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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Airbus Updates No.598

Airworthiness Directive regarding Airbus A380 wing cracks


Europe's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have released an Airworthiness Directive concerning cracks that were discovered on the Airbus A380's wing ribs during the repairs of a Qantas A380 involved in the uncontained engine failure near Singapore, see Accident: Qantas A388 near Singapore on Nov 4th 2010, uncontained engine failure and subsequent inspections by other operators throughout the A380 fleet.

EASA mandates as interim action, further mandatory rulemaking to be expected, that all Airbus A380 aircraft with serial numbers 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 33, 34 and 45 with 1800 flight cycles or more since first flight to be inspected within four days, aircraft with 1300 flight cycles or more and less than 1800 flight cycles within six weeks.

The inspections have to check both left and right hand wings of the aircraft according to instructions AOT A380-57A8058 already released by Airbus. If any cracks are detected by these inspections, Airbus has to be contacted for approved instructions on how to proceed with the aircraft and those instructions have to be applied within compliance time.

The Airworthiness Directive - that carries all hallmarks of an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD), however was not released as EAD - was released before public consultation.

EASA argues that during the inspections following the first discovery of cracks during the repair of the Qantas aircraft a new type of cracks was discovered that is more significant than the original type of rib foot hole cracking and can develop into type 2 cracks from that web cracking and thus could potentially affect structural integrity of the aircraft if not corrected.

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