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Air France crash: Probe into two other A330 incidents

Two recent Airbus A330 flights may have had similar computer malfunctions to those suspected in AF Flight 447, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

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In the past five weeks, two Airbus A330 planes had computer anomalies that may be similar to the ones now being examined as a possible cause of the crash of Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced Thursday evening that it was investigating two recent incidents "in which airspeed and altitude indications in the cockpits of Airbus A330 aircraft may have malfunctioned."

Just prior to when Flight 447 apparently broke up in-flight, it sent a batch of automated messages that indicated, among other things, inconsistent speed readings. At high altitudes, the plane's speed is measured by sensors called Pitot tubes, which have a history of icing up and sending inconsistent readings. Before the crash, Air France had planned to replace the Pitot tubes on its Airbus A330s and since the accident, it has done so. But Air France and aviation analysts say the Pitot problems alone would probably not have caused a crash.

As a result, investigators are also looking at whether the A330's highly computerized flight control system may have malfunctioned as a result of the inconsistent speed indications. Last week, the Monitor reported on other cases of computer malfunctions on A330s last year that resulted in what pilots call "uncommanded" movements.

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