“Leaked Images” of Qantas A380 Damage Hit Net


A “leaked” and unconfirmed PDF document first published by Crikey.com purports to show pictures of the damage done to a Qantas A380 on Nov. 4 when it suffered an uncontained engine failure and shed parts over Indonesia. Photos in the document show a failure that sent debris toward the fuselage, gashes in a wing, serious damage to a flight control drive motor, severed wiring, damage to a forward spar and a large fuel pipe that’s torn open. (Click here for images.) The document says the forward spar was “penetrated and is damaged extensively.” The photos have not been officially confirmed by Airbus or Qantas. Separately, Richard Woodward, vice-president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, said of the damage, “The amount of failures is unprecedented.” Qantas grounded its six aircraft fleet of Airbus A380s following the accident but announced Tuesday that it is ready to resume some A380 operations after “extensive checks with Airbus and Rolls-Royce.” The airline is not ready to restart its longest A380 flights and Rolls-Royce is still busy dealing with complications the events have imposed on its supply chain.

Qantas announced Tuesday it would resume trips from Singapore to London. However, it is not ready to resume trips from Los Angeles to Sydney. Those are the longest so far served by the A380 and require heavier fuel loads and full-power takeoffs. Qantas will await the results of further tests of the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines before committing to those flights. Rolls-Royce was reportedly aware of problems with oil leaks in its Trent 900 engines, and made design changes to models shipped after the delivery of those fitted to the Qantas A380s. According to theAustralian.com, Qantas says the manufacturer did not issue a recall of the earlier models, leaving them vulnerable to oil fires in the turbine that could cause parts to overheat and explode under stress. Rolls-Royce has announced a plan to swap out older engines. That means taking new engines back from the Airbus assembly line and forwarding them to airlines that have the older engines already in use.