QANTAS Grounds A380 Fleet


#1

Sounds like an uncontained engine failure?

A superjumbo jet made an emergency landing in Singapore with 459 people aboard, after one of its four engines failed over western Indonesia and following witness reports of a blast that sent debris hurtling to the ground.

FULL STORY


#2

discussions.flightaware.com/view … 0&start=25


#3

Video from German site - shot by passenger.


#4

Looks Swedish to me.


#5

Translation of the SWEDISH by Google Translate (not perfect translation but you get the meaning)

"There was a large hole through the wing"
Swede Stefan was on board the Airbus

The aircraft had been in the air for about twenty minutes when it suddenly slammed into.

  • At first I thought it was something that had exploded in the cabin, "says Swedish Stefan who was aboard the Airbus A380 for Aftonbladet.

He is one of the 459 people who were aboard the plane en route from Singapore to Sydney when the engine exploded.

  • It slapped, a really big bang! Light and televisions went out on the left side of the cabin.

Since the explosion occurred during the day, it was still light in the cabin and Stefan, who was sitting near the window could look like. He could not believe his eyes when he saw what had happened.

  • I look out and see the wing. On the left wing, about three yards out, I see a hole that goes straight through. The hole is perhaps 30 times 5 centimeters wide, as if a large knife had gone right through the wing. A large piece of metal is torn up.
    Kept quiet

He says that the passengers became worried by the explosion but that it nevertheless managed to remain calm.

  • Most probably felt a sharp discomfort but all did not see the hole in the wing. We who sat next saw it but kept quiet so as not to panic would spread board.

The plane forced to land at the airport in Singapore.

  • We had to circulate and dropping out of fuel before we could land, "says Stefan.

He says that after the plane had landed could see more damage.

  • When it appeared that the engine was broken and there was two square plate at the rear of the engine where the jet stream blowing out.
    A bit shocked

Now is he and his companion at the airport in Singapore.

  • All of us who traveled by plane have been collected in a gate and offered to management and those who want to get to fly on.

Self planning Stefan to travel further as soon as possible.

  • Yes, I travel on. It could have gone much worse than it did. I am a bit shocked but that is all. I have flown a lot so I’m not afraid.

Stefan tells me that they have been told that the explosion probably was caused by a technical fault.

  • You do not know yet what caused the explosion but it is suspected that the turbine blades in jet engine which has been unloaded.

#6

Never ever slap a Trent 900.


#7

I was tracking a couple of the Qantas 380’s Wednesday night right before this happened, but now when I go back I don’t see the history anyway. Anyone know what happened with the tracking?


#8

Which page were you looking at? The airline fleet and aircraft type pages only track current flights, but the individual flight pages include 4 months of history.


#9

I was looking at it from the aircraft type link. Guess that explains it. First time I’ve ever tracked the 380 like that…probably missed the turn around by minutes.


#10

Actually…they say it was QFA 32, but that history ends in August… Is this another example of not getting a notice?


#11

EASA has now issued an AD (effective 10th Nov) calling for new inspection requirements for the Trent 900:

STORY

EASA Orders New Trent 900 Inspections

Nov 10, 2010
By Robert Wall wall@aviationweek.com
LONDON

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive (AD) effective Nov. 10 mandating new inspection requirements for Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines powering Airbus A380s. The action was taken after an uncontained engine failure on a Trent 900 powering a Qantas A380 on Nov. 4. Since then, several oil problems on Trent 900s have been found by operators.

The EASA directive states that "An uncontained engine failure has recently occurred on a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 involving release of high energy debris and leading to damage to the aeroplane.

"Analysis of the preliminary elements from the incident investigation shows that an oil fire in the HP/IP [high pressure/intermediate pressure] structure cavity may have caused the failure of the Intermediate Pressure Turbine (IPT) Disc.

"This condition, if not detected, could ultimately result in uncontained engine failure potentially leading to damage to the aeroplane and hazards to persons or property on the ground.

"For the reasons described above and pending conclusion of the incident investigation, this AD requires repetitive inspections of the Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) stage 1 blades and case drain, HP/IP structure air buffer cavity and oil service tubes in order to detect any abnormal oil leakage, and if any discrepancy is found, to prohibit further engine operation.

