A320 tweak to prevent computer 'forgetting' sharklets

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Operators of Airbus A320s with sharklet wing-tips are being instructed to modify the aircraft to prevent the possibility that flight computers could forget the sharklets are fitted.

Airbus has been delivering A320s with sharklets since the end of 2012 and the wing-tips will be a standard feature on the new A320neo.

But during analysis of the A320neo design, Airbus determined that the flight computers could conceivably experience a “loss of sharklet identification”, says the European Aviation Safety Agency.

EASA says that components used to activate the load-alleviation function are connected to flight computers using a common ground point.

As a result, it says, the ground point segregation is “no longer effective” and carries the possibility of single-point failure. The aircraft would revert to behaving as if fitted with wing-tip fences, which preceded the introduction of sharklets.

While Airbus has already introduced a change which restores the segregation, EASA is instructing operators of aircraft delivered without the modification to amend the sharklet ground connection within two years.