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Safety Recommendation Details
On January 25, 2008, about 0945, an Airbus A320, N462UA, operated by United Airlines as flight 731, returned to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Newark, New Jersey, shortly after departure from runway 22R because three of the six electronic displays1 providing information to the flight crew went blank and several aircraft systems became inoperative. The flight crew landed the airplane without further incident, and no injuries were reported for anyone on board the flight. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the incident for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 scheduled domestic flight, which was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require Airbus to develop a modification for in-service A320 family aircraft such that, in the event of an AC 1 electrical bus failure, the standby attitude indicator is powered by an additional power source that will last for a minimum of 30 minutes, and require operators to incorporate this modification as soon as possible after it is available.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
Newark, NJ, United States
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
The NTSB is pleased that, on February 27, 2009, the FAA issued AD 2009-01-04, which requires operators of in-service A320 family aircraft that are equipped with a classic standby instrument system to incorporate the recommended modifications by 2013. Upon completion, modified airplanes will be equipped with an electronically driven mechanical attitude indicator powered by an additional source that will last for a minimum of 30 minutes in the event of an AC 1 electrical bus failure. Because Airbus has developed the recommended modification for in-service A320 family aircraft and the FAA has required operators to incorporate the modification, Safety Recommendation A-08-54 is classified CLOSED – ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
Letter Mail Controlled 12/3/2009 12:50:28 PM MC# 2090703 - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: As recommended, Airbus has developed a modification for in-service A320 family aircraft equipped with a classic standby instrument system, which includes an electronically-driven mechanical attitude indicator. With the modification, in the event of an AC 1 electrical bus failure, the standby attitude indicator will be powered by an additional power source that will last for a minimum of 30 minutes. This modification also provides an additional power source for the under glare shield flood lighting to ensure emergency lighting for the classic standby instruments. Airbus issued SB A320-33-1057, dated May 11, 2007, to provide instructions for operators to incorporate these modifications on all in-service A320 aircraft with a classic standby instrument system. On January 23, 2009, we issued AD 2009-01-04 (enclosed), applicable to A320 family aircraft equipped with a classic standby instrument system, requiring operators to incorporate this modification within 42 months after the effective date of the AD. This action is limited to A320 family aircraft with a classic standby instrument system. The AD does not apply to A320 aircraft equipped with an Integrated Standby Instrument System in production or to A320 aircraft that incorporate Airbus SBs A320-34-1261 or A320-34-1372 in-service because the standby attitude indicator is powered by an additional power source that will last for a minimum of 30 minutes in the event of failure of the AC 1 electrical bus.
The NTSB notes that the FAA agrees with the intent of this recommendation and plans to issue an airworthiness directive (AD) that will require Airbus A320 aircraft to be modified in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A320-24-1120. Accordingly, pending the FAA’s issuance of such a requirement, Safety Recommendation A-08-53 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Letter Mail Controlled 11/3/2008 10:25:40 AM MC# 2080659: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The NTSB notes that the FAA is working with the European Aviation Safety Agency and Airbus to study design options for powering the standby attitude indicator on Airbus A320 family aircraft in the event of an AC 1 electrical bus failure. The FAA indicated that it will determine whether to implement this safety recommendation once it has reviewed the results of the study. Pending the recommended modification for in-service A320 family aircraft being made and the FAA’s instituting a requirement for operators to incorporate the modification, Safety Recommendation A-08-54 is classified Open Acceptable Response.
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