[credit provider=”Wikipedia Commons”]
Looking for problems after a Qantas A380 engine failed in 2010, Airbus announced it found wing cracks in two additional A380s and European safety officials are set to order the inspection of a whole lot more jets.An Airbus statement says the cracks were discovered “on a limited number of non-critical brackets inside the wings of some A380s.” The brackets hold the ribs of the wing to the plane’s skin (via CBS).
Stephan Schaffrath of Airbus says the company found cracks on two of the nine aircraft they’ve inspected so far.
Reuters sources say the order to inspect one-third of the fleet of 68 planes should come down some time over the next few days, with the most heavily used planes inspected first.
These have been subjected to at least 1,800 take-offs and landings, the part of the flight where the airframe endures the most stress.
A second category of around 20 aircraft that have carried out 1,300 to 1,799 flight cycles must be checked within six weeks. A flight cycle is one take-off and landing. No aircraft will be grounded pending the checks, which involve taking an aircraft out of service for about 24 hours.
The A380 is the world’s largest passenger airliner and holds 525 people, in three classes, on two floors. Worth $390 million apiece, the plane’s largest operator is Dubai’s Emirates that has 20 A380s in its fleet.