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SAIB Stemming From Airline Crash Applies to Everyone

January 20, 2011 — The FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) on the subject of maneuvering speed and abrupt control inputs. The SAIB (CE-11-17) comes out of the investigation of a 2001 accident in which an airliner lost its vertical tail and crashed shortly after takeoff in turbulent weather, but the FAA says it’s relevant to all Part 23 airplanes as well as any special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA), experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA), and experimental amateur-built airplanes.

According to the NTSB, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in November 2001 when in-flight separation of the vertical stabilizer occurred as a result of unnecessary and excessive rudder pedal inputs. The NTSB subsequently found that many pilots erroneously believe that as long as the airplane is at or less than design maneuvering velocity (speed), or VA, they can make any control inputs they desire without any risk of harm to the airplane.

Rather, the SAIB stresses, “The design maneuvering speed (VA) is the speed below which you can move a single flight control, one time, to its full deflection, for one axis of airplane rotation only (pitch, roll, or yaw), in smooth air, without risk of damage to the airplane.”

To read the entire SAIB, click here.


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