Day: November 17, 1995

Ignoring the obvious: a jamming servo valve, NTSB fails to protect future passengers

PHILADELPHIA – (11/17/1995) Today, the NTSB wraps up three days of investigative hearings regarding the cause of the Pittsburgh crash of USAir Flight 427 on September 8, 1994, which resulted in 132 fatalities. Yet, the NTSB and the FAA still refuse to look at the obvious cause of this crash (also the most likely cause of the 1991 United Flight 585 crash in Colorado Springs): the faulty design of the servo valve — a key component of the Boeing 737s rudder control power unit.

According to internationally-known aviation attorney Arthur A. Wolk, “The NTSB is a ‘broken part’ organization. If a part isn’t broken, then it couldn’t have caused the crash. However, a malfunctioning part can be just as fatal. The servo valve is known to jam — for reasons that become ‘invisible’ after the crash.

“What the NTSB fails to do,” Wolk continues, “is combine the available evidence with known design limitations and come to reasonable conclusions about the cause. The NTSB and FAA know the servo valve is defectively designed, so it can cause rudder reversals and spontaneous (uncommanded) rudder movements. Hundreds of pilots have reported uncommanded rudder movements in Boeing 737s since the aircraft’s original certification, but these complaints fall on deaf ears.”

“The NTSB and FAA should demand modifications of the Boeing 737’s servo valve simply to comply with the Federal Aviation Regulations, but — more importantly — they should demand modifications to save the lives of future passengers.”

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