France Issues Emergency AD On Airbus Rudders

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First it was voluntary, but it now appears airlines operating A300 and A310 aircraft will be compelled to conduct thorough inspections of the planes' composite rudders. France's civil aviation regulator has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive calling for the one-time visual and tap-test inspection to be completed within 550 hours or before June 18. Other countries generally adopt similar Emergency ADs but none had been issued by the FAA at our deadline. France's action comes two weeks after an Air Transat A310 lost almost its entire rudder while at cruise on a trip from Cuba to Quebec. The crew was able to return to Varadero Airport and land safely. Last week Airbus recommended operators of A300 and A310 aircraft inspect the rudders. The NTSB and FAA are both following the Canadian investigation to see if it might have any bearing on the crash of an American Airlines A300 in New York in 2001. In that accident, the whole tail separated after what the NTSB determined were excessive rudder movements by the flying pilot.