Evidence of damage to the upper surface of the wing of the Qantas Airbus A380 involved in an emergency landing in Singapore indicates a puncturing effect from high-speed debris during the event.

It is uncertain whether the ejected debris, which clearly inflicted damage to the left wing's leading edge inboard of the number two powerplant, might have also affected the wing fuel tanks on the aircraft involved.

Investigators have yet to determine the origin of the failure which resulted in the rear shroud of the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 being torn off the aircraft in flight.

Qantas A380 engine failure wing puncture
© PA
Damage to the lower and upper surfaces of the leading edge of the wing is clearly visable
Qantas A380 engine failure wing puncture
The upper surface damage pictured from within the aircraft

Preliminary photographic evidence shows blackening behind the join to the forward nacelle section, in line with the low-pressure section of the engine, although the shroud failure left exposed the rear 'hot' section, including the high-pressure compressor and turbine.

Images of the aircraft on the ground at Singapore show the A380's main landing-gear doors are also open, whereas they would have been retracted during a normal approach and touchdown.

The significance of this, and the apparently retracted leading-edge slats, is unclear.

Investigators have recently been probing another uncontained Rolls-Royce engine failure on a Qantas flight, involving an RB211 on a Boeing 747-400 out of San Francisco on 30 August, which resulted in damage to wing components.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news