Qantas A380 likely lost engine disk

Sydney
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The number two engine on the Qantas Airways A380 involved in Thursday's incident likely lost its engine rotor disk, Qantas general manager David Epstein confirms.

"There doesn't appear to be a disk there at the moment. Virtually that entire area, the intermediate chamber of the engine, has disappeared," he says.

Although local footage shows engine parts landed on Indonesia, Epstein says Qantas has not had access to the debris.

He adds that the Indonesian transportation safety board only recently "managed to get the Indonesian police to secure custody of just about everything they found".

Qantas flight QF32 experienced an uncontained engine failure approximately six minutes en route to Sydney from Singapore, forcing it to turn back to Changi Airport. During the failure the engine cowling fell off. Engine cases have to be designed to contain a failed blade but not a failed turbine disk, according to the US National Transportation Safety Board.

"The risk of an unconfined disk failure is mitigated by designing disks as safety-critical parts, defined as the parts of the engine whose failure is likely to present a direct hazard to the aircraft," the NTSB said in a safety recommendation brief earlier this year.

Epstein was unable to confirm if the aircraft, VH-OQA, lost its green hydraulic system as a result of the uncontained failure. During landing at Singapore only half the aircraft's spoilers appeared to be working, engine number one reportedly could not be shut down, and gear doors were fully open - malfunctions suggesting an inoperative green hydraulic system.

"We haven't been able to verify that because the flight data recorders are now in the possession of the Australian Transportation Safety Board," Epstein says.