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American Airlines Airbus jet
BBC Two, Thursday 8 May 2003, 9pm
Flight 587
Next on Horizon
On BBC Two Scotland, The Day We Learned to Think. Elsewhere, a second chance to see Homeopathy: the Test. Both on 15 May at 9pm

Flight 587 - transcript

NARRATOR: On November 12th 2001 a plane flown by the world's biggest airline plummeted out of the sky into a seaside suburb of New York. 265 people died. Coming just two months after the attacks on the World Trade Centre these scenes of disaster looked frighteningly familiar. At first, everyone thought this plane too must have been brought down by terrorists. When it turned out to be an accident it was a relief for everyone except the families of those who died. But the arguments began and the investigation turned into an almighty row. The implications of this tragedy go far beyond this crash and affect every pilot and every passenger flying today.

JFK Airport, November 12th 2001

Two months after the World Trade Centre attacks and New York's airports were beginning to return to a normal service. One of the plane's leaving New York that November morning was American Airline's flight 587, an Airbus A300 bound for the Dominican Republic.

Washington Heights, New York

Flight 587 was part of the daily shuttle that links this large Dominican community in uptown Manhattan with their friends and families back home. Among the passengers travelling home that day was Jose Lora who had spent the weekend with his sister.

BELKIS LORA: He call me on Wednesday and he tell me... you know: "Belkis, what's going on over there?" And I tell him: "Jose, we're gonna have a party on Saturday, so it's Marty baby's first birthday." And he say: "Oh okay, make a reservation for me for Friday."

NARRATOR: On November 12th Jose Lora was due to return to law school in Santo Domingo. His flight - American Airlines flight 587 - was flown that day by First Officer Sten Molin, in command the Captain Ed States.

CONTROL [to AMERICAN 587]: American 587 Heavy - Kennedy Ground - runway 31 Left for departure - taxi left on Bravo - hold short of Juliet.

NARRATOR: These are the real recordings of communication between the pilots and the JFK control tower.

AMERICAN 587 [to Control]: Left Bravo - short Juliet - American 587 Heavy.

DAVID EVANS [Air Safety Week]: What strikes me is the very everydayness of this take off. It's a clear day, weather is beautiful, not a lot of wind. It's so routine.

CONTROL [to AMERICAN 587]: American 587 Heavy - winds 300 at nine - runway 31 Left - cleared for take off.

AMERICAN 587 [to Control]: Cleared for take off - 31 Left - American 587 Heavy.

NARRATOR: The Airbus A300 Jet with 260 passengers and crew made a normal takeoff to begin its 4 hour journey down to the Caribbean.

CONTROL [to AMERICAN 587]: American 587 Heavy turn left - fly the Bridge climb - contact New York Departure - good morning.

AMERICAN 587 [to Control]: American 587 Heavy - so long.

Belle Harbor, New York

NARRATOR: Flight 587's route that day took it directly over the quiet suburban neighbourhood of Belle Harbor. Then, just one minute and seven seconds after taking off, the plane was in trouble.

PATRICK TWOHIG: It was a beautiful sunny day. It was very like 9/11, the same kind of a day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.

JOHN POWER: And all of a sudden my wife says to me: "Look up, look up" and I looked up into the sky and I saw the plane coming around from the left to right.

TWOHIG: I said: "Oh my God! What's happening here? And I thought it fell about a 100ft and then I thought it could get out over the ocean.

NARRATOR: Caught on a toll booth camera these are the last moments of Flight 587.

TOM LYNCH: And then I see a big whoosh of flames that covers the whole.. from the wings to the back, but it's like a match on a barbecue. It's quick. It's whooof ! POWER: Then he just bounced and at that point in time, then he starts going nose first.

TWOHIG: It made a turn then and spiralled down into the ground, and you know... it looked beautiful in the last seconds of its life. I'll never forget it.

CONTROL [to AMERICAN 587]: American 587 Heavy - I'm not receiving your transponder. American 587 Heavy - New York. American 587 Heavy - New York.

NARRATOR: 1 minute 45 seconds after taking off Flight 587 crashed into the houses of Belle Harbor killing all 260 on board and 5 people on the ground.

1010 WINS RADIO: Breaking news now on 1010 WINS. Good morning, I'm Brian Carey. American Airlines Airbus flight 587 has exploded and crashed this morning.

