Date: November 12, 2001
Time: 09:16
Location: Belle Harbor, Queens, New York
Operator: American Airlines
Flight #: 587
Route: New York City - Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.
AC Type: Airbus A-300-605R
Registration: N14053
cn / ln: 420
Aboard: 260   (passengers:251  crew:9)
Fatalities: 260   (passengers:251  crew:9)
Ground: 5
Summary: Three minutes after taking off and while in a climbing left turn, at 2,800 ft., parts of the plane, including the vertical stabilizer and rudder, fell from the aircraft. The crew soon lost control of the plane which nose dived and crashed into a residential neighborhood. After flying into the wake turbulence of two aircraft about two minutes into the flight, investigators believe a series of quick rudder swings by the copilot whipped the tail so severely that the fin broke off. The National Transportation Safety Board has found that pilot error was the probable cause. Sharply criticizing American Airlines Advanced Aircraft Maneuvering Program, the Board said that American Airlines' pilot training included a simulator exercise which could have caused the first officer to have an unrealistic and exaggerated view of the effects of wake turbulence, erroneously associate wake turbulence encounters with the need for aggressive roll upset recovery techniques and develop control strategies that would produce a much different -- and potentially surprising and confusing -- response if performed during flight. In addition, because of its high sensitivity, the Airbus A-300-600 rudder control system is susceptible to potentially hazardous rudder pedal inputs at higher airspeed.

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