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Old 26th November 2010, 05:45 AM   #1
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Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

I apologise if some of this is in "glass cockpit pilot speak" but the essence of this article is somewhat worrying when you think what Airbus are trying to get people to believe is their way forward. I was a De Havilland and Boeing pilot but I make no political points in printing this article.

Subject: Fwd: Suddenly, a cruise appeals!

Air force pilot pal sent this
Subject: Suddenly, a cruise appeals!


I received this from a former BA mate; makes interesting reading! So much for automated systems and the 3-man flight deck! Quantas nearly lost their 100% safety record.




Two more A380 accounts that are circulating.

1. Subject: More on the A380 QF 32 Incident




Subject: For the Airbus Chaps
More info on the A 380 Incident:
1. Bus #2 is supposedly automatically powered by Bus #1, in the event of Engine #2 failure - didn't happen.
2. Buses #3 & #4 will supposedly power Bus #2 in the event that the auto transfer from Bus #1 fails - didn't happen.
3. After some time the RAT deployed for no apparent reason, locking out (as a load-shedding function) some still functioning services.
4. One of the frequently recurring messages warned of the aircraft approaching the aft C of G limit, (the procedure calls for transferring fuel forward), the next message advised of fwd transfer pumps being u/s. This sequence occurred repeatedly.
5. Apparently landing/approach speeds are obtained from the FMS, but there weren't anywhere near sufficient fields to load all the defects for speed corrections - the crew loaded what they thought were the most critical ones.
6. The crew commenced an approach NOT because they'd sorted out all the problems but because they were very worried about the 'way-out-of-tolerance', and steadily worsening, lateral imbalance.
7. The aircraft stopped with just over 100 metres or runway left, brakes temps climbed to 900C and fuel pouring out of the ruptured tank. Unable to shutdown #1 engine (as previously mentioned) but elected not to evacuate as the fire services were attending in great numbers.
8. The other comment from the source of the above, (who was on the flight deck), was that the aeroplane did many things they simply didn't understand and/or failed to operate as expected

[Bus , Buses : Electrical term for 'Bus bar' - an electrical distribution point.]




2. Hi All


More info on the Singapore Qantas A380 incident. This was very nearly a major disaster. It was not just an engine failure, uncontained at that. That is something we are all trained to deal with, but this almost cascaded into an uncotrollable situation, read below. The second part of this email you may have read before but it all still makes chilling reading.
Cast you memory back to summer 2007. I am quite convinced that the Air France A330 that was lost over the southern Atlantic a couple of years ago was as the result of flying into the ITCZ at night and in the resulting severe turbulence cascade electrical failures occurred, the crew became overwhelmed and control was lost. In August this year an A321 from British Midland (BMI) went temporarily out of control due to electrical problems causing an uncommanded excursions from level flight. Initially the pilots could not get the aircraft to respond to normal control inputs. Now we have another Airbus product, the QF A380, slowly becoming almost uncontrollable after an engine failure and electrical anomalies. Sorry, but there is a serious message here. These aircraft should be grounded until these potentially disastrous design faults can be rectified and before we have another major accident with loss of life. Any aircraft that requires the combined experience and abilities of all five pilot crew members to stay in the air and not crash has a major design flaw! The writing is on the wall.


Subject: A380


This was a very experienced crew, with over 75 years combined flying experience. (Qantas Long Haul flights dictate a 3 man flight deck crew.- Aircraft Commander, 1st Officer and 2nd Officer. The 2nd Officer was an ex Australian Airforce Instructor)
Also in the cockpit that day were a Check Captain and another Senior B747 Captain doing a conversion to type. Add their combined experience to the mix and there was nearly 130 years experience up there that day.

All were very busy during the emergency, with each taking on a particular task.

A lesser experienced crew would have really been up against it and probably would have been overwhelmed.

Cockpit alarms sounded constantly and the aircraft slowly became tail heavy and right wing heavy as the crew were unable to transfer fuel, period.

The crew struggled for over an hour to stabilize the aircraft.

2 of the 3 electrical Bus 's dropped out and they lost many vital instruments

Eventually the decision was made to get the aircraft down before it became so uncontrollable that even the computers would not have been able to keep it airborne.

Afterwards, the aircraft was described by inspectors as a "Flying Wreck."

No matter what the press say about Qantas, their pilot training is 2nd to none!!!

Below is a summary of what they were up against.





