Earlier this month EASA issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-0144 affecting certain aircraft with Gogo‘s 2Ku inflight connectivity kit installed. Air vortices created by the 2Ku radome on certain A330 and A340 installations cause excessive vibration in the ELT antenna. This potentially “shakes” the ELT antenna loose or causes structural issues in the fuselage.
Some cases of high noise level in the aft cabin section of the fuselage were reported. Subsequent inspections of the ELT antenna installation and the surrounding fuselage structure showed cases where the ELT antenna was found loose, with damaged fixations and elongated holes. In addition, cracks were found in the ELT antenna bores and in the underlying fuselage skin and internal doubler. Analysis revealed that the ELT antenna installation can experience oscillating vibration loads, leading to the reported high noise level and also resulting in damage of the ELT antenna and its surrounding structure. This vibration could be explained by a vortex, created by the shape of 2KU-Band antenna radome, installed in front of the ELT antenna by Airbus STC 10062892 (A330) or STC 10064120 (A340) as applicable.
Fortunately the issue was discovered relatively quickly, the number of aircraft affected is low and a revised installation process is expected to be in place in the near future.
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