The World According To Bob

Bob Allen is a philosopher and cyber libertarian. He advocates for the basic human rights of men. Bob has learned to cut through the political nonsense, the propaganda hate, the surface discourse, and talk about the underlying metamessage that the front is hiding. Bob tells it like it is and lets the chips fall where they may. If you like what you read be sure to bookmark this blog and share it with your friends.

Location: United States

You can't make wrong into right by doing wrong more effectively. It's time for real MEN to stand up and take back our families, our society, and our self respect. It is not a crime to be born a man. It is not a crime to act manly.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Airbus Hasn't Fixed its Vertical Stabilizer

On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 ran into air turbulence shortly after taking off from Kennedy International Airport. The vertical stabilizer broke off from a combination of the air turbulence and pilot attempts to compensate for the turbulence.. The Airbus A300 crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens; a borough of New York City. The crash killed all 260 people in the plane and 5 people on the ground. The broken vertical stabilizer was found in the bay a few miles before the airplane hit the ground. When the vertical stabilizer came off the plane turned sideways, its engines broke off, and all control was lost.

AA vertical Stabukuzer
American Airlines Airbus A300 Vertical Stabilizer
being lifted out of NY harbor

After some investigation and a great deal of looking the other way, aviation authorities blamed the dead pilot for over correcting, using too much rudder peddle during turbulence, and decided not to fix the obvious structural problem with ALL Airbus A300 aircraft. Grounding the fleet to correct a major structural defect would be very expensive and politically incorrect. See Wikipedia Article on Flight 587

It is generally unacceptable for an airplane to come apart in mid flight from air turbulence. It is unacceptable for an airplane to come apart in mid-flight from pilot over controlling the rudder. It is especially unacceptable when the structural failure kills 265 men, women, and children.

The tail structure of the Airbus A300 is made of carbon fiber and plastic. Its structural and fatigue characteristics should be classified as “experimental.” The death of 265 people in Queens, NYC, on November 12, 2001 demonstrated clearly to anyone with half a brain that the plastic tail of the A300 is not strong enough to be trusted with the lives of passengers.

Instead of redesigning and strengthening the plastic vertical stabilizers, Airbus used the same design on its enlarged A330 model. If the vertical stabilizer is not strong enough for the A300, it clearly is even more dangerous on the enlarged A330 mode. But fixing bad design costs money and its only the lives of passengers that is at stake. Airbus got away with it until last week.

Air France A330
Air France A330 (note paint on tail)

On May 31, 2008, Air France Flight 440, an Airbus A330, ran into some turbulence en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Paris, France. Wikipedia Article The vertical stabilizer broke off. Flight 440 was traveling at high altitude and high speed when it lost all directional control. When the plane turns sideways at high speed, wind forces rip it to pieces. It dumped bodies and shreds of cabin with floating insulation over a wide area. Once again, the broken vertical stabilizer has been found floating some miles away. This time only 228 people were killed. See Yahoo Story: Crews find vertical stabilizer in Air France crash

APTOPIX Brazil Plane
Brazilian Navy recovers Air France vertical stabilizer from Atlantic.

If you read the Yahoo article or any other major media report you understand that they KNOW the plane is not structurally sound. In the Yahoo report they say that an error such as a minor data input glitch fed to the computer can cause major structural failure which kills all the passengers. They KNOW that the structure is not strong enough to survive turbulence and/or computer error or pilot error. They programmed the computer to limit pilot access to rudder control, but they did not make the plane strong enough to hold together when anything goes wrong. They KNOW that a small error will cause the structure to fail with loss of all life on board. That is just not acceptable.

The Airbus A300 and A330 design has an obvious structural flaw that comes apart and kills all the passengers when mid air turbulence is encountered. They are constructed out of cheap light weight plastic parts that are only strong enough to survive in calm air. They save money on every flight, but risk killing the passengers and crew whenever turbulent air is encountered. The Airbus A300 and A330 is UNSAFE to fly.

All A300 and A330 planes should be immediately grounded until major structural changes are made.

In the mean time, if you are planning to fly anywhere,

DO NOT FLY on an A330 or A300.

Update June 11, 2009

News stories all focus on inconsistent speed data from the 3 pitot tubes. Automatic trouble transmissions for the ill fated A330 began with notification of inconsistent air speed readings. Bob notes that airplanes tend to turn sideways, or spin horizontally, after the vertical stabilizer breaks off. Pitot tubes on an airplane going sideways, or in a flat spin, will give wildly changing data. There is a human tendency to blame the instruments when they don't give the reading we want to see. Three separate pitot tubes are unlikely to all fail at the same time. Rather than blaming the pitot tubes, the investigative authorities should look at what causes perfectly good pitot tubes to transmit strange speed readings. The answer is that pitot tubes only work well going frontward. When you turn the plane sideways, the air currents on each pitot tube will vary according to the angle of motion and its place on the plane. Turning sideways will also cause the wings to come off and the cabin to break up dumping passengers into the night sky to fall into the ocean. The pitot tubes worked properly, they gave accurate data from an airplane turning sideways.

All A300 and A330 planes should be immediately grounded until major structural changes are made.

In the mean time, if you are planning to fly anywhere,

DO NOT FLY on an A330 or A300.

Update June 12, 2009

Bob has found other sources who also demand a through review and repair of the Airbus A300/A330 airframe. Here is a site which was unsatisfied that nothing had been done to address structural failure of the vertical stabilizer after AA flight 587 after 5 years.

