Question for A300 Capt


Well-Known Member
A300 Capt:
I caught the last 1/2 hour of a TLC program the other night on the AA A300 crash in Queens. I was wondering what some of your views were on that accident. Did you go over that in the simulator? It looked like Airbus blamed the F/O initially but the pilots couldn't understand how the plane could have broken apart. In the end the program stated that after a few months, ALL manufacturers of commercial A/C came out with a warning about rudder reversal(?) and/or full rudder deflection once airborne(something like that). The show said that millions of lives have been risked over the years because no pilots were ever warned of this(doesn't sound like an Airbus problem then).
Were you nervous to fly the Airbus right after this accident? I know some AA pilots either didn't trust the plane or AAs inspection process. I know you are not a big fan of the A300. It does have a cool flight deck though. Thanks.

i saw that also. they said the plane was in the wake of another aircraft and the pilot executed more than 2 full deflections of the rudder to compensate for turbulance. after that stress caused the tail seperated. also remember them saying something that the AB was tested to no more than 2 full deflections of the rudder in a row, anything beyond that might cause damage to the airframe. they also mentioned that the AirBus automatically compensates the rudder deflection according to the speed of the aircraft...anyone know any specifics about this feature? is it noticable in the pedals (ie. less or more travel for less or more deflection of the rudder)? the program mentioned that this feature might have played a part in the accident.
Limiting the deflection of the rudder in flight comes from the yaw damper. I believe it cuts a "full" deflection down to 6 degrees either way. The forces become unbearably high when a full deflection is made at high speeds. Think about are basically swinging the plane back and forth with 200,000 lbs concentrated on this little point. So with cyclical forces of this magnitude being applied it's no wonder that puppy snapped off. There have to be better reinforcements for the attachments, but we shall wait and see.

Yes, the incident was discussed during recurrent training. Most pilots are under the believe that if you are at, or below Va, that you can apply full deflection to the flight controls in any direction and the aircraft will stall before structural damage is done. This is true in one direction but you can't apply full deflection in the opposite direction after the first application. This apparently was a little known fact to most aircrews until the AA accident.

I, along with other airline crews, were privy to detailed analysis of the accident and potential cause. We were trained on how to avoid such situations and a more in-dept knowledge of the rudder system.

I have my own personal opinion about the events leading up to and whether or not the crew, Airbus, or both were liable. I'll keep those thoughts private on this public forum.

I'm not a big fan of "older" Aibus design for many reasons. I can't speak for the newer generation Airbuses since I've never flown nor been in one. No, I don't worry about the tail coming off or any other structural failure associated with Airbus or Boeing.
Since the AA crash, we've been getting a lot of attention to roll upset recovery in the sim. We'll get put right behind a heavy and get turned upside down in no time flying through the wake. Our recovery technique is to recover smoothly with aileron and not as much rudder. This was my first real exposure to training for wake like that. Did they used to teach rudder to recover? Is that why they had such a deflection?