Qantas A380 Was Heavily Damaged

[IMG]aoladp://MA30025066-0001/http__www.avweb.com_newspics_qantasengine.jpg[/IMG]
The Qantas crew whose A380 suffered an uncontained engine failure earlier this month had their hands full in getting the super jumbo back to Singapore. Shrapnel from the engine disabled one of two main hydraulic systems, hampered the fuel transfer system, punched a hole in the forward wing spar and caused a major fuel leak. The cascading nature of such failures meant the pilots couldn't dump enough fuel to bring the aircraft down to its maximum landing weight and the fuel left in the airplane was unbalanced. Flaps, slats and spoilers couldn't be fully deployed and the gear had to be dropped manually. Once it was on the ground, the anti-lock brakes didn't work and, since the damaged engine was an inboard one, there was only one left for reverse thrust (the outboard engines of A380s don't have reversers because they often overhang the grass and might be FOD damaged). The heavy, significantly disabled aircraft needed virtually all of the 13,123 feet of available runway. The whole wing might have to be replaced and the aircraft is expected to be out of commission for months. Meanwhile, the cause of the engine problem has been determined and it's just adding to the PR problems facing manufacturer Rolls-Royce.
According to the Courier Mail, newer versions of the Trent 900 engine installed in aircraft built after the Qantas jet in question had redesigned bearing boxes to prevent the oil leaks that resulted in the engine explosion. Airbus sales chief John Leahy told the paper he wasn't sure if the three airlines that chose the Trent for their A380s, Qantas, Singapore and Lufthansa, knew about the changes and which engines had been upgraded. Other A380 buyers chose the Engine Alliance GP7000.







MORE – SOME YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY SEEN.
Here are just SOME of the problems Richard (Richard ChampionDeCrespigny, the aircraft commander) and his crew had in Singapore last week aboard QF32....

* massive fuel leak in the left mid fuel tank (the beast has 11 tanks, including in the horizontal stabiliser on the tail)
* massive fuel leak in the left inner fuel tank
* a hole on the flap canoe/fairing that you could fit your upper body through
* the aft gallery in the fuel system failed, preventing many fuel transfer functions
* fuel jettison had problems due to the previous problem above
* bloody great hole in the upper wing surface
* partial failure of leading edge slats
* partial failure of speed brakes/ground spoilers
* shrapnel damage to the flaps
* TOTAL loss of all hydraulic fluid in the Green System (beast has 2 x 5,000 PSI systems, Green and Yellow)
* manual extension of landing gear
* loss of 1 generator and associated systems
* loss of brake anti-skid system
* unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using normal method after landing due to major damage to systems
* unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using the fire switch!!!!!!!!
Therefore, no fire protection was available for that engine after the explosion in #2
* ECAM warnings about major fuel imbalance because of fuel leaks on left side, that were UNABLE to be fixed with cross-feeding
* fuel trapped in Trim Tank (in the tail). Therefore, possible major CofG out-of-balance condition for landing. Yikes!
* and much more to come..........

Richard was in the left seat, FO in the right, SO in the 2nd obs seat (right rear, also with his own Radio Management Panel, so he probably did most of the coordination with the ground), Capt Dave Evans in the 1st obs seat (middle). He is a Check & Training Captain who was training Capt Harry Wubbin to be one also.
Harry was in the 3rd obs seat (left rear).
All 5 guys were FLAT OUT, especially the FO who would have been processing complicated 'ECAM' messages and procedures that were seemingly never-ending!





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Old 26th November 2010, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Thanks (I think) for this information David. Extremely disturbing, and just not acceptable design. My wife has flown on the 380 a number of times in relation to work, and I am grateful that she has not been involved in any such life-threatening failures.
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Old 26th November 2010, 07:23 AM   #3
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Thanks David. I have always felt Boeing were better aircraft, but this solidifies what so many of my friends knowing aircraft have said:
if it ain't Boeing, I ain't going.
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Old 26th November 2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

I would guess it's not an "Airbus vs Boeing" argument, rather the reliance on technology that is causing these problems (do Boeing still use cables from the cockpit to the flight controls?....I don't think so)
HUGELY complicated systems (and I get stuck with SKY+)
Bloody scary whatever the cause.

