Plane plagued with problems before Madrid crash

28th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

A fault with a braking system was detected three days before the fatal flight of Spanair flight JK 5022.

28 August 2008

MADRID -- A fault with a braking system linked to at least three previous fatal airplane crashes was detected three days before the Spanair flight JK5022 crashed last week.

The plane plunged to the ground shortly after takeoff at Madrid Airport on 20 Aug, killing 154 of the 173 passengers on board.

According to company sources, the fault with the thrust reverser on the MD-82's left engine led mechanics to turn it off in accordance with the plane's service manual that allows the twin-engine aircraft to fly temporarily with just one reverse thruster.

In Germany in 1990, in Thailand in 1991 and in Brazil in 1996, the spontaneous deployment of a thrust reverser during or after takeoff caused plane crashes that killed hundreds.

Investigators have yet to conclude what caused the Spanair plane to crash, though it has emerged that the plane had several mechanical problems in the hours, days and months preceding flight JK5022.

In July, a pilot had delayed a takeoff from Palma de Mallorca due to noises from the landing gear, while before the doomed flight on August 20 the pilot reported a problem with a heater on an air intake valve.

[El Pais / Angeles Espinosa / Expatica]

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