In a preliminary investigation report released today, the ATSB
outlines safety actions that have already been taken in response to
an uncontained engine failure on board a Qantas A380 aircraft over
Batam Island, Indonesia on 4 November 2010.
"The investigation highlights Australian and international
cooperation in the interests of aviation safety," said the ATSB's
Chief Commissioner, Martin Dolan. "The ATSB is the lead
investigator, but many others are involved and their cooperation
has been essential".
"We're still in the early stages of investigation," Mr Dolan added,
"but significant action has already been taken to minimise the risk
of a recurrence".
The report identifies an overspeed-related failure in the
intermediate pressure turbine disc in the aircraft's No 2 engine.
Sections of the fractured disc and other engine components
penetrated the aircraft's left wing and a number of other areas on
the aircraft, resulting in significant structural and systems
damage to the aircraft.
As a result of the investigation, the ATSB has issued a safety
recommendation about potential engine problems in some Airbus A380
aircraft. The problem relates to a possible manufacturing issue
with the high pressure/intermediate pressure (HP/IP) bearing
structure oil pipes of some engines, which could lead to fatigue
cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire
within the HP/IP bearing buffer space.
In response to the recommendation Rolls Royce, affected airlines
and safety regulators have taken action to ensure the continued
safe operation of A380 aircraft. The action involves the close
inspection of affected engines and the removal from service of any
engine which displays the suspected problem. In addition, the
European Aviation Safety Agency has approved a modification to the
engine control software to reduce the risk of an overspeed-related
turbine disc failure.
In Australia, Qantas is carrying out the necessary inspections in
coordination with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
"We stress that this is a preliminary report," Mr Dolan said. "It
is intended to set out the sequence of events as we understand it
so far and to highlight the safety issue we have identified. A
comprehensive report will be completed within a year of the
The report also describes the flight crew's actions in dealing with
the consequences of engine failure and in landing the aircraft
safely in Singapore without injury to any of the 469 crew and
passengers on board.
The ATSB's preliminary factual report outlines a number of areas
for further investigation. They include additional examination of
the turbine disc and other engine components, onboard recorded
information, damage to the aircraft and its systems, and of the
response by flight, cabin and emergency services crews.
A copy of the preliminary factual report is available on the ATSB
website at: AO-2010-089
Media contact: 1800 020 616