Manufacturing fault suspected in A380s

2010-12-02 10:11

kalahari.com

  • Air Travel and Health
    ir Travel and Health offers guidance to engineers designing aircraft in the difficult field of... Now R1,206.00
    buy now
Sydney - Australian officials investigating the mid-air disintegration of an engine on a Qantas superjumbo said on Thursday they identified a potential manufacturing defect in Rolls-Royce engines used in 20 A380s worldwide that could cause engine failure.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said it recommended a new round of safety checks for aircraft fitted with the engines, and that Rolls-Royce, affected airlines and other safety regulators were taking action to ensure the A380s involved were safe to fly.

The ATSB has been leading the investigation into the disintegration of a Trent 900 on a Qantas A380 shortly it took off from Singapore on November 4. Shrapnel speared through the wing, caused structural and other damage that set off a cascade of problems for the pilots before they made a safe emergency landing in Singapore.

Three airlines using Trent 900 engines have conducted extensive checks and modified some parts since European regulators issued a safety directive following the November 4 blowout - the most serious problem for the world's largest and newest jetliner.

But ATSB safety bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said on Thursday's safety recommendation was based on a conclusion reached only a day earlier, in conjunction with Rolls-Royce, as investigators prepared to release their preliminary report into the Qantas incident.

"We considered it was a sufficiently significant safety issue that we should immediately release it to parties who were operating with these engines," Dolan said on Thursday.

Counter-boring problem

In a statement, the ATSB said there is "a potential manufacturing defect" with an oil tube connection in the Trent 900 engine.

"The problem relates to the potential for misaligned oil pipe counter-boring, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire," the statement said.

It recommended close inspection of engines "and the removal from service of any engine which displays the counter-boring problem".

The European Aviation Safety Authority issued an emergency order on November 11 requiring airlines to re-examine their Trent 900s and ground any aircraft with suspicious oil leaks.

It said a preliminary probe showed an oil fire broke out in the section housing the turbines - shafts that power the engine when they are spun at great speeds by combusting jet fuel. An oil pump and network of tubes lubricate and cool the turbines.

EASA said the blaze may have caused the breakup of the intermediate pressure turbine disc, a heavy metal plate that holds the blades of the middle of three turbines.

Grounded aircraft

Turbine engines are known to generate vibrations that can cause parts to wear prematurely. The EASA order indicated that oil tubes may have fractured as a result of such vibrations and spewed oil in an extremely hot section of the engine, causing a fire.

The resulting heat could have caused the rotor to which the turbine blades are attached to expand, bringing the turbine blades into contact with the casing that encloses the engine.

The ATSB statement refers to the same part of the engine as the European directive, and goes further than the EASA's directive by attributing the problem to a likely manufacturing defect.

Qantas grounded its fleet of six superjumbos immediately after the November 4 incident while it conducted exhaustive checks and modifications, including replacing 16 Trent 900 engines. The Australian airline returned two A380s to service last weekend.

The airline said on Thursday it would conduct detailed one-off inspections as a result of the ATSB recommendation.

But Qantas spokesperson Simon Rushton said the airline was not pulling its A380s from service and the latest checks were not expected to interrupt services.

Two other airlines use Trent 900 engines on their A380s 0 Singapore Airlines, which has 11 of the superjumbos, and Germany's Lufthansa, which has three.

- AP
Read more on:    singapore airlines  |  lufthansa  |  qantas  |  air travel
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.