The A320s nose wheel problem is not new…

as this report indicates.

Documents from Airbus indicated there have been three similar incidents in which A320 airplanes landed with the nose wheels rotated about 90 degrees. Examination of the steering control modules on two of the airplanes revealed extrusion of the selector valve’s external seals similar to that found on N628AW. Airbus had attributed the extrusion failures to the lack of a backup seal or the effects of aging on the seals. As a result of these incidents, Airbus issued Service Bulletin (SB) A320-32-1197 on October 8, 1998, to recommend replacement of the external seals on the steering control module’s selector valve on A320 and A321 airplanes within 18 months of the SB’s issuance.
At the time of the incident, neither the French Direction General de l’Aviation Civile (DGAC), or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), had adopted the service bulletin as an airworthiness directive. The operator was not required to comply with the service bulletin, and had not complied with it.
On March 24, 1999, the DGAC issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 1999-124-129(B) to require compliance with the SB. On December 17, 1999, the FAA issued AD 99-23-09 which was based upon the French AD, with a 12 month time of compliance for modification of the nose wheel steering control valve.

Makes you wonder if the fix did not fix it, or if the fix was ever applied. I also wonder if they ever improved the design? I would think the French taxpayers would want to get their francs….er…um…euros worth.

7 Responses to “The A320s nose wheel problem is not new…”

  1. Watching that sucker land dead-center on the runway was breathtaking – the pilot was brilliant.

  2. Good detective work, you! The AmericaWest Airbus pilot that Fox had on the phone last night said something about the computer driven aspect of the plane; if the computer detected a problem on rotation, that it would actually BLOW the nosegear 90 degrees in reaction! Goofy us asked ourselves ‘what possible purpose would that serve?’ But they are French, hence no answer.

  3. Crusader says:

    Goofy us asked ourselves ‘what possible purpose would that serve?’ But they are French, hence no answer.

    Maybe cause to have to turn 180 degrees in order to retreat?

  4. Ken Summers says:

    Crusader, it’s French. No turn necessary in order to retreat.

  5. Crusader says:

    Not true, Ken. You can drive a tank in reverse, and march backwards, but you can’t fly a fixed wing aircraft backwards, hence the involved computer design to facilitate the maneuver.

  6. Ken Summers says:

    But C, that assumes that the craft ever points toward the source of danger. That is probably not warranted.

  7. Crusader says:

    True, but not all of the pilots who fly the planes (God Bless them) are Frogs, so they do head towards danger sometimes, and the default setting of the wheel is obviously there to ‘rescue’ the non-French, and Frogify them, t’would apper.

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