Airbus and Boeing latest problems
Recently, two of the most technically advanced airliners had serious problems. Which resulted in emergency landings of a Qantas Airbus A380 in Singapore, Indonesia and a prototype Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Laredo, Texas. Was it a misfortune? Maybe. Let's have a look at both these accidents.
Airbus A380 engine failure over Indonesia
The incident on November 4 was the first serious in-flight problem of the A380. One of it's four huge Rolls-Royce engines started to fall apart minutes after start from Singapore. Debris from the engine was found on Batam Island just south of the airport. This led to the first reports about the plane crashing, which was briefly confirmed by Qantas Airways. Shortly afterwards it was clear that the plane immediately turned back and made a safe landing.
First thing after the accident, Qantas grounded all of it's six A380s for detailed expertise. Engineers immediately found oil leaks on some other engines. It remains unclear if this was the cause of the accident. The planes are still undergoing checks and not returning to operation. Qantas has already stated that they are putting Boeing 747s on the A380 routes for the weeks to come.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner emergency landing in Texas
Not even a week has passed since the A380 emergency landing and the headlines are full of Boeing's latest plane accident. On Tuesday, November 9 an electrical fire on board one of Boeing's 787 test planes forced it to land prematurely. The aircraft had lost it's primary electrical power and had to rely on backup systems. It landed safely near Laredo, Texas and the crew was evacuated using emergency slides.
During the test flight, the engineers aboard performed tests of a fire-prevention system. It's purpose is to separate nitrogen from ambient air and pump it into the fuel tanks as the fuel is burned. The nitrogen prevents oxygen buildup and thus preventing fire. No relation between the accident and this system hasn't been found yet. The defective plane is the second of total six 787 prototypes. According to Boeing, none of them will be sold to customers.
No orders canceled
After the accidents, messages from the airlines having ordered these state-of-the-art planes are uniform. No one is going to call off it's orders. Qantas is expecting four more A380s to join it's fleet shortly. Boeing has nearly 900 orders to be completed. The first 787 Dreamliner is due to be delivered to Al Nippon Airways early next year.
Expert voices all claim that these were only minor accidents and safety was not endangered. Both companies will surely perform thorough tests to find out the real reasons. The investigations however are likely to last for months.
Jiří Parimucha, Nov 11, 2010
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