Date: 30 Mar 99 01:53:48 From: email@example.com (John Hilt) Organization: Telenor Online Public Access
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Is this the final fix? Have we see the last of Boeing 737 rudder kicks? Let's hope so. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APA 35-99 March 18, 1999 Contact: Les Dorr, Jr. Phone: 202-267-8521 FAA Progress Report on Boeing 737 Rudder PCU Retrofits Washington -- In response to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) order to improve the already high safety record of the Boeing 737, close to 50 percent of the aircraft subject to the order now have new rudder power control units (PCUs). In addition, Boeing 737-600, -700 and -800 models are already manufactured with a redesigned unit, so almost 60 percent of the nation's 737 fleet now carries the new equipment. The redesigned PCU eliminates the possibility of a "rudder reversal" -- movement of the rudder opposite to what the crew intended -- by making reversal mechanically impossible. The FAA's latest figures, from March 1, show that 484 of 1025 U.S.-registered Boeing 737-100 through -500 models had received the new unit. "We are urging industry to continue making progress in complying with the FAA's mandate," said FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. "We have no plans to extend our August deadline." The FAA ordered installation of the new PCUs in June 1997 as the result of data from the National Transportation Safety Board's investigations of Boeing 737 accidents at Pittsburgh (1994) and Colorado Springs, Colo. (1991). The PCU redesign makes rudder reversal a mechanical impossibility. All 737s must have the new unit installed by Aug. 4, 1999. Until then, all older-model PCUs are checked by flight crews every 250 flight hours (about once a month) to ensure they are functioning properly. In addition to the redesigned PCU installation, the agency has ordered installation of a device that limits the amount of rudder movement during flight, making the aircraft more controllable in the event of an upset. The FAA also is requiring operators to install a new, more reliable digital yaw damper, a device that increases ride comfort by making small rudder inputs to cancel side-to-side motions. All 737s must have the new equipment by August 2000. The FAA also has worked extensively with industry to enhance pilot training and awareness of possible in-flight upsets caused by uncommanded rudder inputs. In January 1997, the FAA mandated new flight procedures and training to help pilots recognize and respond correctly to unusual aircraft attitudes. U.S. air carriers have already incorporated these initiatives into their operations and training programs. # # # -- - JH - http://home.c2i.net/jhilt "Balls" said the queen, "If I had them, I'd be king."