Downed Russian Airbus A321 jet suffered prior damage linked to other crashes.


New York (AirGuide - Inside Air Travel) Tue, Nov 3, 2015 - More than a decade before it burst into pieces mid-air, the Russian jetliner that crashed in Egypt on Saturday scraped its tail on a runway during landing and needed to be repaired. Investigators poring over wreckage of the Metrojet Airbus Group SE A321 in Egypt's Sinai peninsula will be taking a close look at a 2001 repair to the plane's tail because it is one of the few things known to cause the type of sudden midair breakup that occurred Saturday, said John Goglia, a former airline mechanic who served on the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Metrojet tail section remains "If the engineering is done right, it's not an issue. If the repair follows the engineering data, it's not an issue," said Goglia, who isn't involved in the Metrojet investigation. "But a breakdown in any one of those can and has resulted in catastrophic failures." Impacts between the rear of a plane and the ground during landing and takeoff -- known as "tail strikes" -- occur with some regularity, according to National Transportation Safety Board data. Since 2000, there have been at least 22 tail strikes that caused severe enough damage to warrant an investigation by the safety board, according to its online accident database. Goglia estimates there were 10 times more tail strikes than listed in the NTSB database but the cases weren't reported to the accident-investigation agency because they were minor. In a small number of cases, however, such repairs have failed so violently that planes split at the seams and crashed. If it's found that the 2001 repair on the Metrojet aircraft played a role in the accident, investigators will want to ensure that there are no repairs on other aircraft at risk of failing, Goglia said. They would typically review the plans for repairs and may even seek inspections of other repairs, he said. 224 Dead All 224 people aboard the Metrojet, flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, died when it went down. Because debris was spread over an area as much as 8 kilometers (5 miles) long, officials believe it had to have broken up in flight, Alexander Neradko, head of the Russian Federal Aviation Authority, said in an interview with Rossiya-24 state television. Part of the tail section on the Metrojet plane landed apart from other wreckage, indicating it broke off from the rest of the fuselage. The plane's tail had been properly repaired, Andrey Averyanov, deputy general...

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