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European planemaker Airbus has no record that the A300 jet that crashed moments after taking off in New York last November was damaged in a storm before it was delivered to American Airlines, an Airbus spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The spokeswoman was responding to questions following a report in The Washington Post that said investigators were looking into evidence that the plane was blown backward onto its tail during a violent storm in 1987 while awaiting final work at an Airbus factory. “There is no record in the papers of the plane of something like that,” the Airbus spokeswoman told Reuters. “Under normal circumstances, there would be a repair indicated.”
In Washington, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it would contact Airbus directly to ask if it had any records about the reported damage to the plane. “The maintenance records that we have from American Airlines have no information about a tail strike during the manufacturing process,” Ted Lopatkiewicz, a board spokesman, told Reuters. He said that was not necessarily unusual because maintenance records tend to begin when an aircraft is delivered.
U.S. investigators have not determined the cause of the crash but have focused on the composite makeup of the tail section of the A300-600 series and extreme rudder movements just after the aircraft passed through a relatively common bout of turbulence from a bigger plane flying several miles ahead. Investigators believe the A300’s vertical stabilizer, or tail fin, and its rudder fell off before American Airlines flight 587 crashed.
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