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Keep Airbus Jets Flying, Union Says

April 02, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The union representing American Airlines pilots says not enough evidence exists to ground Airbus jets like the one that crashed in New York in November after its tail fell off.

The Allied Pilots Assn. said it was concerned about the accident but disagreed with eight American Airlines pilots who asked the federal government to consider grounding the Airbus A300-600.

American Airlines and Airbus Industrie say the plane is safe. The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered new inspections of the plane but has not grounded it.

American Flight 587 experienced several sharp side-to-side movements before its tail fell off and the plane crashed shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing 265 people.

The FAA last month ordered inspections of A300-600 and A310 planes that had experienced similar movements.

The union asked for an FAA review of the procedures by which it certifies airplanes as safe to fly, new procedures to test nonmetallic composites for damage, new studies of turbulence caused by planes' taking off, and that its pilots report all incidents of moderate or severe turbulence and cases where the rudder moved by itself.

"The union's leadership still has serious concerns about the events surrounding the A300 accident," the group said in a statement. "That noted, the association currently believes there is insufficient evidence to recommend that AA ground the A300s."

The union issued its statement after hearing a presentation from the pilots and receiving a copy of their two-month study.

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