Small cracks on ribs of A380 wings raise safety concerns

Some tiny cracks have been found on ?5 A380 planes.The cracks were first found on the Qantas A380 that suffered an uncontained engine failure with one of its four Trent 900 engines two years ago. Airbus confirms the cracking on “some non-critical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380 aircraft.”  Airbus says that safe operations of the fleet are not affected and no flight limitations are being put on the A380. It said cracks have been repaired, but it would not detail how the fix is made. Others are concerned about safety and whether the cracks should be repaired quickly and not wait for 4 yearly inspections. The A380 can carry 520 passengers.



World’s largest passenger plane may be unsafe, some say

by Edward Moyer (cnet)


The world’s largest passenger plane may not be sky-worthy, some aircraft engineers in Australia are saying.

The BBC reports that the engineers are concerned about small cracks that have appeared on the wing ribs of some Airbus A380 airplanes, and that they’re calling for the whole fleet to be grounded for investigation.

The cracks were found on A380s operated by Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways, the BBC reports, and Singapore Airlines says it has repaired the wings of two of its A380s.

Airbus recommends that airlines check for cracks but says they present no real danger. The BBC quotes the following from a statement by the company:

“We confirm that minor cracks were found on some noncritical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380 aircraft. We have traced the origin. Airbus has developed an inspection and repair procedure, which will be done during regular, routine scheduled four-year maintenance checks. In the meantime, Airbus emphasizes that the safe operation of the A380 fleet is not affected.”

But Steve Purvinas, secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, disagrees. “We can’t continue to gamble with people’s lives and allow those aircraft to fly around and hope that they make it until their four-yearly inspection,” the BBC quotes Purvinas as saying.


Airbus A380 fleet should be grounded, say engineers

7 January 2012 (BBC)

Aircraft engineers in Australia have called for the entire worldwide fleet of Airbus A-380 super-jumbos to be grounded after cracks were found in some wings.

The faults were discovered in planes operated by Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Airbus say they have found the cause of the problem and insist the planes are safe, as Tim Allman reports.

And short video clip at   


A380 Wing Cracks Not Affecting Operations

By Robert Wall

LONDON  (Aviation Week)


Airbus says it has already developed a fix to wing cracking found on some Airbus A380s.

The cracks, first reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, have been seen by at least Qantas and Singapore Airlines. The cracks were first found on the Qantas A380 that suffered an uncontained engine failure with one of its four Trent 900 engines two years ago.

Airbus confirms the cracking on “some non-critical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380 aircraft.” The aircraft maker adds that safe operations of the fleet are not affected and no flight limitations are being put on the A380.

Airbus says a inspection and repair process has been identified, although it would not detail how the fix is made. The repair is being done as part of four-year maintenance checks, it adds.

The approach has been validated by the European Aviation Safety Agency, Airbus says.

A380 cracks: check fleets now, say engineers

Matt O’Sullivan January 06, 2012

Technicians look at the damaged engine of Qantas Airways A380 passenger plane QF32 after it was forced to make an emergency landing at Changi airport in Singapore November 4, 2010.

Aircraft engineers have called for Airbus and airlines including Qantas to inspect their fleets of A380s as a matter of priority after tiny cracks were discovered in the wings of five superjumbos worldwide.

Airbus has given assurances that its flagship A380 aircraft – the largest passenger jets in the world – are safe to fly and will be issuing a service bulletin to airlines this month requiring them to check for the problem when their superjumbos are due for heavy maintenance every four years.

But the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association said today that it wanted airlines and the European plane maker to conduct inspections for cracks in the wing-rib attachments as soon as possible.

“There is no way on God’s earth that I would be waiting four years to inspect them,” Paul Cousins, the federal president of the engineers’ union, said today.

“At the moment it seems that a Band-Aid fix has been applied too quickly to a situation that could become very serious.

“This is a large aircraft carrying 520 people across the fleets in the world – we need to be absolutely sure it is flying safely.”

Mr Cousins said he was concerned that the failure of one of the rib attachments would put added pressure on others within the wing.

“Our concern is a continuing stress on the wing. In this case, Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency have been too quick to come out with a fix, rather than saying we need to investigate this further,” he said. “It increases the chances that we are going to have a serious problem.”

Qantas said the cracks found in one of its A380s under extensive repair in Singapore did not present a risk to flight safety and it was awaiting a service bulletin from Airbus advising of the steps it needed to take.

“It is an Airbus aircraft. They are the experts and we will take their advice,” a spokesman said today.

Airbus has confirmed that the cracks were found in various parts in the feet of the wing-rib attachments of five superjumbos – one belonging to Qantas, two to Singapore Airlines, one to Emirates and one of Airbus’s development aircraft.

10 January 2012  (Travel Mole)

Airlines to check cracks in Airbus A380

All airlines using the Airbus A380 – the world’s biggest passenger aircraft – are advised to check their aircraft after cracks have been found in the wings.

Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Airbus admitted that they had discovered cracks reports the Daily Mail, but maintained that the aircraft were safe.

“We confirm that cracks were found on non-critical wing attachments on a limited number of A380s,” an Airbus spokesperson said.

“We’ve traced the origin of these hairline cracks, and developed an inspection and repair procedure which can be done during routine maintenance.”

UK engineers say that the cracks should encourage all airlines to check their aircraft but added that small cracks were unlikely to affect aircraft operation.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: “The cracks detected by Qantas and Singapore Airlines on some of the wings Airbus A380 should lead to all airlines using the A380 to inspect their aircraft thoroughly.

“But these cracks are very small, will be monitored by the airline, and are unlikely to affect aircraft operation.

“Airlines approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have very strict regulations and require there to be rigorous inspection procedures so an aircraft would not be allowed to fly unless it was deemed to be fully airworthy by the authority or their delegates.”

In total, 67 Airbus A380s are in use worldwide on Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Air France, Lufthansa, Korean Airlines and China Southern.

The aircraft has been in service for five years.

By Diane Evans