Airbus Pilots Warned Of Icing Problems

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Airbus pilots all over the world have been warned how to react if they suddenly lose data from the angle-of-attack sensors on the aircraft and confuse its fly-by-wire system. EASA and the FAA both issued emergency ADs last week ordering flight manuals for single-aisle Airbuses to be updated. It came two weeks after a similar order for wide-body Airbuses. The root cause of the issue appears to be a cone-shaped mount that Airbus thought would offer better ice protection for the angle-of-attack sensor -- but the opposite turned out to be true.

Airbus alerted the authorities and began telling operators of more than 700 aircraft about potential problems when three angle-of-attack sensors on an A330 iced up and caused the fly-by-wire system to push the aircraft into an uncommanded dive a couple of weeks ago. A new AD dealing with the mounting plate no longer mandates installation of the cone-shaped plate. Unmodified aircraft continue to fly but pilots have been briefed on how to regain manual control of the aircraft if the earth suddenly fills the windscreen.