Saturday, September 16, 2000

Delta to comply with 737 rudder design

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Delta Air Lines on Friday said it would comply with any changes Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration recommended for its fleet of 107 Boeing 737s.

        This week, the Seattle-based aircraft company and the FAA agreed on how Boeing would redesign the rudders of all 737s, the world's most widely used airliner.

        But Delta spokeswoman Cindi Kurczewski said that because the final redesign may not be ordered until next year, no immediate changes will be made.

        Rudder problems are suspected of causing two fatal crashes, in Colorado and Pennsylvania, both involving Boeing 737s.

        Following the crashes, three changes were immediately mandated on all 737s, including Delta's, and officials have reported no trou ble since then.

        There are approximately 3,000 of the planes in service worldwide. The agreement implements a redesign to create backups so the system doesn't fail.

        Pilots will be provided new training on how to handle potential future rudder problems, especially since the redesign could take years to implement.

        Boeing is to submit the redesign to the FAA, which should lead to an airworthi ness directive ordering the changes in all the planes sometime next year.

        Ms. Kurczewski said Atlanta-based Delta would “continue to work closely with the FAA and we will comply with any formal recommendations regarding the 737 aircraft.”

        “Whatever we're asked to do by the FAA, we will certainly do in the time frame specified,” she said.


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