Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Passengers and Crew pitch-in to sue over pitch-down

More than 70 passengers and crew who were aboard a Qantas A330 that suffered air data inertial reference unit spikes in October 2008 are suing Airbus and Northrop Grumman over the incident.

Attorney Floyd Wisner told Australian media Monday that he was representing 76 passengers and crew who were on QF Flight 72, which experienced two violent pitch-downs, forcing an emergency landing at Learmonth on the Western Australian coast.

Australia Transport Safety Bureau investigators are still baffled by the incident and have not issued the final report. ATSB preliminary data indicated the aircraft was cruising at 37,000 ft., climbed 200 ft. and then returned to 37,000 ft. About 1 min. later it pitched nose-down approximately 8.4 deg. and descended some 650 ft. in 20 sec. before returning to cruise altitude. Some 70 sec. later there was an additional 3.5-deg. nose-down pitch followed by a 400-ft. descent in 16 sec.

ATSB has said that exhaustive tests of the A330's malfunctioning ADIRUs proved inconclusive as has testing of individual modules of the unit. The ATSB found that the A330's primary ADIRU sent erroneous data (spikes) on many parameters to systems in the aircraft, including the primary flight computers, which resulted in the autopilot disconnecting and the two violent pitch-down events.

(Geoffery Thomas - ATWOnline News)

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