Well Brian, it looks like they've locked down the bridges and tunnels again, the Lincoln, the Holland Tunnels, the George Washington Bridge are all closed.

NARRATOR: At first everyone assumed it had to be terrorism. The World Trade Centre had been attacked just two months before. For the Belle Harbor community the disaster was especially devastating. It was home to many of the city's fire-fighters who had lost their lives on September 11th. It all seemed to be happening again. Then, within hours of the crash, came a startling statement.

MARION BLAKEY [National Transportation Safety Board]: It is the case that the National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency because all information we have currently is that this is an accident.

NARRATOR: It was almost reassuring to find that the crash was an accident until they discovered this! This is the tailfin of Flight 587. It has separated from the plane before it hit the ground. Missing from the bottom is the plane's rudder. With no rudder and no fin a plane can't fly. Something or someone had clearly caused the tailfin to break off Flight 587. Nothing like it had ever happened in 70 years of commercial aviation. The question for the investigation was who, or what, had done it.

October 29th 2002, Washington DC

A year after the accident and Belkis Lora travelled to a public hearing on the crash in Washington. Of the Dominicans who made the journey, many are poor and many don't speak English. But they were determined to find out why their loved ones died. Also at the hearing was the father of the First Officer, Sten Molin, the man who was actually flying the plane when it crashed. Mr Molin taught his son to fly. He now has to face the terrible possibility that an error by his son could have brought the plane down.

The hearing began with a graphic reconstruction of the last seconds of Flight 587. Shortly after taking off, this happened. The plane began to wobble, and after a few chaotic and terrifying moments, the tail broke off. What took place in these few seconds is at the heart of the investigation.

National Transportation Safety Board

Like all plane crashes in America, Flight 587 was investigated here at the National Transportation Safety Board's headquarters in Washington DC. The best chance the investigators had of finding out what happened is in this box, the flight data recorded onto a microchip. These numbers are a measure of the plane's behaviour, 167 different inputs from all aspects of the plane's performance on its final flight two years ago.

CONTROL [to AMERICAN 587] : American 587 Heavy turn left - fly the Bridge climb - contact New York Departure - good morning.

AMERICAN 587 [to Control]: American 587 Heavy - so long.

NARRATOR: It's John O'Callaghan's job to analyse the black box data for Flight 587 including the measurement of the most powerful force acting on the plane, the force of gravity, or G-force.

JOHN O'CALLAGHAN [National Transportation Safety Board]: What I've plotted in this graph here is the vertical acceleration or normal load factor which measures basically how heavy you feel in your seat as the airplane pulls up, and you'll feel heavier in it and as it falls you'll feel lighter.

NARRATOR: The black box data shows that for 67 seconds the force on the plane was 1G. Exactly what you would expect in a normal flight. Then, suddenly, it changed.

O'CALLAGHAN: So here they're flying along at a normal load factor. And then here about 9.15.36 we observe about a 0.3G drop in the normal load factor, so they're getting lighter in their seats at this point, and at the same time from the cockpit voice recorder we know that there's a sound of a brief squeak and a rattle so the airplane is starting to shake around a little bit.

NARRATOR: What had happened was the Flight 587 had just run into the powerful force of a wake vortex. Spinning off wing tips, wake vortices are concentrated tornados of air left trailing behind aircraft.

O'CALLAGHAN: A high pressure from underneath the wings spills over to the low pressure side on the upper surface, and this effect is carried downstream in what we call the trailing vortices.

NARRATOR: In the wrong circumstances, running into the wake vortices of another plane can be extremely disruptive.

CONTROL [to Japan Air 47]: Japan Air 47 - heavy winds 300 at 10 runway 31left - cleared left - cleared for take off.

NARRATOR: On that November day a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 had taken off just two minutes in front of Flight 587. Its four engines, generating 63,000lb of thrust, hurled it into the air. Trailing behind its wingtips, the invisible wake vortices.

O'CALLAGHAN: The Boeing 747 which preceded 587 took off to the North West and then took a left turn back towards the South East. American 587 which took off afterwards also took off to the North West but turned inside the track of the 747 and what the effect of the wind is, is to take the vortices that are shed from the 747 and move them in the downwind direction in this sense towards the path that 587 would take a few seconds later.

