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Airborne On ANN

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Tue, Sep 02, 2003

Crash an Airliner, Look for Deep Pockets

Hey, Boeing Has Deep Pockets!

Chung Chi-hua and Chung Yen-hua, Taiwanese nationals, are suing Boeing in Los Angeles court, in a suit filed by attorney Steven Archer. The suit says that Boeing, which built the 747-200 that China Airlines maintained since 1979, should have supervised its repairs more thoroughly.

The plane seems to have broken up on approach to Hong Kong, in an accident that killed all 225 aboard on May 25 of last year.

At the time, ANN noted, "Early reports say the 747-200 broke into four distinct pieces, as it climbed between 1600 feet (at 03:08) and its destined FL, 350. At 03:08, the plane reported from 1600 feet; it was cleared to 20,000 at that time; and eight minutes later, it was cleared to 35,000 (without confirmation that it had yet reached FL200). It was not heard from after 03:16; and the tower got nervous thirteen minutes later, at 03:29, when the 747 was no longer on radar."

Preliminary investigation of the wreckage today still points to a midair break-up, that may have started at an old skin repair in the tail. A crack in that skin had been discovered and repaired by China Airlines. The 15-inch crack, however, was repaired using stainless steel, rather than a conventional matching aluminum; Archer's experts say that's why the airplane broke. Archer says Boeing should have supervised China Airlines maintenance more closely. The suit says that CAL's repair was done under Boeing supervision, as per the maintenance contract.

FMI: www.boeing.com; www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20020528X00743&key=1

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