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Old 26th November 2010, 08:44 AM   #5
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Simon, sure on technology, but its how the technology has been developed, applied, and its reliability. Can't believe the RR engines came apart.
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Old 26th November 2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Dom - Sorry about this but apparently one of them did come apart. Allegedly, but the evidence seems hard to refute.
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Old 26th November 2010, 09:45 AM   #7
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Dave, I fully understood that from the news. Given the years of engine design experience within the industry, including its bearing suppliers, its hard to believe. But thank God for a miracle and the guys on the flight deck were so capable.
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Old 26th November 2010, 10:40 AM   #8
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

It's a case of finding what seperated from the core of the engine and had it been subject to some sort of damage either in service (such as a bird ingestion) or during maintenace (remember when the engine attachment bolts were failing in one particular airline and it was attributed to a fork lift driver who used to lift the wing slightly as he was pushing upwards on the engine as it was being installed). It has all the signs of a section or part of the turbine N1/N2 stage but how it went sideways would be one of the questions.
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Old 26th November 2010, 05:22 PM   #9
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

David,
thank you for the reports. Very scary stuff. The passengers and the flight crew have those talented men in the cockpit to thank and that they had enough time to put it on the ground. I too am surprised at the RR failure...was the bearing box outsourced to some overseas supplier I wonder.
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Old 26th November 2010, 05:36 PM   #10
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

David,

Thanks for the info.

My God, from reading the news reports you would have had no idea the trouble that they had!

Thank God for the training and skill of that crew!

I saw an article in Aviation Week where they talked about an oil fire, it's hard to believe than an oil fire could get hot enough to do that type of damage to the core.
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Old 26th November 2010, 05:42 PM   #11
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

As Simon says, it's not about one manufacturer versus another - it seems to be a general malaise infecting the aircraft industry and I'll bet it's about cost/time compeition etc. There are currently problems and delays with the Boeing Dreamliner (787?) and several airlines have switched to AB as a result. For Boeing to have technical design and manufacture problems is almost unheard of and like many others, I would prefer to trust Boeing products over others although my flying days are well and truly over.

Shit doesn't happen very often and when it does it makes big headlines, but seriously, anyone who thinks flying is inherently a safe pastime given the construction, maintenance & performance variables in this day & age is perhaps used to wearing pink glasses...

The safety of flight crews and passengers tomorrow will have been earned by the problems and tragedies of today.

There is no excuse for incompetance, short cuts and cost cutting exercises (AA Chicago DC-10 forklift trucked engines comes to mind) but some of these technical problems cannot be foreseen - until the technology comes of age, which it ain't, yet.

Frankly I'm amazed that these things don't fall out of the sky on a regular basis.. When I flew regularly I expected to die and that was the only way I could fly, otherwise it didn't make any sense..

Thanks for posting David. It really brings home that the guys on the flight deck are sometimes passengers too....
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Old 26th November 2010, 06:28 PM   #12
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

I got a really interesting email from Ian Anderson via Paul Walton. As follows:
Hi Dave,


Hope your well - I got this and thought it may interest you.


p.




Begin forwarded message:
From: "Ian Anderson" <[email protected]>
Date: 26 November 2010 15:42:31 GMT
To: "PDub" <[email protected]>
Subject: FW: QF- A380 Singapore....four reports riveting reading!!!!!!!!!!



ffice:smarttags" name="country-region">ffice:smarttags" name="place">
Hi Paul

I got this and thought you may find it interesting
If you have Dave Morton’s e mail address handy please forward to him

Cheers
Ian



.
Subj: QF- A380 Singapore....four reports riveting reading!!!!!!!!!!








.




Not just your usual engine failure - this was not publicised in the media.




No 1:

[IMG]aoladp://MA30027630-0001/image001.jpg[/IMG]
aa5.jpg

[IMG]aoladp://MA30027630-0002/image002.jpg[/IMG]
qantas_a388_vh-oqa_singapore_101104_7.jpg

[IMG]aoladp://MA30027630-0003/image003.jpg[/IMG]
A380T900-07.jpg

The disk has separated into a classic hoop failure comprising 3 or more pieces.

The piece in the photo measures at about 133 degrees using the planar radii at the rim extended to the center, well within experience for typical tri hub burst.

Scribing circles shows little visual circumferential distortion of the rim or bore indicating rapid burst.

The fracture surface at the right side of the picture indicates planar propagation from the rim to the bore with a transition to tensile overload near the bore.

The fracture surface at the left edge of the picture indicates hoop overload at the bore and planar propagation at the rim.