NARRATOR: And that is what happened. Flight 587 had run into the wake vortices of the 747. It is now clear that this was the spark for a series of increasingly catastrophic events. This is Bob Tamburini, a senior American Airlines Airbus A300 Captain. Horizon asked Tamburini to replicate what happened to flight 587 on a flight simulator. Tamburini has been asked to respond to the wake turbulence exactly as the data suggests Sten Molin did on flight 587. It is 1 minute 7 seconds into the flight and the first sign of trouble.

BOB TAMBURINI: We have some wake turbulence.

NARRATOR: The simulator shakes and dips and, just as happened in flight 587, there is a rattling sound.

BOB TAMBURINI: That's the wake turbulence encounter.

NARRATOR: Feeling the plane roll to one side, Tamburini moves the wheel. The wheel movement activates the ailerons, and the ailerons lift the wing and return the plane to an even attitude. Tamburini, like the pilots of flight 587, is able to fly through this first encounter with the turbulence and stabilise the plane. But unfortunately it didn't end there.

O'CALLAGHAN: Everything was normal and fine until about 9.15.51 or so, right here, at which point we hear on the voice recorder the sound of a thump.

NARRATOR: That thump signalled that flight 587 had just entered the wake of the Boeing 747 for the second time. The flight data shows that after the second wake hit the plane, Molin responded not just with the wing controls but pushed the rudder pedals. Normally the rudder is only used when a plane is very close to the ground as a powerful control to counteract side winds. So this was apparently an unusual reaction by Molin, and the results were dramatic. In the space of three seconds three rudder movements caused the plane to swing violently to the right, to the left, and to the right again. Yet despite this action, the Captain still had confidence in his first officer's ability to handle the situation. Their conversation, taped on the cockpit voice recorder, has been released as a transcript.

STATES: Can you handle it?

MOLIN: I'm okay.

DAVID EVANS: Even then, Captain Ed States does not say anything like 'what are you doing?' or 'I've got it' taking control. He asks the first officer: "Have you it?" "Yeah, I'm fine." And I think Captain States was viewing their passage through the second wake vortex encounter as momentary that within a second or two they would be out of it and they'd be on their way.

NARRATOR: But things only got worse. After four more seconds, two more rudder swings. Then, on the cockpit voice recorder, the sound of a loud bang.

O'CALLAGHAN: And it's that sound together with other parameters on the FDR that lead us to believe that this is where the tail failed. After the five rudder swings the tailfin of flight 587 broke away from the fuselage. These are the last words that the pilot spoke.

STATES: We're stuck in it.

MOLIN: holy ###t

STATES: get out of it - get out of it


NARRATOR: At this stage of the inquiry there seemed to be a clear chain of events. The second wake encounter prompted the rudder swings, and the rudder swings seemed to be linked to the tail breaking off, and it all happened in just seven seconds. It was the astonishing speed of the disaster that made these four American airlines pilots so nervous. They regularly flew the Airbus A300, the same model of plane that crashed - Bob Tamburini who flew our simulator, Todd Witting, Paul Csibrik and Jason Goldburg. Together they have spent more than 35,000 hours flying passenger jets. Their immediate reaction after the crash was that something might be wrong with the plane, and they didn't want to fly it anymore.

First Officer JASON GOLDBERG: It's our duty to ensure, to the extent that we can, the safety of our crews and our passengers.

Capt PAUL CSIBRIK: We're talking about an airplane that not only was damaged, that the rudder came off, so this was well beyond anything that anyone ever expected could happen at that speed.

Capt ROBERT TAMBURINI: It's not the kind of feeling you want when you fly an airplane. You want to be comfortable that certain basic elements are in place and for a period of time I did not feel comfortable.

INTERVIEWER: But you do now?

TAMBURINI: I don't fly that airplane anymore.

NARRATOR: All of these airbus pilots have now applied to be transferred to Boeings. Their worry was simply that the tail of a modern airliner just should not fall off after a few rudder movements. But then the tail of this airbus was very different to most other aircraft.

When it was launched in 1989 the Airbus A300 had a revolutionary tailfin. A tail made not out of the usual aluminum but a composite mix of remarkably hardwearing laminated fibres.

YVES BENOIST [Airbus Industrie] The composite structure are easier to maintain. There is, for instance, no corrosion which means that it will decrease the probability to have undetected corrosion problems in your structure.

NARRATOR: Over time metal corrodes and composites do not. But just as important, composites are lighter, and lightness means money.

