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CONCORDE GROUNDING POSSIBILITY IF RUDDER PROBLEM NOT SOLVED

 CONCORDE GROUNDING POSSIBILITY IF RUDDER PROBLEM NOT SOLVED
 WASHINGTON, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Aviation Europe, a McGraw- Hill newsletter based in Brussels, has learned from airline officials and other sources in the United Kingdom that U.K. authorities could ground British Airways fleet of supersonic Concordes if a permanent solution isn't found soon to persistent delamination problems on upper rudder panels. The weekly newsletter will report in its issue dated tomorrow that BA engineers are working overtime to solve the problem that has resulted three times in three years in pieces of the rudder falling off inflight (DAILY, Mar. 24).
 The panels are among the first honeycomb aluminum structures in commercial service, and numerous theories are being put forward as to why they are delaminating. BA spokesmen, however, will not elaborate on any. Speculation ranges from the formula of a glue used in maintenance and overhaul to a paint stripping solvent, according to Aviation Europe. BA meanwhile is stepping up its between-flight checks of Concorde surfaces, including the rudders and removing for overhaul even those with only the potential for a problem.
 The newsletter reported that the fleet supposedly was grounded for a few hours immediately after the most recent incident last month while U.K. civil aviation authorities waited for more data on what exactly happened. BA will not confirm the grounding, but a spokesman said that the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority could ground the fleet at any time.
 Earlier this week, the newsletter said BA technicians at London Heathrow Airport removed and began repairing a suspect rudder panel taken from a freshly arrived Concorde. The airplane is undergoing a scheduled intermediate-level check. The repair covered a strip a little more than a yard long and 5 or 6 inches wide, with an extra layer of metal running vertically along the rudder's surface.
 McGraw-Hill's Aviation Week Group markets a comprehensive network of publications, electronic and video services for the multi-billion dollar aviation/aerospace/defense market.
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 /CONTACT: Edmund Pinto, editorial director, 202-822-4646, or Michele Givens, 202-822-4669, both of Aviation Europe/ CO: Aviation Europe; McGraw-Hill ST: District of Columbia IN: PUB AIR SU:


DC -- DC038 -- 5976 04/07/92 17:12 EDT
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Date:Apr 7, 1992
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