The Airbus problem

The number of U.S. airliners (Airbus 330s) with malfunctioning speed systems is up to 12, the Associated Press reports today. All of them involve Airbus jets operated by Northwest Airlines.

Transportation officials are investigating a series of similar malfunctions. The recent discovery was described by people close to that investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

If pilots don’t know how fast they’re flying — and apparently the pilots on these flights didn’t — there’s a chance the jets could break apart by exceeding their structural limits. That is believed to have been a possible contributor to the Air France crash off the coast of Brazil in June.

Northwest and US Airways are the only (U.S.) airlines operating Airbus (330) jets.

  • Mike

    US Airways and Northwest are the only two airlines operating Airbus aircraft? I find that hard to believe. Did you mean U.S. Air carriers?

  • Bob Collins

    Yes.

  • bobbydole

    This is pretty freaky..

    Who/How is it decides when to ground planes because of something like this?

  • Tyler

    The FAA, I would think.

  • Bob Collins

    I don’t believe there’s been any FAA order, however, Airbus has ordered airlines to replace the sensors with one from a US manufacturer.

  • Danny

    Frontier, United, and JetBlue all fly Airbus jets They have A319s and 320s. (There are probably other airlines too, I’m too lazy to check.)

    USAirways and Northwest are the only US Carriers that have A330s in their fleets.

  • Amir

    I won’t personally fly in an Airbus product. There have been too many failures of engineering in their products for my tastes. The strictly fly-by-wire controls have redundancy, yes, but what happens when your data is corrupt? You go into a state of “Alternate Law”. Not fun. I think I’ll stick with what works: hydraulically-assisted control surfaces, in the event of complete hydraulic failure, still somewhat controllable. The extreme example of this would be Sioux City, Iowa, where the pilots “rewrote the book” as they went, using differential thrust to steer their stricken DC10 to a crash landing that many were able to survive.

    Airbus products are TOO computer-dependent. If the computers give up, there is no manual backup. You’re essentially riding in a plastic and metal coffin.

    If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going!