Aviation safety investigations & reports

Diversion - Airbus A380-842, VH-OQI, Adelaide Airport, SA, 16 May 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 16 May 2011, while in the cruise, on a scheduled passenger flight from Changi Airport, Singapore, to Melbourne, Australia. The crew of the Qantas Airways, Airbus A380-842 (A380) aircraft, registered VH-OQI (OQI), noticed a significant discrepancy between the aircraft's fuel state and the fuel predictions. The crew monitored the fuel over the flight and determined that 3.8 Tonne of excess fuel had been used over a 6 hour period.

The excess fuel usage could not be explained.  Due to the potential for delays at Melbourne, the crew opted to divert to Adelaide Airport, where an uneventful landing was made.

Subsequent examination of the aircraft found no evidence of fuel leaks. Engine ground runs confirmed normal fuel flow to all engines. The flight data recorder was analysed by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which confirmed fuel flow during the flight was in accordance with the commanded thrust.

Subsequent investigation by the manufacturer and operator identified that for a period of about 4 hours during the flight, the speed brake lever (SBL) was set away from its stowed position of -5° to the +3.6°position. As a result, the aircraft spoilers were deflected into the airstream increasing drag and consequently fuel burn. The crew were not alerted to this as warnings are only displayed to the crew at or above the +5° SBL position.

As a result of the incident, Airbus plans to reduce the alerting position of the speed brake lever angle from +5° to +2.4°.

Airbus have also updated the standard operating procedures (SOP) to highlight that spoiler extension may occur without a crew alert.

Download Final report
[Download  DOC: 12.13MB]
General details
Date: 16 May 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0930 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Adelaide Airport    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Incorrect configuration  
Release date: 14 March 2012   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A380  
Aircraft registration VH-OQI  
Serial number 55  
Operator Qantas  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Changi, Singapore  
Destination Melbourne, VIC  
Last update 14 November 2018