THE EUROPEAN JOINT Aviation Authorities (JAA) says that the Airbus A340 fuel-indication problems highlighted in a UK safety inspectors' report were known of at the time of certification.

JAA large-aircraft coordinator Adre Kraan says that the problems were considered to be acceptable teething troubles for which a fix had already been identified.

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has asked the JAA to confirm whether or not it knew about the problem, together with a software glitch which led to double map-display failures, when the A340 was certificated (Flight International, 22-28 March).

"This particular item was put to a lot of attention. The reason why it was accepted that the type certification should be granted was that the error in the indication was on the safe side - it was an under-reading."

He adds that, "that would not in itself be sufficient for the JAA" and says that the certification body demanded a change to the flight manual, to explain the issue to crews. It insisted that the manual specify a temporary procedure to calculate "fuel remaining" by measuring the fuel usage.

"In addition, "says Kraan, "we understood from Airbus that they had started work on a modification. The first modification did not seem to work and they put in another modification. There is a retrofit programme going on at the moment and the last aircraft should be done in May."

Kraan says, however, that the flight-management guidance-system problem, which led to the map-display failures, "is not the same. It was not reported as such that it was a problem at the time of certification. I know that some corrective issues are now under way." The AAIB is refusing to comment.

Source: Flight International