Friday, November 5, 2010

Qantas A380s on the ground at LAX

A trio of Qantas A380s on the ground at LAX

As I drove in for work yesterday afternoon, I heard a report on NPR about the catastrophic failure of an engine on a Qantas A380. The aircraft made a safe landing in Singapore, and I don't believe there were any reports of injuries. The aircraft involved was Qantas' very first A380; they now have a total of six. When I got to work, I found that half of that fleet was on the ground at LAX. Qantas and Singapore Airlines have grounded their A380s until inspections can be made of the engines, which were built by Rolls-Royce. They expect to have these done by next week. The concern is that the engine failure was not contained within the engine's cowling; flying engine parts came out through the side of the engine and went through the aircraft's left wing. A good chunk of the cowling was also lost, and later found on the island of Batam. While I haven't heard of it happening in this incident, it could also be possible for uncontained flying engine chunks to penetrate the fuselage, making that window seat suddenly a lot less desirable. Probably the most memorable uncontained engine failure on an airliner was in 1989: United 232, a DC-10 that lost all of its hydraulic systems (and thus flight controls) after the tail-mounted engine came apart. Thanks to some incredible flying (at least on par with that of the crew of US Airways 1549, the Airbus that ditched in the Hudson River) the DC-10 made an emergency landing in Sioux City, Iowa. Despite the fact that the airplane broke apart and burst into flames, there were 184 survivors out of the 296 passengers and crew aboard.

None of the photos in this posting are mine; the opening shot was given me by a fellow LAX controller who took it from a helicopter yesterday, shortly after the Qantas A380 fleet was grounded. All of the following shots were borrowed from on-line news sources who are credited and linked below.

A380 Engine Failure
Damage on the left wing over the number two engine of the Qantas Airways A380 passenger plane flight QF32.

The engine of the Qantas airline appeared to have exploded. The plane made an emergency landing in Singapore

Daily Mail
(a good article)



Richi Jennings on Computerworld


  1. Dear CaptainVector, I ran across your postings while getting google alerts about the the A-380 engine saga. "No A-380's for you" was the title. I listen to LAX live ATC, while watching live online cam of LAX, also monitor the runway cams at Cargo city and pacific view of runways 25R&L.I am still reading and rereading all your posts past and current. I love aviation...and have learned a lot from you!!! Please keep up the Great Work!!!!!!!

  2. Getjets - Thank you for your kind words, and I'm glad that you're finding something of value here. As I write this, the A380 saga continues as Rolls-Royce is borrowing engines from aircraft on the assembly line to supply replacement engines to Qantas and Singapore, both of whom are having to swap some engines found to be leaking oil. Meanwhile, if you've been listening to LAX via Live ATC, then you're missing the sound of my voice, which has been silenced thanks to an annoying case of laryngitis. Fortunately my current trainee is nearly autonomous at this stage!


  3. Captain- I was so excited to have a response from you, and i do hope your bout with the laryngitis ends soon! You must tell me your shift or hours, so that I can perhaps listen to you...what a thrill that will be! You controller just amaze me! When the last A-380 landed at LAX,the morning after the blown engine, the live cam panned and showed the complete landing there!!!!! With flight-alert, I have several of the A-380 flights,while in route alerted to my wk e-mail, so I knew it was coming in and the time left on flight. I remember thinking...OH LORD!!!!
    A view from the tower...the pictures, and your knowledge, again I thank you, enough for now, time to heal up, get back to work, so until...waiting for more posts,although not even tired of the reruns,so to speak,ha ha

  4. anyone hear about the pakistan cargo plane going down this evening?????

  5. Preliminary reports are that it was an IL-76, a Russian-built cargo plane. Apparently crashed just after take off from Karachi, killing eight on board and at least four more on the ground. Witnesses said that the plane was on fire before hitting the buildings of a housing complex, whereupon there was a large explosion.

  6. Thank you Captain for the added info. I just happen to catch the brief news story, a little late last night. Went straight to my "Professional Pilots Rumor Network" website, there, most of the time, pilots from around the world are already talking about as they happen stories, anything recent Sure enough, there was a thread, as they call them, pertaining to this crash, so damn pilot commments, then the next,may or may not agree and it can get quite sharp tongued and rough actually as the conversation goes down the line...I have certainly learned a lot as they use many of the alphabet codes for their exchanges. Like with the UPS crash in Dubia,many of the posts were from people at the tops of the apt. buildings where the 747 came over no more than a hundred feet. smelling the fuel being dumped so close to them, all eye witness accounts that made u feel u there in many ways! These pilots are very spirited and don't hold back with each other. quite an experience!!!!! sad for those who were killed. i saw the very short film footage last nite from a witness who captured the fire ball at impact!!!and there are many other story lines on that website to get involved with,i have not actually joined yet, but to get the better stories that it may be neccessay...either way , plenty of information to do with as you wish!!!!!and of course our passion! Please all take care, and perticularly captainvector for providing website's for to use!!!!after your inial post!!!!lets see what time brings us now, shall we say,
    Good nite

  7. again., Thank You,, for all your knowledge!!!!and I am anticipating further pos!!!!
    Again Thanx :)