Here is another web site detailing the near crash of another Airbus A300. On May 12, 1997, American Airlines A300-605 was involved in a near-crash near West Palm Beach, FL. On that occasion the plane's vertical stabilizer delaminated near the attachment bolts that keep it fastened to the rest of the airplane. On flight 903 the vertical stabilizer began to delaminate (fail) from high stress near the attachment points, but the stress backed off before it failed entirely. The pilot managed to recover from a stall and land safely. That delamination should have been a big red flag for air safety officials.

In 2003 USATODAY published this article and complained that American Flight 587 would have been prevented if safety officials had learned the lessons of the structural problems found on Flight 903 in 1997. Now we have a 3rd similar failure, hundreds more dead people, and still they won't even talk about it. Is money more precious than hundreds of dead?

The FAA, NTSB, European authorities, Airbus and even pilot unions turn the other way because fixing the problem would be expensive, and therefore a political hot potato. Its only dead passengers after all, and then only a plane load every few years. Air safety authorities knew or should have known after flight 903 in 1997 that the A300/A330 vertical stabilizer is unsafe to fly. They have looked the other way while passengers die. They continue to point every direction but the structural defect that is killing so many people.

DO NOT FLY on an A330 or A300.

Update July 1, 2009

A crashed Yemeni Airbus A310 ran into air turbulence as it approached its destination, the island of Comoros in the Indian Ocean east of Africa. The death toll is 152 passengers -- only a teenage girl apparently survived. The flight originated in France with a stop in Yemen.

News media quote air safety officials cautioning us not to notice the man behind the curtain. See Washington Post report.

It is too soon to get photos of the wreckage from the plane. Bet on the vertical stabilizer falling off.

Bob has learned that an Air New Zealand Airbus 320 Crashed into the Mediterranean on a test flight last November 27, 2008, killing the pilots and engineers on board. Once again the apparent cause was the common vertical stabilizer shared by the A300/A310/A320/A330.

Air NZ Airbus tail
Airbus 320 tail from NZ plane.

Airbus knows exactly why their planes are falling out of the sky killing all on board. Transportation safety officials know too. But they do nothing about it. It is politically incorrect to blame Airbus for their unsafe design.

Reports on the NZ Airbus crash are here.

Times On-line story on the NZ Airbus. Blame the pilots. Read between the lines of the official story. The vertical stabilizer comes off. The plane skews sideways and begins a dutch roll into the ocean. Pilots scream as they die.

A list of the dead pilots and engineers is here

Do not fly on an Airbus A300/A330 until and unless the tail structure is corrected.

Update May 28, 2011

The flight recorders from Air France flight have been recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic. The flight data recorder reveals a lot of strange stalls and pilots trying desperately to control the stricken airplane. All the data is consistent with a plane turning sideways and going into a classic swept wing stall. When wings angle aft, any yaw causes one wing to square up and increase lift, while the other wing turns parallel to the wind and loses lift. Once the vertical stabilizer fell off, there was nothing that the pilots could do about the pending crash. It took 4 minutes for the terrified passengers to die when it hit the Atlantic.

UPDATE July 30, 2011

International "safety" authorities do their job of protecting financial profits of Airbus by blaming the dead pilots for the crash of Flight 447. “Pilot error” is the “official” excuse for another plane load of passengers killed by the known structural defect of the Airbus A-3xx vertical stabilizer.

Airbus excusers want us to believe that Air France pilots were so incompetent, and "poorly trained," that they pulled the nose up after a stall warning rather than nosing down. Putting the nose down to recover from a stall is just about the first thing EVERY pilot learns. The training is repeated in every certification and recertification. It is impossible to believe that any two pilots would put the nose up rather than down. What is apparent is that pitot tubes and flight data from a plane flying sideways and fluttering is confused. Air speed and stall data is wrong. Once the vertical stabilizer breaks off the nose goes up, down, and sideways, and there is nothing at all the pilots can do.

LA Times recites offical excuses.
Pilot error blamed in Air France crash
The pilots could have saved Flight 447, which killed all 228 aboard when it plunged into the Atlantic two years ago, but lacked sufficient training, a French air investigation concludes. Air France defends its crew's actions.

Bob is not the only voice who will tell the truth about serious structural failure of the Airbus A-3xx that kills plane loads of passengers when the vertical stabilizer falls off. All the pilots and airline industry officials known the truth.

Read Christian Science Monitor article
Rudder could be cause of Air France crash, pilots and experts say
There's been a pattern of irregularities linked to the tail fin, but Airbus says it's too soon to know
By Alexandra Marks, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / June 19, 2009

New York: As they work to unravel the mystery of Air France Flight 447, aviation analysts and pilots are now urging investigators to focus attention on the plane's tail fin, known as the vertical stabilizer, in addition to the design of the Airbus's computerized flight controls.

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Anonymous Rash said...

I flew on one once, probably twice. Scary.

June 09, 2009 2:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, How in the world are you so knowledgeable on subjects like this? That is really quite amazing.

June 09, 2009 2:28 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
Bob spent several years working in structural and fatigue testing of commercial airliners for a major airplane manufacturer. The other manufacturer had a long history of building military planes that would come home shot so full of holes they looked like a sponge with big pieces missing. They took pride in building a plane so strong and robust that it was "fail safe." Nothing the pilot did short of hitting the ground would break the plane.

In contrast, the Airbus A330 tail fin comes apart and kills everyone on board if the plane hits air turbulence, if the computer has bad data or a computer glitch, or if the pilot hits the rudder peddle too hard.

The rudder peddle has no "feel" so the pilot can go all the way down (only about 2 inches) without knowing he's even stressing anything. That's not a safe system either.

