Air France replacing airspeed sensors on Airbus fleet: Report

June 10th, 2009 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris/Sao Paulo, June 10 (DPA) Air France has replaced two of three airspeed sensors on its entire fleet of Airbus A330 and A340 jets, according to a media report Wednesday.
The carrier replaced two out of three Pitot tubes on each of the planes early Wednesday after a trade union urged pilots not to fly the planes until the changes had been carried out, the La Tribune newspaper reported.

The Pitot tubes apparently malfunctioned before an Air France Airbus A330-200 plunged into the Atlantic June 1 with 228 people aboard. The sensors provide information over ambient air pressure and therefore aid in measuring the airspeed of an aircraft

La Tribune reported that the third sensor would be replaced on each of the planes within 10 days. Air France has not commented on the issue.

Although no link between a malfunction of the Pitot tubes and the crash has yet been made, investigators are concentrating on their functioning in the final minutes of the flight, when the doomed aircraft sent out a series of inconsistent airspeed readings.

In related news, the French nuclear-powered submarine Emeraude was expected to join the search for the downed airplane Wednesday, the French daily Le Figaro reported.

The submarine is to use its ultra-sensitive sonar technology to help locate the aircraft’s two black boxes, which presumably contain vital information concerning the cause of the accident.

Three robot submarines will retrieve the black boxes once they have been localized.

Meanwhile, recovery teams pulled an additional 17 bodies out of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil Tuesday, bringing the total number of bodies retrieved after last week’s Air France plane crash to 41.

The airliner, travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the ocean about 1,300 km northeast of Brazil’s coast, in a region beset by rough seas and tumultuous storms, which have hindered recovery efforts.

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