“The requirements of this AD are considered as interim action. If, as a result of the on-going incident investigation, a terminating action is later identified, further mandatory actions might be considered.”

As a result, the regulator is requiring operators to carry out extended ground idle runs, inspections of the low-pressure turbine stage 1 blades and case drain, and inspection of the high pressure and intermediate pressure structure air buffer cavity and oil service tubes.

If a problem is found, “any further engine operation is prohibited,” EASA says.

For on-wing engines, inspections are required within 10 flight cycles of the AD taking effect, and then at intervals of no more than 20 flight cycles. For in-shop powerplants, the inspection requirement is after an engine test procedure and before the next flight.

In addition to Qantas, which has its A380s grounded, Singapore and Lufthansa are changing some of their Trent 900s, although the latter says it is unrelated to the Qantas problem.

BL.


#12

Found this at The Age this morning. Interesting read.

Qantas flight crisis revealed

Andrew Heasley, Matt O’Sullivan
December 4, 2010

AIR safety investigators have revealed the extent of the crisis faced by the crew of the Qantas A380 forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore after an engine explosion last month.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has handed down its first official account of the explosion, finding an oil fire inside the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine caused a heavy turbine disc to disintegrate and burst through the engine casing.

The investigators said that five minutes after takeoff from Singapore on November 4, the thrust from the superjumbo’s No. 2 engine started to fluctuate, followed 10 seconds later by an explosion. Shrapnel tore through wiring and hydraulic lines to flight systems, knocked out the plane’s satellite communications and caused a fuel leak, triggering a barrage of alarms in the cockpit.

“Reverse thrust was only available from the No. 3 engine, no leading edge slats were available, there was limited aileron and spoiler control, anti-skid braking was restricted to the body landing gear only, there was limited nose wheel steering and the nose was likely to pitch up on touchdown,” investigators reported.

The plane was 50 tonnes overweight as damage to the fuel system meant the crew could not jettison fuel. The flight computer indicated maximum braking could not be applied until the nose wheel was on the runway. That left pilots facing the prospect of being unable to stop the plane on the Changi Airport runway.

After the autopilot function faltered, Captain Richard de Crespigny decided to fly the stricken craft in manually from 1000 feet. He managed to get the main wheels down on the runway and the damaged front wheels six seconds later, and then threw the No. 3 engine into maximum reverse thrust, pulling up the aircraft with just 150 metres to spare.

ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan said the aircraft would not have landed safely “without the focused and effective action of the flight crew”.

Nice job by the pilots on this.

BL.


#13

Qantas stated there were five pilots on board with a combined, 72,000 hours of flight experience.

For more info, click here from Australian Aviation Safety bureau.


#14

Agreed. The more that is revealed about this incident, the more it looks like a major disaster skilfully averted.


#15

And the fun continues…

STORY

Qantas under hammer with another fault in new engine

Matt O’Sullivan
December 9, 2010

QANTAS’S headaches over its fleet of A380 aircraft have been compounded after a defect was found in a newer engine on one of its superjumbos, which is still on the factory floor in France.

The discovery of what is believed be a faulty oil tube in one of the new plane’s Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines has forced the manufacturer to change it, delaying slightly the transfer of ownership of the next superjumbo to Qantas at Airbus’s plant in Toulouse.

Qantas is also due to take delivery of another new A380 - its eighth since 2008 - this month, but its fleet manager has conceded in an email to pilots that “we will be lucky to see it in service by Christmas”.

The airline is desperate to take delivery of the new A380s so that it can fill gaps left in its network by the grounding of most of its existing superjumbo fleet. Only two of its six existing A380s have returned to service since a midair engine explosion on a Qantas superjumbo on November 4.

“One step forward and two back! We can’t take a trick in getting more aircraft into the air and back into service,” Qantas’s fleet manager said in the email to pilots on Tuesday.

The latest revelation comes as Rolls-Royce’s lawyers failed to turn up at the Federal Court in Sydney yesterday to hear Qantas’s compensation case against the British company.

However, Qantas’s lawyers submitted to the court a letter from Rolls-Royce calling for parts of an affidavit detailing arrangements between the two companies to be kept confidential after the Herald made a request for access to the document on Tuesday.