The fundamental problem is the tail structure just is not strong enough to be flying passengers. That is a major structural defect which renders the A330 unsafe to fly.

June 09, 2009 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They are constructed out of cheap light weight plastic parts that are only strong enough to survive in calm air."
Obviously NOT true, as many, many Airbus flights have arrived safely over the years in all kinds of weather. It may be true that the design of said parts is not strong enough to hold up to massive turbulence, and if so, that is a serious problem. But to refer to carbon fiber assemblies as "cheap light weight plastic parts", is hogwash, as shown by the astounding success of plastic-composite aircraft such as Rutan's Voyager (flew around the Earth w/o refueling) and SpaceShipOne (the first privately-constructed aircraft to fly into space).

June 09, 2009 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say Bob, were you around for the Civil Rights stuff, desegregating the schools, legalizing interracial marriage and all that?

June 10, 2009 1:18 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
Bob lived on the west coast of the US during the Martin Luther King marches, etc. We didn't have segregated schools or other facilities where Bob lived. We read about it in the newspapers.

June 10, 2009 2:19 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous: (June 09, 2009 11:31 PM)
Regardless of how expensive the cheap plastic parts are to make, or what other planes they have been used on, a vertical stabilizer that sometimes breaks off and kills everyone on board the plane is not safe for passenger service.
The Airbus A300 and A330 fleet should be grounded until it is fixed.

June 10, 2009 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob is no expert on planes.

June 10, 2009 5:19 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
You don't have to be an expert on planes to understand that a plane with a tail that occasionally breaks off and kills all the passengers is NOT SAFE for flying passengers. It doesn't matter what specific criteria related to air turbulence precipitates the tail to break off. If the plane's tail occasionally breaks off and kills all the passengers, its not safe to fly passengers.

June 10, 2009 7:08 PM  
Anonymous JC said...

A couple things jump out of this story in my view. Many all metal airliners have been upset and nearly crashed and in fact crashed and the verticle stabilizer did not depart the airframe until it it the ground. That has not been the case now TWICE with carbon fiber airbus verticle stabilizers. That needs to be looked into as there are a lot of airbus liners in service and the 777 also has such a tail and the 787 will be made out of the stuff. No assumptions .... just needs to be looked at with care.

June 10, 2009 7:46 PM  
Anonymous JC said...

Before I hear about the above ..... yes, there was one failure in flight of a verticle stabilizer by on a BAC 111 over NY State 4 decades ago. They too flew into a thunder storm. The BAC no longer is in use and was generally considered to be built without adequate strength to save weight in light of the low power engines of that era. I flew on it many times.

June 10, 2009 7:51 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to JC:
Perhaps you are referring to Braniff flight 250 which crashed into a field in Nebraska in 1966. From doing a brief research into the BAC 1-11, that is the only structural failure crash I could find. Flight 250 flew into "rolling" turbulence (similar to a tornado) which exceeded design structural limits. The investigation recommended review of standard strength requirements for aircraft.

This is the second A300/A330 tail that broke off in turbulence that doesn't appear to be "extreme" such as a "rolling" tornado condition. Airline passengers should not be subject to some random crash risk whenever some turbulence condition is encountered. The structure of the tail is shown not to be strong enough for flying commercial air transport.

June 10, 2009 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By now everyone has probably heard this, but late last night on the news I had heard that there were two terrorist suspects aboard this plane?

June 11, 2009 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, You are right on with "Airbus Hasn't Fixed its Vertical Stabilizer" The De Havilland Comet
was another graveyard mentality design.

June 11, 2009 8:17 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous (June 11, 2009 7:11 AM):
That terrorist story was speculation reported yesterday. The names of two passengers were similar to names on the terrorist watch list, but the passengers turned out to be different people, not the suspected terrorists.

June 11, 2009 8:35 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous (June 11, 2009 8:35 AM):

Problems with the Comet were design flaws due to poor understanding of material properties in a new environment, aluminum and "sonic fatigue." They lost some airplanes before they figured out what was happening and redesigned the critical areas. Seems that de Havilland also designed the BAC 1-11 mentioned in another comment.

The history of the Comet is similar to the history of the A300/A330. The engineers are working with a new material that was not understood well enough in this application. They did not make it strong enough to survive air turbulence situations. In some reoccurring flight situations it fails and kills all the passengers. Like the Comet, the Airbus A300/A330 is unsafe to fly until it is redesigned and fixed.

June 11, 2009 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spoke with an American Airlines pilot after the NY Airbus crash. He told me the composite vertical stabilizer is a risk and should at least have metal in the tail's center for reinforment. Metal bends where plastic breaks - it's that simple. He said other AA pilots were very concerned and would rather fly metal planes. Thank you for addressing this important problem. I'm flying all metal planes from now on!

June 11, 2009 11:50 PM  
Anonymous I-dont-want-to-die said...

hmm. at first I thought Bob was just Airbus-bashing like the yankees and rosbeefs usually do (that is very annoying because usually no arguments come, except "I don't like computers" from older pilots).
But then I did some reading, and while Airbus planes, even the A300 or A330 have good safety stats, it seems the vertical stabilizer is a weak spot.

There are about 600 A300 and over 1000 A330 flying.
The stat still looks good. 2 failures on 1600 planes.
Also consider the first A300 were delivered in 1974.
So, while the weakness is probably there, it doesn't seem to be something that we should be hysterical about.
Boeing had it's own (other) problems with designs.

Bob: what about the A340? is that one safe?

