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FAA describes changes to 737 rudders

Boeing 737
Boeing 737  

March 11, 1999
Web posted at: 8:41 p.m. EST (0141 GMT)

From CNN Correspondent Carl Rochelle

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Federal Aviation Administration, seeking to blunt expected recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board for major changes in the rudder systems of 737 jetliners, briefed reporters Thursday on three steps it has taken to deal with problems experienced with those planes:

  • a redesign of the rudder power control unit so it cannot accidentally reverse the rudder;

  • changes to restrict rudder movement to avert the possibility the rudder could cause the plane to roll over;

  • new flight crew training and procedures instituted along with the airlines.

The NTSB has scheduled a public meeting next week to deliberate and issue its final report on the crash of a USAir (now USAirways) 737 in September 1994 near Pittsburgh that killed all 132 people on board.

A draft of the Safety Board report indicates NTSB will recommend major changes in the rudder systems on 737 jetliners.

The board will not comment on the draft beyond saying it is a fluid statement, very much in the process of being amended by members and staff.

However, those who follow the 737 rudder problems fully expect the board to recommend that the FAA order a major redesign of the rudder system.

FAA officials say there is no need for a major redesign because all known problems have been dealt with.

One official said that trying to re-engineer a new system into an existing plane could create new safety problems that have not even been considered at this time.

NTSB: Checklist helped avoid crash of troubled jet
February 24. 1999
FAA tightens safety criteria for older aircraft
October 1, 1998
FAA orders rudder-pedal inspections of Boeing aircraft
June 15, 1998

Federal Aviation Administration
National Transportation Safety Board
  • NTSB - Aviation
The Boeing Company
  • Boeing 737 family
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