Airbus A310 loses rudder in flight

Mail & Guardian Online: What made an Airbus rudder snap in mid-air?

At 35 000 feet above the Caribbean, Air Transat flight 961 was heading home to Quebec with 270 passengers and crew. At 3.45pm last Sunday, the pilot noticed something very unusual. His Airbus A310′s rudder — a structure over 8m high — had fallen off and tumbled into the sea. In the world of aviation, the shock waves have yet to subside.

Mercifully, the crew was able to turn the plane around, and by steering it with their wing and tail flaps managed to land at their point of departure in Varadero, Cuba, without loss of life. But as Canadian investigators try to discover what caused this near catastrophe, the specialist internet bulletin boards used by pilots, accident investigators and engineers are buzzing.

So, should you and I be concerned?

Despite these and earlier assurances, some pilots remain sceptical. The Observer has learnt that after the 587 disaster, more than 20 American Airlines A300 pilots asked to be transferred to Boeings, although this meant months of retraining and loss of earnings. Some of those who contributed to pilots’ bulletin boards last week expressed anger at the European manufacturer in vehement terms. One wrote that having attended an Airbus briefing about 587, he had refused to let any of his family take an A300 or A310 and had paid extra to take a circuitous route on holiday purely to avoid them: “That is how convinced I am that there are significant problems associated with these aircraft.”…

Sounds like it.

Two photos of the tail, minus the rudder, here.

via Instapundit

Pacific Center Sued Over Tsunami Warning

In the “Excesses of Torts” column comes this:

Yahoo! News – Pacific Center Sued Over Tsunami Warning Sat Mar 12,10:49 PM ET

HONOLULU – Tsunami survivors and relatives of victims have sued the federal agency that operates the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, alleging the center did not do enough to warn people about the disaster.

The lawsuit was filed last week in New York federal court by a plaintiffs group that includes at least 58 European survivors and family members of victims.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center monitors seismic and ocean conditions in the Pacific Basin and issues warnings to member nations. It is based on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

NOAA officials refused to comment on the complaint but have previously said the center was not set up to warn nations outside the Pacific rim.

A Dec. 26 earthquake caused the massive tsunami that killed at least 166,000 people in 11 countries on the Indian Ocean.

Uuh, does the NOAA have responsibility for the World? What’s the responsibility of the NOAA to non-US citizens in foreign countries?

This is just ‘blame the USA first’ crud. Apparently, nothing in the world can now happen that isn’t the fault of the US.