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Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is urging the government to reopen its investigation into the fatal crash of a jetliner in Queens, saying new information suggests weak material in the tail, rather than pilot error, might have been to blame.

American Airlines Flight 587 crashed moments after takeoff from Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 12, 2001, killing all 260 people on the plane, as well as five on the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board found that the tail had fallen off, and ruled last year that the crash was caused by pilot error, inadequate pilot training and overly sensitive rudder controls.

But the debate over Flight 587 was renewed last month after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive affecting Airbus A310s and A300-600s. After a March 6 incident in which most of the rudder fell off an A310 in flight, the FAA ordered U.S. airlines to inspect the rudders.

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