09 September 2007

Podcast of CNN Interview Featuring Dr. Todd Curtis of AirSafe.com

Dr. Todd Curtis was featured in an August 29, 2007 broadcast of the CNN program American Morning. The interview focused on actions taken by airlines and civil aviation authorities in the aftermath of a a fire that destroyed a China Airlines 737-800 aircraft after a landing in Okinawa, Japan earlier that month. For more information about the show, or about how to subscribe using iTunes, visit the podcast page at AirSafe.com. You can also download the episode directly at http://www.airsafe.com/podcasts/show18.mp3.

1 comment:

Carl Talbott said...

I listened to your Podcast and wonder why no one is asking the key question as to why aircraft wing slat fasteners come loose. Could it be that the screw threads on these fasteners do not conform to FAA-approved design criteria?

In 1987 while on active duty in the USAF, I observed thread dimension tests on military aircraft fastener inventories and reported evidence of nonconformance levels in excess of 50%. I thought the federal Fastener Quality Act of 1990 would be a sufficient legal remedy; however, in 1999 Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senator John McCain sponsored legislation to "fix" this law (via H.R 3824) and exempted aviation fasteners from independent quality testing based on the FAA's authority over aviation fastener quality.

Nonetheless, according to Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General Audit Report AV-2001-003 (issued Oct 11, 2000), FAA management failed to address evidence of defective inventory in critical applications of commercial aviation threaded fasteners. Pages viii & ix of the report's executive summary explains that some fastener manufacturers (and perhaps aircraft manufacturers and end-users) were using go/no-go thread gages contrary to the type of gages called for in FAA-approved design data.

FAA's latest Emergency Airworthiness Directive 2007-18-52 (issued Aug 28, 2007) reports multiple cases of loose or missing slat fasteners, requires a on-time torquing of the main track down-stop assembly nut and bolt, but makes no requirement to inspect fastener for pitch diameter dimensional conformance or report any evidence of deformed fastener threads.

I suspect the FAA may have missed the mark again!

Carl Talbott, D.Sc.
dtalbott@bellsouth.net