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The Anatomy of the Airbus A380 QF32 Accident

Contains a number of slides from the Airbus presentation to accident investigators of the damage done to QF32 on November 4. ( More...

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Lloyd Boyette 0
There are very few instances ( extremely rare ) where a flight crew is faced with uncertainty on whether they're going to make it home or not. United Airlines Flight 232 comes to mind when the engine in the tail released a fan blade that was not contained and severed all hydrolic lines. It just so happened that a DC10 Instructor happened to be on that plane as well and it's a testament to the plane's construction that it made it to an airfield with as many people living than passed.

I have to commend Airbus for their structural resiliency in the A380 that it took that much damage and brought everyone home safely. It's making lemon-aid out of lemons in an uncertainty that could have been much much worse. Nobody can question would XXX plane had done so well. It's not something that you can plan for or draw on a piece of paper.

Well done to the flight crew and the aircraft. Well done!
It's interesting the feelings expressed by comments here and at the blog where the full story is posted, and elsewhere around the media...

Some say, after the significant magnitude of the damage to the wing structures become known, that this is reason to doubt the design of the A/C. Look at what a close call that was!

However, reading these new stories and details, I can't help being one of those coming away with the opposite impression. I mean, look at that wing, the damages it suffered, to composite structures with novel design elements never seen in-service to this level before. I mean, Murphy's Law, right? If something was weak with this design, it's surely going to reveal itself after taking a hit like this.

Except...I think what we've all witnessed was a tremendous performance of an outstandingly robust structural design. I'm sure the engineers responsible for the wing's structural design are sharing high-fives all-around (after downing a glass or two of scotch)!

Superhot, heavy, nasty chunks of metal from the bowels of the turbine section (where it gets hottest anyway), just came bulldozing through that wing, devastating internal components like a hollow-point round does to human flesh.

I recall my initial reaction seeing the first-ever pictures of the top of the wing from inside the A/C. This doesn't look THAT bad, I thought. I figured the penetrator was a fan blade. When I learned it was a turbine wheel, I took a second look and thought, "Good lord, that this wasn't a hull loss, Concorde-style, is AMAZING!"

Hot parts, through the wing, breached fuel tanks, hydros, and...electrical connections. How this wing managed NOT to turn into a fireball is a story I want to hear more about!

Gravely wounded, the wing maintained structural integrity for an extended time while the crew turned in the hold sorting out the situation, jetting fuel. It took this stress closer to its maximum weight, than its minimum. My mind conjures images of stress/strain diagrams across the wing's surfaces, how those mechanical loads flowed into new locations after sustaining the damage, and what those new areas of concentrated stress had to hold up against.

In my opinion, if anything, this is a knock against RR for an uncharacteristic and deadly failure mode in a popular gas turbine engine family (it remains to be seen if they ought to have reasonably forseen this), but a solid WIN for Airbus. I think I would trust it even more now than before (perhaps with GP7200 engines slung, however).

I wonder how many other designs could take a hot turbine wheel crashing through their wing and still come home, more or less, in one piece? And for all aboard, only coming off with an amazing story to tell their loved-ones. I'd like to think they all could take that, but...most designs haven't been tested to such a bizarre extreme.
dbleess 0
Isn't the entire point of podding engines on pylons far outside the wings to make it so they can't fling projectiles through structure at angles capable of wrecking said structure?

Seems to me that if the on site impression is that "they got lucky", then Airbus cut it awfully close to the ragged edge in terms of mounting the powerplants with adequate safety margin.

...and that traces back to an airframer's responsibility and is a strike AGAINST Airbus -as well as RR.
Lloyd Boyette 0
For the most part, and anybody can jump in on this one, it is my understanding that the engines being slung below the wing is more for the all around efficiency of the engine itself. Easier to access for maintenance, cleaner airflow to vital engine parts... so on and so forth.

There is a YouTube video that's out there that highlights the Discovery Channel program documenting the creation of the A380. The video itself highlights the blade release test and it's awesome power... which is supposed to be contained in the fan casing. Engines are supposed to be designed with the utmost safety in mind and being able to contain any failure that may occur within the engine. Over the past few months we've seen several instances of the same engine fail with similar M.O.s leading up to this massive failure on QF32.

What we're looking at here has nothing to do with Airbus and it's design of the A380. This is more against RR and their extremely slow response to share information about a design flaw that they specifically knew about and were slow to release a fix for.

This isn't a strike against Airbus, this is all on Rolls Royce.
chalet 0
Kudos for the hell of a piloting piece by the crew, they saved almost 500 lives. I would like to volunteer an idea that perhaps is very difficult to implement: "armouring" the wing area and fuel tanks areas close to the engines with titanium and/or Kevlar, perhaps stainless steel too so that an uncontained engine explosion the hyddraulic lines and the structural integrity of the wings would not be compromised. The United DC-10 accident in Iowa comes to mind as it was caused by an engine disk form the GE jet engine that sliced through the hydraulic lines making it almost impossible to control the aircraft and the Air France Concorde accident in Paris. This of course on top of RR redesigning the engine making it far more reliable.


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