DAVID EVANS [Air Safety Week]: My estimate on this particular design is that enough weight was saved to add roughly another row of seats to the airplane. And if you look at how much money another row of seats worth of passengers will generate, it's in the millions of dollars.

NARRATOR: Composites helped build Airbus into the biggest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world. Now this position was threatened by the failure of a composite tail. And when the investigators re-examined an earlier incident, the suspicion only increased.

Miami, May 12th 1997

Four years before flight 587 crashed, a different American Airlines Airbus A300 was landing in Miami when it hit severe turbulence. Such were the potential forces on the plane that after the incident, Airbus ordered a visual inspection of the tail. No damage was detected. But with composites, this can be misleading. After flight 587 crashed, the Miami Airbus was checked again. This time they didn't just do it visually, instead they used an ultrasound scanner. This revealed that while the tail seemed to be flawless on the outside, inside it was damaged. The bonding between the different layers of composite fibres was coming apart.

TAMBURINI: This particular area where the damage was found was not visual. In other words, it could not be seen by the naked eye without the removal of the vertical fin from the aircraft structure itself.

NARRATOR: Eventually, four years after this incident, the Miami plane had its tail replaced. But what worried the pilots was that they had been flying a plane with hidden damage for years, and it suggested that other Airbus A300s could have the same problem. In their minds, flight 587's tail had to be the main suspect. TAMBURINI: In 70 years a tail has not ripped off in a commercial airplane. But 55 of those years, tails had been made of aluminum, and only in the last 15 years have tails been made of composite, and this happened to be a tail that was made of composite.

NASA Langley Research Facility

NARRATOR: This is flight 587's tailfin. For over a year experts from NASA and the MTSB have pawed over the smallest detail of every fracture and tear, looking for hidden weaknesses.

MAN 1: Yes looking at the bottom of the fin right now, what's known as 'Rib-1'.

MAN 2: Over on this table we have the attached fittings,

MAN 1: The left-hand skin paddle, you have the right-hand skin panel.

NARRATOR: All tailfins are tested to withstand the highest loads expected in their service life. Then a 50% safety margin is added. This figure is called the ultimate load. A tail has to be safe up to this limit.

The issue was clear to the investigators. If the tail had broken off below the ultimate load, then Airbuses revolutionary lightweight tail must be to blame.

TAMBURINI: [in cockpit]: Check speed, level change, flaps up.

NARATOR: So we asked Bob Tamburini to recreate what happened when flight 587 hit the wake of the 747 for the second time. Tamburini reproduced the rudder inputs found on the plane's data recorder. The load factor for each movement was then calculated.

O'CALLAGHAN: After the first rudder reversal the bending moment comes back down in this direction.

NARRATOR: The data shows that with each movement of the rudder, the pressure on the tailfin as a whole increased. For four rudder swings the pressure stayed under the ultimate load. Then came the fifth and last rudder movement.

O'CALLAGHAN: And then in the final movement to the right, going past the limit load, going past the ultimate load, and you're getting up into a very high load level, and we see this load calculation continuing to increase.

NARRATOR: It was only at this point, well above the ultimate load, that the tail's attachment lugs began to rip apart. First the two at the front, then the middle ones, and finally the back two. The tailfin had failed only after it was subjected to forces far higher than those it was certified to withstand. It seemed that the composite material could not be blamed.

BENOIST: I feel better obviously because it was the final demonstration that there was nothing wrong with our airplanes and with the structure. It was the confirmation.

NARRATOR: This was a triumph for Airbus. The prime suspect, their revolutionary tailfin, was off the hook. But this only meant that there must be another reason why the tail broke off.

In public, at least, the inquiry had taken on the look of a court room. The hearing set up to evaluate research into the crash degenerated into a clash between the two titans of aircraft industry.

AIRBUS: We do not recommend to use rudder for roll control.

NARRATOR: On one side was Airbus, the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: I didn't know you couldn't do that.

NARRATOR: On the other side, American Airlines, the world's biggest passenger carrier.

QUESTION: You couldn't do what?

AMERICAN AIRLINES: Be aggressive with the controls.

BELKIS LORA: When I see all these people fighting, I didn't see that they're trying to find the truth. What I see is money. Let's find out the truth, because you know what? If we don't find the truth now, tomorrow we're going to have another plane crash with the same situation.

