Replace Airbus speed sensors: watchdog
The European Aviation Safety Agency has ordered that some Airbus jets stop using the type of speed sensor installed on the Air France aircraft that crashed in the Atlantic in May.
The agency's directive Friday applies to all A330 and A340 aircraft outfitted with speed sensors manufactured by French firm Thales. The directive says those sensors — also known as pitot probes — must be replaced by newer ones manufactured by U.S. firm Goodrich.
"The agency’s proposals, which have been agreed with Airbus, are based on pitot probe performance data which the agency has analyzed in recent weeks," the aviation watchdog said in a statement. Airbus on Thursday also urged its customers to replace the old Thales probes.
Investigators into the May 31 Air France crash believe the pitot probes may have iced over and gave false readings to the plane's computers. The A330 aircraft flew into heavy storms off the coast of Brazil before crashing. All 228 people aboard Air France Flight 447 —including Canadian Brad Clemes — were killed.
The safety agency directive doesn't completely rule out the use of Thales probes on Airbus aircraft, which are typically outfitted with three such probes. The agency said aircraft should carry at least two Goodrich probes and a maximum of one newer Thales model.
The agency did not provide a timeline for the implementation of the changes. It gave few other details, other than saying it would release more information over the next two weeks.