NASA to Evaluate Tail Assembly

07 December 2001

Parts of the tail of the American Airlines plane that crashed last month into a New York neighbourhood arrived Tuesday at NASA's Langley Research Center.

The National Transportation Safety Board has asked Langley to help determine why the tail fell off the Airbus A300 before the plane crashed shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The Nov. 12 crash killed all 260 people aboard and five people on the ground. Langley has expertise in analyzing the nonmetallic composite materials used in the tail of the European-made Airbus.

The plane's mostly intact vertical stabilizer, rudder, a small section of fuselage and other parts were sent to Langley, said Bill Uher, a NASA spokesman. The parts had been in a temporary storage facility in New York. The examination of the parts probably will take months, Uher said.

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