HONG KONG -- In an customer memorandum dated Wednesday, November 17, Airbus's Toulouse-based Flight Safety Department issued an incremental update to its findings on Qantas Flight 32. The brief memo is a clear, if not directly stated, defense of the A380's redundancy following the QF32 investigation into the uncontained failure of the aircraft's number two Trent 900 engine.
The report also adds additional technical color on the state of the aircraft after the engine failure and its publication comes a day after other internal Airbus reports were leaked illustrating the extent of the damage sustained by VH-OQA.
A380 / RR TRENT 900 - QANTAS VH-OQA INCIDENT ON 4th NOVEMBER 2010.
FROM : AIRBUS FLIGHT SAFETY DEPARTMENT TOULOUSE
Subject: A380 / RR Trent 900 - Qantas VH-OQA incident on 4th November 2010
Our ref.: QF32 AIT 3, dated 17th November 2010
This AIT is an update of the AIT 2 following the in-flight engine failure during flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney, on 4th November 2010.
This AIT has been approved for release by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) who leads the on-going ICAO Annex 13 investigation.
The second RR inspection program applicable to the Trent 900 engine family and covered by EASA Engine Airworthiness Directive has been published allowing continuous operations of the fleet. Together with its partners, Airbus is providing support to the operators for engine logistics to minimize interruptions to the fleet.
One single high energy fragment is considered from a certification requirement viewpoint. The damage assessment has established that the IPT disk released 3 different high energy fragments, resulting in some structural and systems damage, with associated ECAM warnings. Therefore the crew had to manage a dynamic situation.
Despite the situation, amongst the various available systems supporting the crew to operate the aircraft and return safely to Singapore were:
- Flaps remained available (slats were jammed retracted).
- All flight control surfaces remained available on the pitch and yaw axis.
- The roll control was ensured through: (a) on the left wing: inner aileron, spoilers 1, 3, 5 and 7; (b) on the right wing: mid and inner ailerons, spoilers 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
- The flight control laws reverted to Alternate law due to the loss of the slats and of some roll control surfaces. Normal law was kept on longitudinal and lateral axes.
- Flight envelope protections were still active.
- The autopilot was kept engaged till about 700 feet Radio Altimeter, time at which the crew took over manually. Flight Directors were ON.
- Manual control of engines 1, 3 & 4 was maintained till aircraft stop.
- Landing in SIN took place about 1 hour 40 minutes after the engine 2 failure with flaps in
- Normal braking was available on both body landing gears with antiskid, and alternate braking without antiskid on both wing landing gears. The crew modulated braking in order to stop close to emergency services.
- After the aircraft came to a stop, the reason engine 1 could not be shut down has been determined: 2 segregated wiring routes were cut by 2 out of the 3 individual disk debris.
Airbus continues to work in support of the on-going investigation to complete the detailed analysis.
An update to operators will be provided as soon as further consolidated information is available.