Due to the sudden change in direction of the fracture surface upper-web it is likely that this fracture surface is secondary and that the direction of this fracture is bore to rim.

Both the planar fracture surfaces terminate or emanate at disk slot bottoms.

The upper surface of the disk bore exhibits tensile overload where the bore tore away from the shaft.


How successful do you estimate their chance of actually making a positive determination of probable cause?


Very high.

It seems that they have the primary fracture surface on this piece. This is extremely valuable. It is usual that the surface is heavily damaged or at least smeared at the origin. After visual and SEM analysis, which may be able to characterize the type and rate of propagation depending on surface condition, the fracture will be sectioned away from the surface allowing verification of material properties very near the origin. When this work is completed there will be only a small number of unknowns and other evidence will assist in narrowing the root cause tree.

It will be possible quite quickly to design an effective control plan based on this evidence. This could range from soft time inspections, to fixed interval inspections, to a changed hard time LLP life limit, or combination. Such control plans will automatically attract ADs due to the nature of the failure consequence.

Almost regardless of the actual root cause, subsequent corrective action will take longer just because of the cycle time to design, certify, manufacture and retrofit a change, if appropriate.


No 2:
Here are a couiple of pics of debris recovered on the ground on the Indonesian island:

[IMG]aoladp://MA30027630-0004/image004.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]aoladp://MA30027630-0005/image005.jpg[/IMG]



No 3:




Here are just SOME of the problems Richard had in


Singapore last week aboard QF32.... I won't bother mentioning the engine


explosion!.... oops...mentioned the engine explosion, sorry.....





* massive fuel leak in the left mid fuel tank (the beast has 11 tanks,


including in the horizontal stabilizer on the tail)


* massive fuel leak in the left inner fuel tank


* a


hole on the flap canoe/fairing that you could fit your upper body


through


* the aft gallery in the fuel system failed, preventing many fuel transfer


functions


* fuel jettison had problems due to the previous problem above


* bloody great hole in


the upper wing surface


* partial failure of leading edge slats


* partial failure of speed brakes/ground


spoilers


* shrapnel damage to the flaps


* TOTAL loss of all hydraulic fluid in the Green System (beast has 2 x


5,000 PSI systems, Green and Yellow)


* manual extension of landing gear


* loss of 1 generator and associated systems


* loss of brake anti-skid system


* unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using normal method after landing


due to major damage to


systems





* unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using using the fire switch!!!!!!!!


Therefore, no fire protection was available for that engine after the


explosion in #2


* ECAM warnings about major fuel imbalance because of fuel leaks on left


side, that were UNABLE to be fixed with cross-feeding


* fuel trapped in Trim Tank (in the tail). Therefore, possible major


C of G out-of-balance condition for landing. Yikes!


* and much more to come..........





Richard was in the left seat, F/O in the right, S/O in the 2nd obs seat


right rear, also with his own Radio Management Panel, so he probably did


most of the coordination with the ground, Capt Dave Evans in the 1st obs


seat (middle). He is a Check & Training


Captain who was


training Harry Wubbin to be one also. Harry was in the 3rd obs seat


(left rear).





All 5 guys were FLAT OUT, especially the F/O who would have been


processing complicated 'ECAM' messages and procedures that were seemingly


never-ending!
I sent this to Pete, thus:








And he replied:
(No 4



I had some drinks yesterday with the F/O (Matt Hicks), S/O (Mark Johnson) and Training Captain under training (Harry Wubbin).

Harry was actually in the middle seat I think with Dave Evens in the third observers spot. Mind you within a few seconds it sounds like all the guys in the back were up and looking closely at what was going on (the view from the corners is not very good).

That list looks about right from what I've heard but they also had no auto thrust, engines 1 and 4 in degraded mode and for some reason the ECAM called for some of the yellow system hydraulic pumps associated with the number 4 engine to be turned off. It took 50 minutes to work through the ECAMs before they could get to the Status stage where the checklists are done and you can think about the state of play. Apparently at one point in the process the ECAM called for a Fuel Quantity Management System reset which, after being completed, threw up all the fuel problem checklists again even though they'd been dealt with already. They went through them much more quickly the second time but it sounded like it was getting depressing that it felt like it would never end.