June 12, 2009 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They say every 2 seconds an Airbus takes off somewhere in the world. This makes roughly 15 Million flights per year. Since the suspected planes are the A300 and A330 models, let's say boldly there are 10 Million flights involving these models every 2 years. Let's suppose these models are implicated in 1 fatal crash every 2 years. This makes 1 fatal accident per 10 Million journeys. It is acceptable for many people. Besides who has the luxury of choosing the type of aircraft for a specific destination. You just go to the travel agency and book your flight. Even the travel agencies don't know which aircraft the airline uses for that flight. Most of the airlines have mixed fleets and any model can be allocated any time for a given flight, and to make matters worse, it can be changed at the last minute.
Your advice is not realistic.....

June 12, 2009 1:53 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to I-dont-want-to-die:
I'm not an expert on the design details of various Airbus models. If the A340 shares a common tail design with the A300 and A330 then it should also be grounded until fixed.

One of the problems with the plastic structure is that periodic inspections have no technology to detect delamination and fractures inside the plastic. Tools like "mangnaflux" and ultrasound has been used to detect invisible cracks in aluminum for decades, but it doesn't work on the new plastic planes. Some evidence suggests that AA Flight 587 may have suffered structural crack damage, similar to Flight 903, PRIOR to the fatal day, but the damage was not detected.

This technology problem also applies to Boeing's plastic planes. Technical review should include their design as well, but they haven't had a history of tails breaking off in mid-flight.

For whatever reason, an airplane that once in a while just breaks off and falls to earth killing all passengers is not acceptable. The fleet should be grounded until the design is reviewed and corrected.

June 12, 2009 2:06 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous: (June 12, 2009 1:53 PM)
Are you good at playing Russian Roulette? That's what you say you want to play on your vacation.

You can tell your travel agent not to book any flights on Airbus A330 or A300. The airline data gives them the type of equipment scheduled. You may get switched to a different airline. Its not hard to do.

June 12, 2009 2:10 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous: (Fri Jun 12 22:45:56 2009)
Your comment is off topic for this blog. See Bob's rules for comments on the left column.

Your question would be better placed on another men's discussion forum such as

June 12, 2009 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck then it must be a duck tail

June 12, 2009 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is off-topic from airplanes, but what do you think of birth control? I work with a lot of women and so many of them say they're not ready for children yet or that they don't want any at all. Most of them seem to want to go to college and have careers, to make partner in the firm and the same kind of things men want. I guess nobody ought to have kids if they don't want them but women are the only ones who can give birth to them. If women don't want to be mothers, is there a future for the white race? Texas is already majority Latino and many others states are going the same way. Maybe women never wanted the wife/mother thing but didn't have a choice, but now that they have one they seem to be choosing mostly not to have children.

June 13, 2009 2:29 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
That is off topic. Feminism has conducted a war on marriage and families for more than a century. White (feminist) populations world wide are now breeding at extinction rates.

Secondly, the only reason why females have had "the pill" for half a century while men have not is because of almost total sexist discrimination in funding for birth control research and health needs. Females have gotten all the funding, and now have virtually total control over reproduction and families. The "pill for men" is currently being prevented for feminist political reasons. Giving equal power to men is anti-feminist.

Feminism is the destruction of any society, and breeding it to extinction is only one of the ways it destroys.

June 13, 2009 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bob,

While I agree there's a design flaw in the vertical stabilizer attachment in the Airbus models, it's not it's correct to state that there aren't any non-destructive testing methods that can detect flaws in composite structures. Laser interferometry techniques work quite well, but are expensive and require removal of the stabilizer from the airframe, so it doesn't happen.

In terms of plain speaking, everybody needs to understand that as far as design, testing, maintenance, pilot authority, it's just a cost issue.... Vote with your $$$$ and don't fly planes you don't think are safe (or comfortable for that matter)and the economics will change it for you.

June 14, 2009 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They are constructed out of cheap light weight plastic parts that..."

The irony is that these parts are not "cheap" so to speak. Carbon fiber components are very expensive as a general rule in ANY industry from aviation to bicycles. It seems that Airbus is trying to protect its design or the product of a closley related vendor. There's a battle going on that claims carbon fiber is stronger than steel (certainly stronger than aviation grade aluminum), but the issue isn't just in strength but in fatigue characteristics. Carbon fiber fails in a different way than metal. Inspections could reveal aging and stressed aluminum parts whereas carbon fiber just looks fine isn't, at which point it fails totally. Just my two cents...

June 15, 2009 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's been one CONFIRMED failure of a vertical stabilizer on an Airbus. How many crashes occurred because of the Boeing 737 rudder PCA? How many 737 cone bolts broke that caused a failure of the engine mounts?

And if you don't like "plastic" airplanes stay away from Boeing's 787.

June 15, 2009 2:26 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
Counting AA Flight 903 there have been 3 vertical stabilizer failures, 2 of which killed all the people on board.

In your Boeing examples, the problems were redesigned, repaired, and/or replaced as soon as the problem was identified. It has now been 10 years since everyone has known that the Airbus vertical stabilizer is not strong enough to hang together during unusual turbulence, and they have done NOTHING to fix the problem. Really big difference.

June 15, 2009 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Bob. I suspected the vertical stabilizer immediately after the Air France plane went down. As an engineer, I find this totally unacceptable. As far as the 787 goes, although it uses a lot of carbon fiber (and some fiberglass), it relies on Aluminum and Titanium for a structural base, unlike the attachment method employed by Airbus.

June 16, 2009 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Rash said...

I don't know if this has been mentioned here before, but on the subject of what not to fly, do not travel with Air New Zealand, British Airways or Qantas:

June 19, 2009 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Turtlejack said...

