Preliminary Report on EgyptAir Crash Due Wednesday
A preliminary report on the crash of EgyptAir in October 1999 will on Wednesday be handed to Egyptian investigators by US officials probing the incident which has remained a mystery and raised a heated debate over its causes, according to Al Akhbar Arabic daily.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian investigators hope to promote a theory that a mechanical fault caused the accident by linking it to a report on an apparently similar incident, an EgyptAir official told Reuters on Tuesday.
The official, who asked not to be named, said investigators would use a Boeing report to try to demonstrate that possible technical problems in the tail panel of a Boeing 767-300 flight last month may have also led to the crash of the EgyptAir 767-300 in October, 1999, said Reuters and local press.
Last month, the US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) said an American Airlines Boeing 767-300 experienced difficulty in controlling its pitch, or up or down movement of its nose, while approaching Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, said Reuters.
The NTSB said the American Airlines plane was descending at an altitude of about 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) when crew members noticed that the elevator panels on its tail -- movable components that control pitch -- did not work when they were supposed to.
Initial examination of the tail components, including power control units, revealed no problems, according to the NTSB.
As part of its investigation into the crash of the EgyptAir 767-300, the board has studied the performance of the plane's elevator mechanism.
The Egyptian investigators will have 60 days to respond to the initial report.
Egyptian authorities and the public opinion in general continue to reject theories that the crash had been deliberately caused by one of the pilots. The doomed airliner, which plunged into the Atlantic off the east coast of the United States, was at 33,000 feet when its autopilot shut off, its throttle cut back and the elevators initiated a steep descent.
The US government suspected initially that the plane's October 31 plunge into the Atlantic was the result of an intentional act rather than an accident. The National Transportation Safety Board has been leaning toward such a shift since early last week, when an initial analysis of the Boeing 767's cockpit voice recorder suggested that a copilot, Gamil al-Batouti, recited a brief prayer before turning off the autopilot, pushing down on the yoke, and pitching the plane into a harrowing dive, killing himself and 216 others.
During the dive, the engines were cut, and the elevators moved in opposite directions. The plane recovered, rose and then fell again.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently issued a directive requiring closer inspection of the elevator system on 767s. The FAA and Boeing said the directive was not in any way related to the EgyptAir crash, according to Reuters – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)