NARRATOR: The corporate wrangling has focused on the man who was flying the plane. First Officer Sten Molin. Airbus was determined to show that Molin and his training by American Airlines had caused the crash of a perfectly good plane. Sten Molin was one of American Airlines' 12,000 pilots. Between them they fly 800 planes world wide. Molin had been put through the same continuous training American Airlines uses to prepare all its pilots. It involves hours of time in a simulator preparing for any emergency.

Capt DELVIN YOUNG [American Airlines]: First officer had passed those standards and from all indications, every indication that I've ever seen about or heard about was Sten Molin was that he was above average pilot. He was an excellent pilot and I firmly believe that.

NARRATOR: But American Airlines' confidence in the way Molin was trained is not shared by Airbus.

American Airlines training video

INSTRUCTOR: And if you don't put that rudder in, what's going to happen when you get to this place in the roll, she's gonna slice out, just like that.

NARRATOR: This is the America Airlines training programme where Airbus contend that all American Airlines pilots, including Molin, have been incorrectly taught how to react to a wake encounter.

INSTRUCTOR: But the rudder ratio kind of accommodates that, so at most speeds you still ought to be able to hold it.

NARRATOR: This is the image of a wake vortex encounter in the training manual Molin used. The plane is upside-down. The manual explicitly says that in these emergency conditions pilots should use rudder, as well as wing ailerons, to bring the plane back under control.

INSTRUCTOR: Right rudder, right aileron….

NARRATOR: Airbus believe that American Airlines training is unrealistic, and that an A300 cannot be turned upside-down by a wake encounter. As a result, being taught to use such a powerful control as the rudder is completely unnecessary.

Airbus training facility. Toulouse

At their Toulouse Headquarters Airbus agreed to show Horizon how they think a pilot should react to a wake encounter. In an A300 simulator Airbus' Chief Training Manager chose the most extreme effect he thought possible in a large plane like this, not turning the plane upside-down but a roll of 40°. The pilot enters the wake and corrects the roll with hand controls only. No rudder input at all.

BENOIST: The pilot demonstrated that it was very simple to recover from such a situation such whole attitude using only the whole input, the whole control, not the rudder.

AAL INSTRUCTOR: You're holding the ... forward, we're rolling, right now we've got all the rudder ... don't we, coordinated.

NARRATOR: Airbus argue that Molin had been wrongly trained to react to a wake encounter by using the rudder. But according to Airbus, this error was compounded by another factor. Molin had been trained in a simulator, and a simulator can never reproduce the real sensations of flight. For years Don Wylie has been training commercial pilots to react correctly to emergencies.

DON WYLIE: What we're going to do is, I'm going to give you an upset as thought it were caused by wake turbulence. Are you ready Chuck?


WYLIE: In a wake! Oh what's happening? Recover. Okay, I saw zero loss. How many Gs do we pull?


NARRATOR: In Wylie's experience, a simulator can never replicate the G forces and psychological stresses of a real emergency.

DON WYLIE [Aviation Safety Training]: What we have is major human factors that affect the pilot immensely. We have everything from tunnel vision to temporal distortion, the slowing down of events to auditory exclusion, hyper vigilance, panic, fighting for your life, adrenal glands, the liver pumping glucose etc provides this immense strength which many times equates to massive or excessive control inputs.

Boom! What is that? In a rapid, sudden, yawing or pitching moment, albeit small, is perceived as a lot. It's sort of like disbelief, low expectation of upset, and we see this happen in almost every accident.

NARRATOR: This then is the Airbus scenario. On that November day Molin was first warned about the possibility of wake turbulence by Air Traffic Control.

CONTROL: American 587 Heavy - Kennedy Tower - caution wake turbulence - runway 31 Left - taxi into position and hold.

AMERICAN 587: Position and hold 31 Left - American 587 Heavy.

NARRATOR: Then, before takeoff, he was worried enough to ask the Captain about the possibility of hitting the wake of the 747 in front.

MOLIN: You happy with that distance?

STATES: He's supposed to be five miles by the time we're airborne, that's the idea.

CONTROL: American 587 Heavy - winds 300 at nine - runway 31 Left - cleared for take off.

AMERICAN 587: Cleared for tae off 31 Left - 587 Heavy.