Bob, you are right-on in your assessment of the structural deficiencies regarding use of composite materials as primary stress members in Airbus aircraft.

To all those that continue to defend Airbus A300 and A330 aircraft - take your family on their next vacation on those aircraft. For me - I'll stick with Boeing.

June 19, 2009 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read about the Air Transat A310 (same empenage assy as A300). The aircraft lost its rudder due to delamination. Make up your own mind.

06 MAR 2005
Time: 03:15
Type: Airbus A310-308ET
Operator: Air Transat
Registration: C-GPAT
C/n / msn: 597
First flight: 1991-09-24 (13 years 6 months)
Total airframe hrs: 49224
Cycles: 13444
Engines: 2 General Electric CF6-80C2A8
Crew: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 9
Passengers: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 262
Total: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 271
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location: near Varadero (Cuba)

June 20, 2009 3:43 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
Thank you for the info on the A310 rudder failure. I checked out the crash investigation report.

"The aircraft took off from Varadero with a pre-existing disbond or an in-plane core fracture damage to the rudder, caused by either a discrete event, but not a blunt impact, or a weak bond at the z-section of the left side panel. This damage deteriorated in flight, ultimately resulting in the loss of the rudder.
2. The manufacturer's recommended inspection program for the aircraft was not adequate to detect all rudder defects; the damage may have been present for many flights before the occurrence flight."

Obviously, any Airbus with the plastic tail section is unsafe to fly. They delaminate and fracture. They do not have adequate inspection methods to determine if they are flying with increasingly dangerous delamination condition -- as reported in this investigation.

Air safety need to immediatly ground all Airbus A series planes until they can be made safe for the public.

June 20, 2009 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Bob, I believe the vertical stabilizer snapped off first, causing the plane to yaw severely side to side (a Dutch roll) or go into a flat spin. Either motion would cause the pitot tubes, on opposite sides of the plane, to have different air pressure at any particular time, this would explain the disparity in speed readings. Even though the pitots have problems, I don't think they iced up in this case, as the combination weather conditions, although cold enough, don't add up to icing in that particular flight path. Airbus will be more than happy to let the cause of the crash remain a mystery, and just blame it on the pilots, as they usually do, or blame the relatively inexpensive to replace pitot tubes. Re-designing, and retrofitting of almost all of their aircraft with a new tail, plus, grounding the whole fleet, until that happens, would cost much more than just their insurance premiums going up as a result of the crash. Let's hope the black boxes are found, but Airbus brings so much money into the EU, that I wonder if France is really giving it much effort to find the black boxes. As we've seen of late, there's a lot of sociopaths running things.

June 21, 2009 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I understand, the vertical stabilizer is carbon fiber/epoxy composite. This is exceptionally light and strong, and when new would be adequate. However, thermal cycling can result in loss of strength. Aircraft fly at -50c and sit on the ground in tropical climates at over 40c. Weakening of attachments can result from compression set due to the difference in thermal response (expansion) of plastic versus metal components. Bottom line is that the fins might be strong on a new plane but are falling off when older and subject to stress.

June 23, 2009 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another airbus goes down in indian ocean. with a big A310 on its tail. I don't think any one should fly Airbus if thats the way they treat their passangers. May Bob live forever!

June 30, 2009 9:21 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
I saw that news article. They hit air turbulence while approaching their destination. Look for a large floating vertical stabilizer in the Indian Ocean.

June 30, 2009 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Another crash happened this year with an A320. Very low profile since it was a maintenance flight and just the crew perished. But there it was: The tail floating in the mediterranean, with the same chracteristic nick out of the bottom end of the rudder.

July 01, 2009 3:42 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Another crash happened this year with an A320. Very low profile since it was a maintenance flight and just the crew perished. But there it was: The tail floating in the mediterranean, with the same chracteristic nick out of the bottom end of the rudder.

July 01, 2009 3:43 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to Peter:
Thanks for that crash report. I added it as an Update to the main article, along with a photo of the vertical stabilizer floating in the Med.

July 01, 2009 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Hey Bob, Actually,The Air New Zealand crash of the Airbus 320 was in late November last year. I saw the picture in the London Times. Eventually, the pilots were blamed in true Airbus fashion. You have to walk on eggshells while you're flying an Airbus. Their motto should be: Airbus- Fragile, handle with care! Here's the link:

July 01, 2009 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob. On June 10, JC indicated the Boeing 777 has anall-composite vertical stabilizer similar to Airbus A3XX. Is this so? And what about tha Airbus A380 ? I think we need to know, please.

July 10, 2009 1:23 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
Bob has never said that it is impossible to produce an adequate vertical stabilizer made from plastic composite. The new Boeing "Dreamliner" has been delayed for years while structural engineers resolve structural problems with the composite. There are no known defective parts on Boeing models. On the other side, the Airbus A3XX is known to have a defective vertical stabilizer that comes off in turbulent flying. It could have been made strong enough, but it was not. The Airbus A3XX is known to be unsafe for flight.

July 10, 2009 6:17 AM  
Anonymous john daggett said...

i am so sorry but the french government know that the air bus series have a construction defect . the series should be grounded but the faa does not want to get involved. only after one of these air bus series would crash with a high profile person aboard will these planes be grounded.
please mr. obama have the guts to step in and please direct officials are air bus to change the construction along with the back up computers . one thing is certain change will only occur if a high profile person dies from a crash of the air bus series. these planes are unsafe. john daggett 717 bowen st. oshkosh, wisconsin 54901 usa

July 12, 2009 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comments here I see about DC10s with their recurrent 'blow out' cargo doors.
Took a while to get around to remedying that as I recall.
But then that was an American design and I detect a very pronounced bias in the other comments relating to European designs.

