WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board (search) will announce within two months the findings of its investigation into the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 (search), which killed 265 people on Nov. 12, 2001.
NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the investigation has been completed and a hearing to discuss the probable cause will be held before the third anniversary of the accident.
"We're very close," said Engleman Conners, who did not discuss any findings.
Flight 587 plunged into a New York neighborhood 103 seconds after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport (search), killing all 260 passengers and five people on the ground.
Investigators believe a series of sharp rudder movements caused the Airbus A300-600's tailfin to break off shortly after takeoff for a flight headed to the Dominican Republic (search).
The investigation's central question has been whether the pilot used the rudder improperly or if the movements were caused by a flaw in the flight controls' design.
The probe has been characterized by fingerpointing between American Airlines and Airbus. The airline has accused Airbus of withholding information about similar incidents; Airbus has said the pilots operated the plane improperly.
Engleman Conners said that back-and-forth has not hampered the investigation. "We are very focused on our investigation," she said. "The goal is to find the probable cause."