Merrill Lynch estimated yesterday that the grounding could cost Qantas as much as $207 million - $70 million in repair costs and $137 million in lost revenue.

The Qantas fleet manager’s email reveals the extent of the troubles the airline is having in managing its worldwide network, as he highlighted “why it has been so difficult to come up with a long-term plan”.

“As soon as we have some certainty around aircraft availability and firm scheduling we will release a plan where we can tell you when you are likely to fly again,” he wrote to pilots.

Qantas declined to respond to questions from the Herald yesterday.

Insiders believe it could be months before Qantas can return the A380s to service between Australia and Los Angeles, one of its two key international routes.

The latest headaches are also said to highlight Qantas’s decision early this decade to bet on both the A380 and Boeing’s long-delayed 787 Dreamliners as the core of its replacement aircraft.

Qantas has said in court documents that it would be “uncommercial” to fly its A380s between Australia and the US while engine thrust restrictions imposed by Rolls-Royce remained in place. It means the superjumbos will be able to carry only 80 passengers instead of the usual 450.

Qantas has been forced to operate more of its ageing fleet of 747-400s - some of which are due to be retired shortly - on the US route.

They are less appealing than the A380s because they lack products such as lie-flat beds in business class. The other three airlines on the route have lie-flat beds in their business cabins.

Qantas has two A380s flying the Sydney-Singapore-London route but its other four remain grounded.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said yesterday that three out of 45 Rolls-Royce engines checked since an order was made on December 2 had failed inspections.

Makes you wonder why SIA’s SIN-LAX route is making the stop at NRT, and is following the route over the Aleutian Islands to the US.

BL.


#16

SIA has two existing services, SIN-NRT-LAX on a 3 cabin B744 and SIN-LAX on an all business A345. The decision to upgrade the B744 flight instead of the A345 flight is unrelated to A380 reliability; it’s for payload and economic reasons.

The A380 passenger only range (with max rated engines) isn’t enough to cover the nonstop with typical winds, so in addition to no cargo they’d have to take a limited passenger load.

They have full fifth freedom rights for SIN-NRT-LAX and they carry many passengers on just one of the two legs. They tried the SIN-LAX nonstop with a 3 cabin A345 configuration and found it was more profitable to go all business.


#17

The oil tube is acknowledged by RR to be an intermittent manufacturing defect. It won’t be on every engine but it’s not really a surprise to find one on a unit already delivered to Airbus. One hopes those coming out of Derby from now on won’t have it though.

Elsewhere QF has now stated mid-January as the earliest redeployment of its A380s.

ETA: update from AvHerald

Dec 2nd Rolls Royce released a new revision of its non-modification service bulletin (NMSB) 72-G595 defining assessment and engine rejection criteria for the measurement of potential oil feed stub pipes counter-bore misalignment. At the same time the NMSB tightened the compliance time frame from 20 to 2 flight cycles.

Since issue of the NMSB 45 Trent 900 engines have been inspected (standing Dec 8th):

29 engine were installed on operating aircraft
8 engines were not installed on aircraft
4 engines were about to be delivered
4 engines were on a flight test aircraft

Of these 45 engines 3 engines failed the inspection and were removed from service for further examination. All Qantas engines currently flying were found with no defects and remain in service.


#18

Saw this flight arrive today at LAX: flightaware.com/live/flight/QFA1 … /YSSY/KLAX

Was this first flight for the resumed A380 service?


#19

I believe so… however, they did just blow an another RR on QFA11:

theage.com.au/travel/travel- … 19si8.html

QANTAS has had another safety scare, this time on a Boeing 747, on the same weekend its Airbus A380 super-jumbos resumed normal service to the US.

Flight QF11 from Sydney to Los Angeles, carrying 344 passengers, was preparing for take-off on Saturday when an engine sustained a “contained turbine blade failure”.

Passengers on the 747 described hearing “a loud bang” and watched black smoke pour out of the engine. The captain then reportedly announced that the engine had “cooked itself”.

The passengers were put on a second plane which departed about four hours later.

A Qantas spokeswoman said yesterday the Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine would be replaced and the aircraft would be in service shortly.

BL.


#20

And another one, a Quantas 747 had to divert to Fiji:

nbclosangeles.com/news/local … 74479.html