The Trent900 engine that exploded over Indonesia on the Qantas Airbus A380 QF32 flight from Singapore to Sydney had a potential manufacturing defect with an oil tube connection, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has reported.
In a statement issued today, the ATSB said that its safety recommendation “identifies a potential manufacturing defect with an oil tube connection to the high-pressure (HP)/intermediate-pressure (IP) bearing structure of the Trent 900 engine installed in some A380 aircraft.”
The examination took place at the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby, in the United Kingdom, and appears to provide a more definitive explanation for the engine failure that occurred on QF32.
“The problem relates to the potential for misaligned oil pipe counter-boring, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage and potential engine failure from an oil fire within the HP/IP bearing buffer space,” the ATSB report said.
“In response to the recommendation Rolls Royce, affected airlines and safety regulators are taking action to ensure the continued safe operation of A380 aircraft.
“The action involves the close inspection of affected engines and the removal from service of any engine which displays the suspected counter-boring problem.”
Qantas issued a statement after discussions with the ATSB and Rolls-Royce saying it will conduct further, more detailed one-off inspections of Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines on its A380 aircraft.
Both of Qantas’ A380 aircraft will be inspected at the airline’s jet base in Sydney this afternoon.
The safety body is due to hold a media briefing tomorrow on the release of its preliminary factual investigation report into the QF32 occurrence.
Qantas currently has two A380 aircraft in operational service, following the grounding of the fleet on November 4.