NARRATOR: By the time flight 587 was in the air, Airbus contend that Molin was primed for a wake encounter and expecting to use the rudder. One minute twenty-two seconds after take off, flight 587 hits the real G forces of the wake vortex. Based on what he's been taught, Molin responded. He pushed the rudder pedal. The plane reacted violently so, perhaps in panic, he pushed again - and again, imposing huge forces on the plane's tail. Ultimately it broke off. [LOUD BANG] leading to the crash of flight 587. Or at least, that is Airbus' opinion. But to American Airlines it is simply incredible that any error by Sten Molin, or their training programme could have caused the tail to break off the plain in just 7 seconds. They think the same events have an entirely different interpretation, one where Airbus is to blame. The American Airline scenario starts with the standard pre-flight checks that all pilots carry out. One of these is to make sure the rudder is operating correctly.

DAVID EVANS [Air Safety Week]: The rudder control system on this airplane is designed so that when the pilots are on the ground, and they press on the rudder, they have a full four inches of movement. Four inches forward, four inches back, and that will move the rudder to its fully deflected position.

NARRATOR: But on the Airbus A300, as the plane takes off and the speed increases, the amount of pedal travel to move the rudder to its full limit decreases to just 1¼ inches. American Airlines claim that Airbus had not given them this vital piece of information.

Capt DELVIN YOUNG [American Airlines]: Prior to the 587 accident we had not been told how sensitive the system - the rudder system in particular - was, and that the rudder pedals, the displacement was as small as it is, it's very sensitive.

NARRATOR: So, according to American Airlines, when flight 587 had its second wake encounter Molin may have tried to stabilise the plane by pushing the pedal just one inch. Unknown to him, that was enough to move the rudder to its limit. At that point the plane reacted suddenly and in attempting to correct this movement, Molin pushed the left pedal an inch and a quarter. But this only produced another full rudder movement and once again the plane swung far more violently than he anticipated. It was this repeated use of the rudder that was to seal flight 587's fate. For Molin had done more than move the rudder its maximum distance, he had done something it was not designed to do. He had reversed the rudder from side to side. It was this action that would push the loads on the tail beyond breaking point. It is American Airlines' case that Molin had no idea that a rudder reversal could be lethal.

YOUNG: No pilot, prior to this 587 accident, thought that in seven seconds that you could move the controls and tear the tail of an airplane apart, and that's exactly what happened.

NARRATOR: American Airlines say they were in the dark, but that Airbus were not because this had happened before, and Airbus hadn't told anyone about the havoc it could cause.

Moscow, February 11th 1991

It was a freezing winter's day ten years before the crash of flight 587. An Interflug Airbus A310 which shares the same tailfin and computer systems with the A300 was on a normal approach to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. Then all hell broke loose. This is Airbus' own reconstruction of what happened. In his desperate attempt to control the plane, the pilot had reversed the rudder several times from side to side, and according to Airbus' own analysis of this near disaster, these reversals had pushed the loads on the tail over the ultimate limit. But amazingly this plane did not crash - unlike flight 587. The tragedy, according to American Airlines, is that when Molin took off on that November day, he had no knowledge about this previous case and the precise danger of rudder reversals because Airbus had not told anyone.

YOUNG: I've been flying airplanes for a long time. I've flown light civilian aircraft, I've flown military aircraft, I have flown commuter turboprop aircraft, I've flown transport category airplanes, airliners, and I had never heard that you couldn't do a rudder reversal before in my entire life.

NARRATOR: The central case of American Airlines is that Airbus had not provided the information for Sten Molin to fly the plane safely, and that if only they had, then he and 264 other people might still be alive. It is, of course, an argument that Airbus reject completely. The full investigation into flight 587 will not be completed for months. But it has already been recognised that flying should never be the same again.

This is an Airbus safety directive. It was issued in March 2002, four months after the crash. It warns pilots that by reversing the rudder, they could overload the plane's tail. This warning might seem like an admission of guilt by Airbus, but it isn't. What is so disturbing is that this directive was issued by all aircraft manufacturers because it is dangerous to reverse the rudder on any airline. But apparently no one had realised this until now. The frightening truth is that millions of lives have been put at risk, because for years pilots, the world over, have not been told how rudders worked on most passenger jets flying today. And we only know this because a plane crashed and 265 people died.

BELKIS LORA: I don't wish that on nobody because it's really hard to live with this pain. Every time when I see my brother's picture… I don't want.. I don't even want to see my brother's picture because I don't want to think that he is not here with us no more. It's really hard.

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