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Qantas: Progress On A380 Woes

  • December 5th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

qf32-engine-failure.jpgQantas has started legal proceedings seeking a settlement with the Rolls Royce company over the trouble it’s been having with the company’s Trent 900 engines, in the new Airbus 380 airliner.

After the explosion in Engine No. 2, on an aircraft just out of Singapore on 4.11.10, the airline stood down its fleet of six of the huge aeroplanes – the world’s largest passenger planes – with Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines carrying out their own safety procedures with similar aircraft.

As they were coming back into service, last week, an interim report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommended further maintenance moves (1.12.10), causing a fresh pause, as planes back in service went into the workshop to get it done – and a fresh start began with a flight from Sydney to London at the week’s end.

The Bureau report indicated a possible early fatigue crack in an oil pipe was the likely cause of the failure; it also praised the handling of the failure by the Qantas air crew, saying their actions had brought about the safe return of the stricken plane

A full report is to be published next year.

In the meantime Qantas says the legal process it has started is meant to get a settlement with Rolls Royce, as supplier of the Trent 900 engines, which will make good its losses.

It says it will sue the British-based company if the opening proceedings are unsuccessful.

airbus-a380.jpgREAD the ATSB summary of its Interim Report,1.12.10.

Inflight engine failure – Qantas, Airbus A380, VH-OQA, overhead Batam Island, Indonesia, 4 November 2010

Investigation Number:AO-2010-089

Investigation status:Active

Investigation in progress


On 4 November 2010, at 0157 Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), an Airbus A380 aircraft, registered VH-OQA (OQA), being operated as Qantas flight 32, departed from runway 20 centre (20C) at Changi Airport, Singapore for Sydney, New South Wales. On board the aircraft were five flight crew, 24 cabin crew and 440 passengers (a total of 469 persons on board).

Following a normal takeoff, the crew retracted the landing gear and flaps. The crew reported that, while maintaining 250 kts in the climb and passing 7,000 ft above mean sea level, they heard two almost coincident ‘loud bangs’, followed shortly after by indications of a failure of the No 2 engine.

The crew advised Singapore Air Traffic Control of the situation and were provided with radar vectors to a holding pattern. The crew undertook a series of actions before returning the aircraft to land at Singapore. There were no reported injuries to the crew or passengers on the aircraft. There were reports of minor injuries to two persons on Batam Island, Indonesia.

A subsequent examination of the aircraft indicated that the No 2 engine had sustained an uncontained failure of the Intermediate Pressure (IP) turbine disc. Sections of the liberated disc penetrated the left wing and the left wing-to-fuselage fairing, resulting in structural and systems damage to the aircraft.

As a result of this occurrence, a number of safety actions were immediately undertaken by Qantas, Airbus, Rolls-Royce plc and the European Aviation Safety Agency. On 1 December 2010, the ATSB issued a safety recommendation to Rolls-Royce plc in respect of the Trent 900 series engine high pressure/intermediate pressure bearing structure oil feed stub pipes. In addition, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority issued a Regulation 38 maintenance direction that addressed the immediate safety of flight concerns in respect of Qantas A380 operations with the Trent 900 series engine. On 2 December 2010, Qantas advised that the requirements of Rolls-Royce plc Service Bulletin RB211-72-G595 would take place within the next 24 hours on engines in place on A380 aircraft currently in service, and before further flight on engines on aircraft not yet returned to service.

The investigation is continuing.


Australian Government, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Aviation safety investigations and reports: Inflight engine failure – Qantas, Airbus A380, VH-OQA, overhead Batam Island, Indonesia, 4.11.10. (5.12.10).

Pictures  ATSB, Airbus Industrie