September 02, 2009 4:43 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
Bob has severely criticized the DC-10 in times prior to this Blog. Their biggest fault was a cheap design that wouldn't put automatic shutoff valves in the hydraulic systems when an engine fell off. Their cheap cost cutting killed a load of passengers at Chicago. As a result they fixed only the hydraulic system in the wings. A while later a center engine failed and they killed another hundred passengers.

The cheap piece of crap DC-10 is no longer manufactured and there are few left flying passengers.

Note that delivery of Boeing's "Dreamliner" have been delayed because they are addressing delamination problems with the plastic under stress. Airbus is flying theirs.

September 02, 2009 5:59 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hey Bob, Do us all a favor and stop confusing people about the material on the tail of the A300's. Carbon Graphite Composite is a very different material than plastic, just as particle board would be in correctly tagged as lumber. I think you would do much better in your campaign to make this clear. While you make very valid points I almost stopped reading and discounted everything you had to say because of this.

February 24, 2011 7:43 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Bob I wish you would stop referring to carbon graphite composite as is deliberately misleading and a slight on all Bob things. Its like calling particle board lumber. Particle board contains fiber, but that by no means makes it lumber does it? The same goes for carbon graphite composites, they use a polymer (multiple component molecule) agent to bind the graphite fibers together, but that is where the similarities end.

This alone made me struggle to seriously consider much of what you have said as not being heavily slanted with a hidden agenda of some sort.

February 24, 2011 7:51 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to "Bob":
Quibbling over which kind of plastic the Airbus plastic parts are made of does not make plastic into grandmother's fruitcake. Plastic parts are cheap and light, but they obviously aren't strong enough to fly safely.

February 24, 2011 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bob,

The sheer number of assumptions and misinterpretations of facts in your so-called "anaysis" is quite mind-boggling.

First off: AA587. You claim the fin broke because it 'wasn't strong enough'. That simply isn't true. Analysis showed that the fin broke at a point when it was subjected to a MUCH stronger force than what it was designed and certified for (and which is the same regardless of what material the fin is made of). The real issue was not the composite fin, but how it got to be subjected to those forces. It got subjected to them because the pilots did something they NEVER should have done, in ANY plane: kick the rudder repeatedly, in full flight, to recover from wake turbulence. AA trained its pilots to do this, despite having been told by BOTH Airbus AND Boeing that it was very dangerous. On the A300, the rudder control mechanism works in such a way that the degree of deflection is the same for any applied force at any speed, and that was seen as a contributing factor. On most other planes, it would've been more difficult to get the rudder to travel as far as was the case here.

It is in fact quite childish to claim the NTSB simply 'looked the other way' and blamed the pilot. Why would they do that? The NTSB has in the past repeatedly demanded changes to the designs of planes after accidents. The 737 rudder limiter being just one example. If it had been necessary to change the design of the A300, it would have been demanded.

Second: AF447. There is NO indication that the plane crashed because the fin broke off. The fact the fin was found in one piece floating in the water is meaningless: it is lighter than the metal parts, and will thus float, and it could just as easily have snapped off during the break-up of the plane as it came crashing down, or even on impact. Your claim it snapped off and CAUSED the plane to crash is nothing but speculation, and not backed up by anything. So much so that the investigators do not appear to even be seriously considering it as a reason for the crash. And no, that's not because they were bribed, are stupid or are trying to be 'politically correct' and looking the other way, it's because they know better than you.

FWIW, the same thing that happened on AA587 could not happen on the A330, because the A330's rudder controls are different than those of the A300.

Sorry to be so harsh, but it irritates me when people come up with these theories on things they really don't know much about, claiming to know better than the specialists, and chewing out anyone who dares disagree. Interesting how pretty much every one of these theories involves a conspiracy or cover-up of some kind in order to work.

This entire blog is nothing but pure speculation and scaremongering, and is not based in fact.

March 12, 2011 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I'm typing this on my mobile phone my answer will be limited.

I've been a pilot for over 20 years. Telling a pilot that he/she needs to limited their control input on any control surface even when deemed necessary by the pilot to recover or prevent departure of control in turbulance is ridiculious. This is obviously a design flaw with this airframe.

May 27, 2011 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Martin Bodo said...

Bob's correct for the most part.
Boeing tail structures have evolutionarily improved since WW2. You can see the similarities between DC3 and 787 rudder attachments. All Boeing ruder and stabilizer attachment points are machined Aluminum alloys. Aluminum tends to bend when overstressed. Airbus 3xx rudders, attachment points -and rear spars- are made entirely of composites. When heavily overstressed, composites shatter. I visited a Flordia aircraft boneyard where A310, 707 and 727 aircraft were chained down just after a 70kt gusting storm had whipped through. The Boeing tail structures showed light wrinkling. The Airbus rudder shattered at the lower attachment point, flew into trees and disintegrated. A dealer purchased the scrap which I am told was sent to Airbus. Yes, you can operate an Airbus at a 8 cents per passenger mile. That's because it's a lighter airframe than a Boeing. If it's not a Boeing, I'm not going. -Martin Bodo

June 23, 2011 3:39 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Thanks for providing that info, Mr. Bodo. A thunderstorm, some wind shear, and SNAP! The cheap plastic tail fin falls off. It doesn't take pilot error. It kills everyone on board.

