Days after Qantas declared the Airbus A380 safe to fly, the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) has detailed the reasons behind the uncontained failure of a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine, which forced a Qantas Airways Airbus A380 to make an emergency landing in November. ATSB reports a manufacturing defect in an oil pipe could cause the engine to fail and catch fire.
Just five days ago two of those aircraft were cleared to fly again, but now a new problem has been identified. A pipe which pumps oil into the Rolls Royce engine was found to be thin and weaker on one side. The ATSB says that there was "fatigue cracking" within a stub pipe that feeds oil into the High Pressure (HP)/Intermediate Pressure (IP) bearing structure. This led to an oil leakage, and subsequently an oil fire and the engine failure.
The ATSB has recommended a more detailed one-off inspection of Trent 900 engines following the latest findings.
Both Qantas and Singapore Airlines, which also operates A380s powered by the Trent 900 engines, temporarily grounded their aircraft. SIA resumed services soon after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued guidelines for additional inspections, and Qantas resumed A380 flights last week.