The FAA today issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on Airbus A330s and A340s that requires replacing certain Thales Avionics pitot probes with certain Goodrich or newer-design Thales probes. The AD requires compliance within 120 days. It intends to prevent airspeed discrepancies, which could lead to disconnect of the autopilot and/or auto-thrust functions and consequent increased pilot workload. Airspeed indication discrepancies could lead to limitations of the flight control authority, which, depending on the airplane’s altitude and weather, could result in reduced control.
In the U.S., only Northwest Airlines and US Airways operate A330s (43 total). No U.S. operator flies A340s. According to the FAA, the worldwide fleet of A330 and A340s totals 302. On August 31, EASA issued its own AD to require the pitot tube replacements. The effective date for the EASA AD is Sept. 7, 2009.