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Emirates Airbus A380 Lands In Brisbane With Large Hole In Fuselage

Emirates IATA/ICAO Code EK/UAE Airline Type Full Service Carrier Hub(s) Dubai International Airport Year Founded 1985 CEO Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum Country United Arab Emirates An Emirates Airbus A380 landed at Brisbane International Airport on July 1st with a huge hole in its fuselage. The superjumbo remains on the ground in Australia following this unusual incident. Soon after departure Flight EK430 took off from Dubai International Airport at 03:11 GST before a loud bang was allegedly heard… ( More...

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chugheset 10
At a minimum, they picked a great picture for this story. When the page popped up and I saw the special livery that looked like a GIANT hole, it took me a moment to realize that was not what they were talking about!
latteju 8
There is some discussion here whether this happened before or after retraction. I am pretty sure it was after retraction, based on these 2 statements:
(1) Emirates statement "... technical fault during cruise."
(2) Passenger statement "Around 30-45 minutes after takeoff"

I am confused though how a bolt from the nose gear could cause this with retracted gear. I see 2 possible scenarios:
(1) missing bolt and damage are unrelated. It could be coincidence. It could be the bolt was lost during the long tow. It is still worrisome and worth investigating.
(2) The bolt came off and damaged the rear tire during takeoff. However the tire only exploded after 30-45 minutes into the flight.

Your comments and thoughts are very welcome. I am an engineer, but not aeronautical.

I will be on that same flight next month. I will bring a spanner and some duct tape :-)
ck10Mkade4kL 3
Of your scenarios (1) is not that worrisome, but of course is worth investigating like any non-normal event. (2) is somewhat possible; the tire is subjected to different forces after retraction due to cooling, air pressure & ambient temp change during climb (the bay is unpressurised), etc. But I think (1) is more likely, personally.
srobak 2
I agree that it was long after retraction.

I also know for a fact that the damage was not due to anything with the nose gear, least of all a "missing bolt". The hole is in the aft section of the main gear pod - behind the gear and trailing edge of the wing. A front gear bolt did not do that mid-flight, and it would have been a miracle if it could do it as a result of coming lose during TO and bouncing off the runway and up into the pod.

Someone is blowing smoke as to the official theory on what & why this happened... probably the same people who somehow convinced the world that an exploded SRB caused the Challenger disaster - flatly ignoring the fact that both SRBs were flying around fully intact after the tank and orbiter blew to pieces.
David Beattie -1
Yes all part of the world government space alien conspiracy theory.
srobak 1
Not at all what I said, but thanks for playing.
Bruce McDanel 4
This is not "hole." The structure of the aircraft was not breached. It is superficial damage, easily repaired assuming the actual carbon fiber component is intact.
srobak 3
if you can stand outside, stick your arm inside and wave your arm around - then it is a hole. Doesn't matter if it is the passenger cabin, cargo stowage, main gear pod, an open window on a car, or my ex wife. A hole is a hole - regardless where it is located.
David Beattie 0
It matters a lot! No pax could be sucked out of that hole. If the whole damned fairing came off the plane would still fly plenty well enough to come back and land.
srobak 3
The criteria for something being a hole or not is not defined by the possibility of a passenger being sucked out.
Dan Boss 3
It's a blown tire, whose pressure release caused a portion of the wing fairing to blow out. Gear is retracted within 20-30 seconds after rotation - as soon as the indication of "positive climb" is achieved. So a bolt did not puncture the wing fairing as the gear was stowed at the 35 minute mark after takeoff.

At 35 minutes, it was at cruising altitude and the low exterior pressure combined with the 200 psi main gear tire blowing, caused the wing fairing breach.

How did they know it was a blown tire? Because all modern planes have tire pressure monitors on the tires and brakes screen!

Why did they continue the flight? Because they identified the likely cause of the bang by noting the deflated main gear tire, and cabin pressure was normal. And no unusual handling was likely observed. As another pointed out, no one is going to dump tens of tonnes of fuel, and turn around and land overweight for a loud noise if all systems and attributes are nominal.
nemosteve1080i 3
If the hole in the wing root came from the missing bolt from the nose gear, wouldn't the noise heard have been during the take off roll and then rotation, until the nose gear retracted and the gear doors closed? Once the gear doors close, a bolt should not have exited the nose gear compartment.
ck10Mkade4kL 4
The tire likely blew after retraction which blew out the fairing. The NLG damage may or may not be related.
mbrews 3
Some observers think the nose gear bolt MAY have after landing. That is, from overload from towing the big A380 a long distance at Brisbane (after landing with damaged Main Gear )
Alan Hewat 6
The crew heard an unusual large bang immediately after take-off but continued flying across the Indian ocean all the way to Australia ?
ck10Mkade4kL 11
They suspected a blown tire (explaining the bang). No crew is going to dump 100 tons of fuel and land overweight because of a sound and nothing else. The aircraft systems are extensively monitored and they had no indications of any problem — because, in fact, there was no problem. The hole is not in fact in the fuselage, but in the wing-to-body fairing, a non-structural part. As scary as it may look, and as scary as reporters with no aviation knowledge may make it sound, it was entirely appropriate to continue the flight and any responsible crew would do the same.
Dave Mathes 4
...yea, little late to do a walk around...
Alan Hewat 3
OK if the tyre blew before retraction. Not OK if it blew in the fairing, which must be pretty unusual. Was the pilot sure it blew before retraction? A large hole in the fairing is not a problem? It's surprising it wasn't ripped apart.
ck10Mkade4kL 0
Why not OK if it blew in the fairing? (It likely did, since that's the likely cause of the hole.) It's not *that* unusual, and no, a hole in the fairing is not really a problem. It's not at all surprising that it wasn't ripped apart; impact damage is a design consideration.

