Episode #405 Qantas

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Biggles71
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:53 am

Episode #405 Qantas

Postby Biggles71 » Tue May 31, 2016 6:16 am

Hi guys,

As an A380 captain, I thought I would write in to comment on the Qantas incident mentioned at the start of #405.
There is an essential difference between an engine failure on a twin versus quad; the first one is obviously a Land ASAP while on a quad a single engine failure (contained) is normally NOT an emergency (nor urgency). One is only limited due to a slightly higher fuel burn; on an A380 about 7% more which often is just not enough to continue to destination when one is shutdown. Typically airliners carry around 3% extra fuel on long haul flights.

A few years ago, I personally had an engine shutdown in a widebody 4 engine airliner, where we continued for about 10hrs to eventually land at an airport close to destination. Passengers didn't even know until a few hours before landing. This gave the Company several hours to organize a recovery flight, minimizing the delay to the operation drastically. Passengers ended up less than 2 hrs late at their destination! Try doing that after an engine failure in a twin. It is something even airline pilots flying twins, often can not comprehend.

You guys mentioned several times that flying over water should not be done with an engine out, which again on a quad does not necessarily apply. On a polar crossing, I would rather be over the North Pole in a 4 engine aircraft versus a twin, when one fails; yes ETOPS is great, but more than 5hrs wi only one turning it not specifically something I would like to do....

I can not really comment on the Qantas case specifically but operational circumstances probably influenced the decision. Remember that these type of decisions are likely taken in coordination with lots of parties; the crew is only one of them! Obviously they carry the final decision! It looks like the total flight time was less than 7hrs; started diversion about 2:40 after take-off from MEL, and landed about 4hrs later. Again just over two hours later the passengers were airborne again with a different A380.

Fly safe
Flying was my first love and it will be my last one!

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falcon124
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:44 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Re: Episode #405 Qantas

Postby falcon124 » Tue May 31, 2016 6:42 pm

The other thing to know about this QF A380 incident is that Sydney is Qantas' major maintenance center where they do most of their in-country A380 maintenance (heavy work is out-sourced to off-shore MROs). Thus it makes a LOT of sense for them to direct the aircraft to Sydney as that's a very convenient place to swap out an engine (as opposed to Melbourne where the old Qantas maintenance base is now used to do in-country work on the Jetstar 787 fleet :) )

The other thing to know is that Qantas have a "Pay by the Hour" type of arrangement with Rolls Royce to for engine maintenance which means that the entire engine would just be swapped out and the offending unit shipped to an RR maintenance base in Asia. That engine could then wind up on any other A380 operator's aircraft if they have an RR managed maintenance agreement. Go figure :)


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