Investigators: Doomed Plane's Flaps Failed
Alarm that should have alerted pilots to problem never did
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2008 12:40 PM CDT
A Red Cross worker speaks on her cell phone near the body of a victim of the Spanair jet that crashed at Madrid airport Aug. 20, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Wing flaps that help lift a plane on takeoff failed on the Spanair flight that crashed last month, and an alarm to warn pilots never sounded, according to an initial report released today on the accident that killed 154 people. Investigators did not say whether they believe the flap problem caused the Aug. 20 crash, offering no theory on what triggered Spain's worst air disaster in 25 years.

Investigators also said they needed to further study a malfunction of an air temperature gauge outside the cockpit. Spanair has described it as a minor glitch that was resolved by turning off the gauge because it was not essential equipment, but the report said the faulty gauge might be linked to the failure of the cockpit alarm horn. The alarm horn should have notified pilots that the plane wasn't configured correctly for takeoff.