allowed the crew to fly the plane far beyond its capability to to withstand an in-flight break-up.

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