Lying scum "safety" officials are covering up the problem to protect Airbus.

June 23, 2011 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, Bob, it seems to that what you're doing is simply believing whatever you want to believe, facts be damned. AA587 crashed because the fin was not strong enough.. because you say so. The investigation clearly proved that was not the case, yet you obviously know better than the specialists.

AF447 crashed for the same reason, again..because you say so, facts be damned. The fact that the investigators are not even focussing on it completely passes you by. Obviously, you yet again know better than the specialists.

It's quite telling that when I post a quite detailed rebuttal to your accusations a while ago (easily backed up by verifiable facts), you completely ignore it. Now, someone posts some anecdotal story, which can't be verified anywhere, and you immediately jump on it with a 'you raaawk' response? I mean seriously, the rudder flew off because of some wind? And you immediately believe that, no questions asked? Even more, you even blow it up to something even bigger, as in your 'you raaawk' response half an hour later it even became the tail FIN that blew off. Do you even know the difference?

That really does tell me all I need to know about your motives.

July 23, 2011 5:53 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
The facts, and the photos speak for themselves. What we need to question are your motives for denying the obvious.

July 23, 2011 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And exactly what 'facts' are those? Do you actually think a picture of a floating fin proves anything? It's been explained to you numerous times why the floating fin of AF447 is nowhere even near proof that the plane crashed because the fin broke off.

Tell me, exactly what makes you think you know better than the specialists? Why don't you answer that question, instead of completely ignoring the facts and going for that completely meaningless 'Look at the pictures' excuse?

What qualifications do you possess to know better what happened to these planes than the many, many people paid to examine the crash, all of whom have access to a LOT more info than you or me?

Why don't you answer those questions, Bob? Lord knows you've been doing your utmost to avoiding having to respond to everything posted here that contradicts your fantasy story...

As for my motives, they're very simple: I defend the truth, as found by EXPERTS, over the fantasies of an armchair 'investigator' whose main evidence consists of 'it's obvious' and 'look at the pictures'. I can't stand it when people who don't know much about a subject actually seriously try to 'prove' their theory and along the way completely ignore all the readily available evidence to the contrary. It's dishonest, and a real shame.

July 23, 2011 1:28 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to anonymous:
You are right. Bob has no motive to defend the financial success of Airbus at the cost of hundreds of human lives.

July 23, 2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to readers:
French "safety" officials did their jobs again, and blamed the dead pilots to save Airbus from having to fix their well known structural problems.

See the UPDATE July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Nico said...

Take a look at this documentary, from 2010. In it, there are good images of the tailfin as it is lifted onto the recovery boat (look at 05:55). In these images, it can clearly be seen that the part of the fuselage the fin is attached to is in fact still attached. This part of the A330 is not made out of composites. In other words, the composite structure of the fin is visibly intact. Simply comparing it to the fin of AA587 also confirms that the fin did not break off at the same spot.

This further supports the assertion that the plane was intact on impact, and that the fin only broke off as a result of this impact.

The documentary can be found here:

July 30, 2011 9:22 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to Nico:
If you look closely at that documentary, stop the view to show the vertical stabilizer, it is NOT the same vertical stabilizer shown in the photo published in the LA Times article linked on my update(an original photo from the crash scene). The video part has many differences and much more physical damage. For example the whole red stripe is still there in the original crash photo, but part of the red stripe is gone from the video reenactment. How deep does the rat hole go?

Even if it were the same vertical stabilizer, a small piece of connection material in ONE place does not mean that it was not ripped off in flight after the rest of the vertical stabilizer broke off.

Do you really believe the official story that trained pilots would pull up rather than down to avoid a stall? That's just about the first thing EVERY pilot learns. After the vertical stabilizer rips off in air turbulence (flying through a storm) the plane turns sideways and flutters like a leaf all the way to the bottom. There is NOTHING the pilots can do.

How many dead plane loads of passengers will it take for "safety" officials to start being honest?

July 30, 2011 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Nico said...

Dear Bob,

Not sure what you mean with your 'red stripe missing' comment, but in the images I'm looking at, the whole thing is clearly still there. Look at 05:47, adn you can clearly see the whole stripe, just like in the pictures on your blog. If you're referring to the image at 05:53, the only reason you can't see it there is because of the angle from which it was filmed: the rudder is turned as the fin's being hoisted out of the water, and so you can't see the side of it.

It's the same fin.

Furthermore, wht you see here isn't just 'a small piece of connection material', it's a major part of it. What is more, the damage to the fuselage part still attached does not support your theory it was torn off in flight, i.e. sideways, rather it suggests a tear back to front, like what you would expect on impact.

As far as believing the official report goes, I haven't personally heard the CVR recordings, but the transcripts I've read (example: unfortunately DO suggest the PF at the time the emergency started, the youngest and least experienced of the three, tried to pull up the nose. While yes, pilots lear to recover from a stall by lowering the nose, a combination of panic, a relatively inexperienced pilot, darkness, a thunderstorm, and loss of reliable flight data can be a deadly cocktail, and it wouldn't be the first time pilots did stupid things in such an instant. In fact, aviation history is littered with examples.

This has little to do with a lack of honesty:
-all the evidence clearly suggests the plane broke up on impact; -there is no event preceding the crash that could lead a pilot to kick the rudder repeatedly and enough to tear the fin off;
-the A330 doesn't have the same sensitive rudder controls of the A300, making your scenario even less likely.

July 30, 2011 10:40 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to Nico:
Of course pilots no longer "kick the rudder." In fact, Airbus pilots are scared to use the rudder for fear of the vertical stabilizer falling off.

