Thursday, January 19, 2012

Qantas explosion caused by defect - ATSB preliminary report

A DEFECTIVE pipe triggered the chain of events that resulted in a mid-air explosion on a Qantas superjumbo, a preliminary report has found.  The 2010 explosion tore through the aircraft's second engine about 15 minutes after the Sydney-bound QF32 plane carrying hundreds of passengers took off from Singapore's Changi Airport.

In the report made public today, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the manufacturing defect in the pipe caused an oil fire, starting a "sequence of events" that ultimately led to engine failure.  "That defect resulted in fatigue cracking in the pipe, so that oil sprayed into an engine cavity where it ignited because of the high air temperature," the report said.

The oil fire then weakened a turbine disc in the aircraft's second engine, the investigation found: "As a result, the disc separated from its shaft, increased its rotation speed and broke into several parts."  Sections of the fractured disc and other engine components went on to penetrate the aircraft's left wing, along with other areas of the plane, causing major structural damage. More...

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