Qantas A380 Emergency

Qantas A380 in Singapore
Qantas A380 in Singapore

Here are just some of the problems the Captain of QF32 had in Singapore on 4 November:

  • massive fuel leak in the left mid fuel tank (the beast has 11 tanks, including in the horizontal stabiliser on the tail)
  • massive fuel leak in the left inner fuel tank
  • a hole on the flap canoe/fairing that you could fit your upper body through
  • the aft gallery in the fuel system failed, preventing many fuel transfer functions
  • fuel jettison had problems due to the previous problem above
  • bloody great hole in the upper wing surface
  • partial failure of leading edge slats
  • partial failure of speed brakes/ground spoilers
  • shrapnel damage to the flaps
  • total loss of all hydraulic fluid in the Green System (beast has 2 x 5,000 PSI systems, Green and Yellow)
  • manual extension of landing gear
  • loss of 1 generator and associated systems
  • loss of brake anti-skid system
  • unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using normal method after landing due to major damage to systems
  • unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using the fire switch!
  • therefore, no fire protection was available for that engine after the explosion in #2
  • ECAM warnings about major fuel imbalance because of fuel leaks on left side, that were unable to be fixed with cross-feeding
  • fuel trapped in Trim Tank (in the tail)
  • therefore, possible major C of G out-of-balance condition for landing.

The Captain was in the left seat, FO in the right), SO in the 2nd obs seat (right rear, also with his own Radio Management Panel, so he probably did most of the coordination with the ground), Check & Training Captain in the 1st obs seat (middle), training another C & T Captain. All five guys were flat out, especially the FO who would have been processing complicated ‘ECAM’ messages and procedures that were seemingly never-ending.