Despite your disingenuous "blame the pilot" scenario, it is known that air turbulence or thunder storms have also caused vertical stabilizer failures in the A-3xx Airbus. The Air France plane hit air turbulence and broke he vertical stabilizer. Hundreds dead.

Note that your reenactment video claims that the Airbus hit the water at a high rate of speed in an upright position with the belly of the plane hitting the water first. That contention is inconsistent with their own quickly passed over contention that the vertical stabilizer was broken off in the crash. A high speed belly first landing would have pushed the vertical stabilizer through the fuselage, and caused compression breaks in its structure. It would not have ripped the vertical stabilizer off.

The pilots all know that Airbus A-3xx planes are not safe. They avoid using the rudder. They avoid thunderstorms. And they pray to avoid clear air turbulence. How many thousand more dead will it take to admit the truth?

July 30, 2011 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Nico said...


Kicking the rudder repeatedly as happened in AA587 isn't done anymore in any plane, and prior to AA587, was done ONLY at American Airlines, and even there pilots were not instructed to kick it repeatedly, just a single time. It was a faulty procedure, and has been corrected. The part in the accident that was blamed on Airbus as a contributory factor was not the strength of the fin (that was tested and shown to have performed well beyond Ultimate Load in the accident), but the sensitive rudder controls. In an A300-600, the rudder needs less input from the rudder pedals to deflect all the way the higher the speed of the aircraft. That is counter-intuitive for a pilot, who would expect the opposite to be the case.

Can you provide a source to back up your claim that weather has been responsible for fin failures in Airbuses? I can recall zero such instances, and for simple turbulence or weather to tear off a fin without excessive rudder input from a pilot, is completely unheard of.

BTW, since the investigation into this crash started, back in 2009, your theory has never been seriously put forward by any of the investigators, whether they were involved in this particular investigation or not. That includes independent investigators, who would have nothing to gain from any sort of cover-up the likes of which you're suggesting. And yet it is safe to assume that the possibility was looked at. However, early on in the investigation, it was ruled out.

So how do you explain the fact that your are all alone in pushing this thery?

July 30, 2011 12:56 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to Nico:
Yes, Government excusers have worked hard to deflect attention from the problem and Blame the Dead pilots in EVERY Airbus structural failure.

July 30, 2011 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Nico said...


Could you please answer some of the questions I have raised? In which cases have weather conditions caused a fin of an Airbus to fail? And how do you explain the total lack of support for your theory among aerospace professionals?

July 30, 2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note To Nico:
Air France Flight 440, for example.
There was a flight damaged but did not crash over the US back in the 1990s. Several others in Asia and Africa.

Also see the Christian Science Monitor link on the recent update for concern by Aerospace Professionals, or read the previous comments and other articles on The World According to Bob.

July 30, 2011 3:35 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Note to readers:
Please read Bob's Comment Rules on the left column of The World According to Bob before wasting time writing a comment.

August 15, 2011 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only fact in bobs report is that the rudder has no feel. the delamintion can be due to many things like poor maintainance or fatigue. the aa flight over new york where the tail broke was due to the firt officers full use of rudder in aposing directions 5 or six times(no structure can survive those forces. the af447 crash had absolutely nothing in any way to do with the stabiliser the tail fin was on the aircraft and working normaly until impact. the automation was lost whilst the aircraft was flying normaly and the actions of the copilot in pulling up stalled the plane and it went alost verticaly down with no noticable sidewards movement. it is very common for pilots in near stall situations to apply full thrust and pull up sharply as them stopthem decending.also like for like carbon compoistes are stronger and in no way can it be compared to

"cheap light weight plastic parts that are only strong enough to survive in calm air."
for three reasons

1)carbon composites are really not cheap however its made.

2)it is not made of plastic in any way, carbon composites consist of strands of carbon fiber held together by epoxy resin to create carbon fiber which is proven to be very strong.

3) if it can survive only in calm air how come airbusses are in use all over the world and none in the history of airbus has ever fallen off purely due to design flaw.

also if carbon fiber is in your opinion so weak then why has boeing now used it in the majority of its 787 including the tail fin and rudder

November 05, 2011 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay Mr. Bob thanks for all the information and the time you put into this research. I am a structural engineer and worked for aerospace companies. My opinion, this is a faulty design not just because of the choice of composite material for a lug connection over metallic alloys. This design is a single point failure and has no redundant load path, it's ludicrous to design an essential primary part that with its failure could lose the aircraft. Just plain stupid, again My opinion. I only fly Southwest when all possible.
Metallic allow is lot better choice for absorbing energy, when it comes to pure strength the weight ratio of composite to steel or aluminum is not that good. Composite is only good
For areas that stability is the essential driving design parameters and some high pure tension type loading. Holds true in this Vertical Tail lug design. Lug sees high bearing loads which are technically compression and shear-tear out stresses, these type of loads and designs should be made with high strength alloys.. Composite have good purpose on aircrafts but not on a single point failure lug design.


January 29, 2013 2:22 PM  
Blogger stace.d said...

It's time Airbus fixed the vertical tail stabilizer problem OR limit the speed. About 3 yrs ago we had a bad trip from tpa to lgw. Our plane did not arrive and another plane was sent. It arrive several hrs late, we tool off about 2am. The pilot was keeping air speed over 600mph all the way. At 629mph the tail shook like a wet leaf in wind storm. We wondered how long it would be before it broke off. What a scary trip. If the wings stay on but the tail breaks problem is air speed not weather.Stace Dutton Florida & UK

January 18, 2015 3:10 PM  

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