Damaged Qantas superjumbo QF32 likened to wrecked WW II bomber Memphis Belle

November 12th, 2010 - 3:22 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 12 (ANI): The Qantas superjumbo QF32 double-decker plane that ran into trouble shortly after take-off from Singapore to Sydney, has been compared to the World War II bomber Memphis Belle that was piloted by a young crew on dangerous bombing raids into Europe.

Memphis Belle became the subject of a fictional award-winning 1990s Hollywood movie by the same name. The film portrayed the aircraft, heavily damaged after their engine catches on fire, landing in England after a bombing raid on Germany.

Earlier this month, the engine of the A380 had dramatically exploded mid-air over the Indonesian island of Batam, near Singapore, and had to return to Singapore’s Changi Airport. Qantas Airways had grounded its entire Airbus A380 fleet following its emergency landing.

According to news.com.au, the mid-air explosion badly damaged a wing, which may have to be replaced. A full list of the damage to the Airbus A380 has been revealed after it was nursed back to Singapore on three engines.

When it touched down the fuel systems were failing, the forward spar supporting the left wing had been holed and one of the jet’s two hydraulic systems was knocked out and totally drained of fluid.

Richard Woodward, vice-president of the International Air Pilots’ Federation, has said that an experienced flight crew had helped the QF32 to overcome a disaster.

“There was a wealth of experience in the cockpit, even the lowest ranked officer on board had thousands of hours of experience in his former role as a military flying instructor,” Capt Woodward, an A380 pilot, said.

Investigators have reportedly found shrapnel damage to the flaps, a huge hole in the upper surface of the left wing and a generator that was not working. The crew could not shutdown the No. 1 engine using the fire switch, as a result of which fire extinguishers could not be deployed, the report said.

It was also revealed that Captain Richard de Crespigny, first officer Matt Hicks and Mark Johnson, the second officer, could not jettison the volume of fuel required for a safe emergency landing. With more than 80 tonnes of highly volatile jet kerosene still in the 11 tanks, two of which were leaking, they made an overweight and high-speed approach to Changi Airport.

On landing they had no anti-skid brakes and could rely on only one engine for reverse thrust, needing the entire 4km runway at Changi to bring the jet to a stop. Investigators found that an oil fire may have caused the engine to explode, the report added.

Details of the stricken jet’s problems were revealed yesterday in an emergency directive by the European Aviation Safety Authority.

Meanwhile, Qantas has reportedly declared that it would keep its six superjumbos grounded indefinitely and has rearranged flight schedules using substitute aircraft. (ANI)

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