Before making calls like "not OK", you should gain some experience in the industry, then you will know enough to consider judging the decisions of those that do work in the industry.
Alan Hewat 5
I'm not sure what industry you're refering to, unless it's Emirates. I'm a physicist, make instruments for non-destructive testing, fly on A380s to Australia, and post under my real name. If the pilot knew the tyre had burst inside the fairing, he should have suspected other damage and returned. Dubai can afford the extra fuel.
ck10Mkade4kL -5
I think it's fairly obvious I refer to the aviation industry. The pilot (who is qualified to make the decision of what they "should" do, unlike you) did exactly the right thing with the information available to them, and if they had a complete picture they would have done exactly the same thing. A fairing is just a fairing; there is no impact to the safe operation of the flight. The systems which the tyre could have damaged (which are limited in scope; nothing is in the bay that doesn't need to be there) are closely monitored and the pilots have access to a lot of information about their state, which they certainly will have accessed. They are also certain to have consulted with their company maintenance to help them make this decision — another group of people with extensive knowledge and training to decide what "should" be done.

You mention "affording the extra fuel", but there is also the environmental cost of dumping 100t of jet fuel, not to mention the inconvenience to the passengers, and the risk of an overweight landing — which is low, but non-zero and certainly higher than the risk of continuing flight with a hole in a fairing.

In summary, it's easy to say what the pilots "should" do when you know little about the subject, but thankfully those who need to make these decisions daily know a lot more.
Alan Hewat 3
I agree that the pilot probably had the approval of Emirates to continue. That makes it worse. Graphic stories of Emirates flying 14 hours across the ocean with that gaping hole, then implying that it was just a routine incident, can't be good press. You say that even if they knew there was a hole, the pilots, as experts, would still continue. What else could possibly go wrong? Some airlines and pilots are more cautious than others, and those are the ones I fly with.
latteju 2
Peace to both of you.
Let's stick to technical facts and try to learn new things and insights here.
Have a great weekend.
Chuck Pergiel 1
Stick to the facts?!? You're no fun. I want to rant and rave and call everyone idiots.
ck10Mkade4kL 0
It's perfectly fine that you choose to fly with airlines that avoid things that look bad in the mass media. Just understand that this has nothing to do with safety.

The decision-making in this case saved 100t of aviation fuel from being dumped into the atmosphere, saved the passengers the risk of a completely unnecessary overweight landing and the inconvenience of a delay, and had absolutely no downside other than some ignorant clickbait news media reports and an upset physicist who thinks he knows something about aviation. I think Emirates can probably live with that.
Alan Hewat -3
At least this story enhances the reputation of Airbus and the A380, that can survive cowboys feeling lucky.
ck10Mkade4kL 0
What a ridiculous thing to say. There is no airliner, new or old, that would be brought down by a hole in a fairing.
Chris B 3
The Avherald images present a confusing picture with a damaged main gear tire and nose gear missing bolt.

The sharply defined damage to the tire suggests damage from impact with a foreign object. Concord style?

Missing bolt: Something more that meets the eye is going on here.. Maintenance deficiency perhaps? I'm sure everyone is busy checking those bolts as we read about this incident.
ck10Mkade4kL 3
It was towed a long distance after landing, by ground staff who may never have towed an A380 before. That could possibly explain the NLG damage.
Alan Zelt 3
Was not the fuselage but wing root fairing. Your headline makes it sounds disaster averted. If it was fuselage, the results might have been very different.
jbermo 2
If retracted tire explosion - No return with unknown damage to wheel well located pneumatic, electric, and hydraulic plumbing? I expect Emirate's regulating authority will weigh in on this. . . . As Clint Eastwood would say - "Do you feel lucky today punk?".
ck10Mkade4kL 1
Any damage to those systems would reveal itself through indications. I'm sure there will be an investigation, as with any incident, but it's hard to fault the crew in this case. Dumping 100 tons of fuel and returning to land overweight would not have been the better result.
Mark Waugh 1
Would they still be overweight after dumping 100 tonnes of fuel?
jbermo 1
You are probably right as I'm from the old school - before there were multi-function display screens. Nonetheless, I expect their regulating authority will weigh in.
Jim Smirh 1
Since this was a "modification" to the aerodynamic 'configuration' of the aircraft, the only major change could have been an increased fuel burn due to extra drag. It would appear that there may not have been a significantly higher fuel burn; there are other suitable airports short of Brisbane.
Chris DiCenso 1
Can I clarify something here? Several folks here have made different variations of the following statement. "No crew is going to dump 100 tons of fuel and land overweight..."

First of all the Max fuel load on an A380 is 287.419 tons according to several sources I found. That being the case a situation requiring a fuel dump shortly after take off would likely entail dumping a hell of a lot more than just 100 tons. Oh, and by the way I do believe there are restrictions on just where you can perform a fuel dump. You're certainly not going to do it over any inhabited areas such as cities or towns.

Second - the reason for dumping fuel in flight is to PREVENT an landing overweight. That is the main reason aircraft have a dump system.
thebaldgeek 1
I always find it worth checking the ACARS messages in cases like this (rather than speculate).
Our system picked up the events pretty clearly.
Read my reply to this Tweet on the incident. (Public Twitter, so no account needed).


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