David Learmount/LONDON

Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) is calling for the US authorities to investigate the Boeing 767 pitch control system "with the same level of examination and analysis" that they applied to the 737's rudder control system, which was subsequently redesigned.


The ECAA statement came just before the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), on 20 April, handed Egypt its draft report on the October 1999 EgyptAir 767-300ER crash off the US east coast, in which all 217 people on board died. The ECAA will have 60 days to respond to the report.

There has been tension between the two parties since the start of the investigation. The accident happened over international waters but Egypt asked the NTSB to lead the investigation. Leaks from the inquiry indicate that the co-pilot succeeded in a suicide bid by disconnecting the autopilot and putting the aircraft into a steep descent.

The ECAA, however, maintains that there is no evidence of suicidal intent, and it refers to several incidents and a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness directive (AD) involving 767 pitch control problems (Flight International, 13-19 March). It cites "recent incidents involving Boeing 767 flight control problems" at AeroMexico, American Airlines and Gulf Air, and says this "should give cause to the NTSB and Boeing to further investigate the 767 flight control system".

The ECAA argues that for a long time after two fatal 737 crashes - Colorado Springs in 1991 and Pittsburgh in 1994 - the NTSB could not determine with certainty what had caused the pilots to lose control of the aircraft. The ECAA now points out, however, that "the NTSB concluded in both instances that the 737 rudder control system caused these accidents."

Source: Flight International