Airbus asks airlines to change speed sensor

31 Jul 2009

In a service bulletin issued to airlines yesterday, Airbus has recommended the replacement of the Thales speed sensors (also known as “pitots”) on A330 and A340 jets with those made by US manufacturer Goodrich.

The advisory was made two months after the fatal Air France crash in June. Ongoing investigations seem to indicate that faulty Thales pitot tubes may have been a factor in the accident.

“On the basis of the limited available information from the accident and despite the fact the pitot tubes meet the certification objectives, we have decided to recommend to A330 and A340 operators with Thales pitot tubes to exchange them,” Airbus spokesperson Stefan Schaffrath said in news reports.

He added that the advice was given as a “precautionary measure”.

The move to install the new speed sensors is expected to affect about 200 long-haul aircraft, reported Reuters.

Goodrich sensors, which are made in North Carolina, are the standard on the A330/A340 wide-body jets. They are used on 800 of the 1,000 planes now in service. Some 340 planes from this family of aircraft are now flying across Asia-Pacific and most of them are also fitted with the Goodrich sensors.

Refitting of the speed sensors is not a complicated job, which takes about two hours, and can be done during an overnight stop.

Gigi Onag

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