EASA orders air safety equipment check for Airbus jets

Experts suspect defects in air speed sensors may have caused Air France crash

Travel Insurance News - 25/09/2009

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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has ordered European airlines operating long haul Airbus jets to check air speed sensors on all these planes.

The airlines have been given five days to complete the checks and report their findings to the safety agency.

The EASA suspects that defects in air speed sensors may have been responsible for the Air France crash earlier this year. EASA has reported that it suspects there may be instances of loose fittings on certain sensors. If left unattended to, the defects could lead to false speed readings as well as air leaks, the safety agency has warned.

These new instructions have come only das after the EASA, which manages the EU's aviation safety strategy, issued instructions restricting the use of alternative parts supplied by a French company. Aviation experts suspect that defects in the sensors manufactured by the Thales company may have led to the Air France crash that killed 228 people.

Investigations after the crash of the Air France jet flying from Rio de Janeiro to France have led to suspicions that the sensors on the plane may have been affect by adverse weather conditions en route. Post crash, Air France has made sure all the air speed sensors on its long haul Airbus jets were re-fitted

Air speed sensors are a crucial component for safe flying. The safety margin for an airplane's speed at high altitudes is notoriously narrow, and any defects in the ultra-sensitive sensors can lead to planes stalling or simply crashing.

Pilots need to accurately know what speed they are flying at, because flying even a little too fast or too slow could lead to a fatal crash. Naturally, the speed readings are even more crucial in adverse weather conditions, so it's important that the sensors remain unaffected by weather.

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