September 3, 2008 / 11:29 PM / 11 years ago

Flaps not extended on ill-fated Spanair jet: report

Smoke rises from the scene of the crash where a plane skidded off the runway and crashed at Madrid's Barajas airport on August 20, 2008. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wing flaps on a Spanair jetliner that crashed in Spain last month killing 154 people were not fully extended before take off, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Citing people familiar with the investigation, the Journal said preliminary information from the MD-82’s flight data recorder shows the movable flaps on the rear of the wings were not properly positioned. The flaps provide extra lift.

Information from the “black box” data recorder also indicates that both engines were working properly and there was no fire before impact into a ravine at the edge of the Madrid airport runway, the sources told the newspaper.

But the Journal also said investigators wanted to know why a loud horn designed to alert the crew to equipment problem apparently did not sound.

They were also checking why the unextended flaps apparently were not noticed during the pilots’ routine pre-departure equipment check.

The August 20 accident was Spain’s worst air crash in 25 years. Eighteen people survived.

Investigators were not expected to reach conclusions for some time, and the probe could still yield other results.

The MD-80 family is manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, which is now part of Boeing Co. Spanair is owned by Scandanavia’s SAS.

Reporting by Joanne Allen and John Crawley, editing by Alan Elsner

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