Approach speed was around 165 knots and they got a "SPEED SPEED" auto call at one point. At the end of the landing roll there was a big sigh of relief until they were told that fuel was gushing out of the wing and heading towards the brakes which were indicating 900 degrees. Then it was adrenalin back on again. Once given the go ahead, the firies laid down foam and got that under control. Engine 1 was still going when the crew left. Apparently it took two fire trucks flooding the engine with foam to stop it.

This will be a good investigation.



I'm dammed if I can get the pictures to show
DM











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Old 26th November 2010, 06:41 PM   #13
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Here you go Dave, in order to the script above..

Not for the Faint of Heart









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Old 26th November 2010, 07:02 PM   #14
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Fascinating stuff. When I worked for the FAA, we always received very detailed analyses of incidents, including root causes, computer simulation of cockpit window visualization, and recordings. So this stuff is always highly interesting reading. It's unfortunate that the details and potential for tragedy were gloss over for the public.
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Old 26th November 2010, 10:30 PM   #15
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Terry,
I'm sure the truth will come out albeit some time to go before all the facts are in and the all the conjecture is laid to rest. The ramifications about the systems failures and
the lack of QRH drills (Quick Reference Handbook - a Boeing term for the emergency
checklists) or what ever Airbus Industries(AI) call their book means to me that AI
never thought these systems would ever become critical for an aeroplane to remain in the air. Either that or they never thought things through enough before rushing this aeroplane into service. Now that it is back in service I'm sure there will be loads of Airworthiness directives and in depth inspections being complied with and loads of new Aircrew Notices or what ever each company flying the A380 calls their notices
with new drills and procedures. Will the simulators be able to replicate the problems ?
I doubt it without some major software rewrites and changes. I have to say I am glad I am retired now and I really take my hat off to the five Qantas pilots who sorted this out. They are real heroes who, much like Captain Sullenberger and F/O Skoles in the New York ditching, really stepped up to the plate. They were found to be brilliant on the day.
What of AI? Have they hoodwinked the aviation world? Maybe.
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Old 27th November 2010, 12:35 AM   #16
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

What concerns me more and more with each iteration of improvement (I use that term loosely in regards to dash instrumentation - I don't like glass cockpits), is training and simulation and pilot knowledge no longer is the sole realm of physics and mechanics, but now must include software, with no practical time in an emergency analyze the situation for a rational response. More and more flying seems to be done by "rules" rather than "knowledge" simply because of the huge amount of information that must be solidly linked to pilot skill. We make our tools more and more sophisticated, which to me may one day prevent pilots from having a good grasp on on the situational awareness in the “noise” of inputs the pilot must evaluate. And yet we are after this, still human.
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Old 27th November 2010, 05:36 AM   #17
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Good points Terry. I remember when the 747.400 first arrived in BA. One of the most commonly heard trmarks on the flight deck was "What the hell is it doing now" and I also remember a 737.300 (Glass Cockpit) inbound to Gatwick who was cleared to descend and didn't. When the controller queried him , the pilot said "yes - we both heard you but the aeroplane didn't. It doesn't seem to want to listen"
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Old 27th November 2010, 05:48 AM   #18
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

David,
I came across this website relating to this incident:

The Anatomy of the Airbus A380 QF32 near disaster – Plane Talking

Looks hair raising stuff:

The implication that RR knew of the primary fault!
The implication that older generations of airframes would not have survived such damage


It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this information!
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Old 27th November 2010, 06:56 AM   #19
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

From the comments and this was also published in a previous report, this is on of the most worrying aspects of this incident.
6 The crew commenced an approach NOT because they’d sorted out all the problems but because they were very worried about the way-out-of-tolerance and steadily worsening lateral imbalance.
7 The aircraft stopped with just over 100 metres or runway left, brakes temps climbed to 900C and fuel pouring out of the ruptured tank. Unable to shutdown #1 engine (as previously mentioned) but elected not to evacuate as the fire services were attending in great numbers.
8 The other comment from the source of the above (who was on the flight deck) was that the aeroplane did many things they simply didn’t understand and/or failed to operate as expected.

Qantas nearly had the largest single aeroplane accident sice records began.

That an aeroplane engine could not be shut down by operating the fire handle
is a serious implication of design philosophy PREVALENT in AI.
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Old 27th November 2010, 06:29 PM   #20
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Re: Some of the details now emerging from the Qanta A380 incident.

Also scary that a Jetstar (subsidiary of Qantas) Pilot was sacked last week for going public about the dangers of Qantas and Jetstar outsourcing their aircraft maintenance to save $$$.
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