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FAA Orders 727s’ Takeoff Alarms Checked as Precaution After Crash

Associated Press

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines Friday to check takeoff warning alarms on all Boeing 727 jetliners because of questions raised in the investigation of a Delta Air Lines crash last month.

FAA officials said the directive to the airlines for a one-time check of the estimated 1,200 jetliners being operated in the United States was “purely precautionary.”

They insisted that there is no evidence at this point to indicate that the alarm, which warns of a false flap setting, malfunctioned in the Delta plane. Investigators have uncovered conflicting evidence as to whether the flaps were positioned properly.

Cause Yet to Be Determined

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A federal investigation has yet to determine what caused the Aug. 31 crash at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. The accident killed 14 of the 108 people aboard the plane bound for Salt Lake City.

But National Transportation Safety Board investigators have said that among the areas being examined is whether the flight crew extended the flap setting as required. An alarm in the Boeing 727 should have sounded in the cockpit if the flaps were not extended for takeoff, but no such alarm could be heard on the cockpit voice recorder tape.

An aircraft’s wing flaps help the plane gain lift and should have been extended 15 degrees when the Delta jet took off.

Anthony Broderick, the FAA’s associate administrator for regulation and certification, said the directive to check the alarms on the Boeing 727s was precautionary and “not anything other than our own effort to gather data.”

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