Safety board to check whether doomed American Airlines plane was damaged in storm

Wednesday, January 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ National Transportation Safety Board investigators plan to ask the manufacturer if the American Airlines plane that crashed last November had been damaged by a storm while being built.

NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said Wednesday there was nothing in American Airlines' maintenance records to indicate that a storm at the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, blew the plane back on its tail.

The Washington Post reported the A300-600 plane was blown on its tail at the factory during a storm.

But an Airbus spokeswoman said: ``There are no traces in the records of the plane of any repairs linked to an incident of that kind, which implies that this aircraft was not the serial number involved.''

American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in a New York City neighborhood shortly after takeoff from Kennedy Airport Nov. 12. The crash killed 265 people.

Investigators have focused on the airplane's tail assembly, which fell off before the crash.

Maintenance records of the plane indicated that one of the six fittings that connected the tail fin to the fuselage had to be repaired by the manufacturer before the plane was delivered to American Airlines in 1988.

In 1994, the jetliner was severely shaken by air turbulence, injuring 47 people. The plane was inspected following the incident and no problems were found.