Airbus probe reveals severity of QF32 incident, experts say all aboard lucky to be alive
By Ricky Roxas | November 19, 2010 6:28 PM EST
Emphasising the extent of damage incurred by Qantas Airways' Flight 32 during its engine blowout incident over Indonesia last November 4, an aircraft engine expert could only conclude that all-aboard on the A380 superjumbo effectively cheated death when the aircraft still managed to land back in Singapore.
As shown by Airbus' initial investigation findings, QF32's wing had been severely compromised as its outer skin was torn out and its fuel pipe cut off while its drive motor was barely functioning, with only the remaining engine of A380 aiding its way back into Changi Airport.
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association federal secretary Steve Purvanis said on Friday that shrapnel from the A380's blown out engine could have hit and punctured the fuel tank, resulting to a catastrophic event that would have cost the lives of all passengers and crews aboard QF32.
An ABC report quoted Mr Purvanis as saying that "with fuel gushing out of the fuel tank there and some very hot components, certainly one that was hot enough to explode an engine, they were very lucky that fuel inside the wing didn't ignite."
On the other hand, Richard Woodward of the Australian and International Pilots Association told ABC that passengers and crews surviving the scary incident was indeed a miracle as he called into attention the A380's sturdiness as its wings withstood the barrage of flying turbine fragments.
He said that surviving through the severe incident "is absolutely a testimony to the aircraft and its structures."
Citing the photos carried by the Airbus report, Mr Woodward said that the engine blow out of QF32 could have lead to a sure fire disaster as the bits of turbines hitting the fuel tank could have ignited a fire that would send the aircraft exploding in mid-air.
Mr Purvanis agreed that the Airbus investigation had so far established that all passengers and crew of QF32 were lucky to be alive today as he noted that most likely, everyone aboard must have been completely clueless on the gravity of the situation when it was happening.
According to the Airbus report, crew of the troubled flight encountered difficulty in keeping the balance of the A380, which Mr Woodward explained was caused by the severed fuel pipe, though its captain had testified that the aircraft had a smooth flight during its return to Singapore, despite the damages it already sustained.
The QF32 investigation, according to Mr Woodward, should pave the way for future modifications of wiring designs being utilised in aircraft engines as he stressed that "we have to analyse the risk and determine whether they can reroute the wiring somewhere else or separate it."
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