BigTravelNews.info - Feb 13,2012 - The Airbus A380 has recently come under fire for hairline cracks in its wings.
Airlines have been ordered to inspect all operating Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, as Europe’s air safety regulator escalates required checks after the wings of the double-decker superjumbo developed cracks.
So what if there’s a hairline crack in a superjumbo aircrafts wings? That is after all a pretty small crack in comparison to the airplanes entire size.
Airport Parking Discounts, spoke to the European Aviation Safety Agency and industry experts to find out more.
The Crack of the Matter
A hairline crack is essentially a really tiny crack on a surface and in this case the surface of a gigantic carbon fibre wing of an Airbus A380.
The crack which is as thin as a hair is only visible when it is a contrasting colour. And to be sure that it is indeed a hairline crack, x-rays should be done or it must be felt, which isn’t all that easy on an Airbus.
Experts say hairline cracks need not be too much of a concern. Airbus has also emphasised that the A380 was still safe to fly.
“These brackets are located on wing ribs which are not the main load-bearing structure and, thus, the safe operation of the aircraft is not affected,” the European manufacturer said.
“Nearly 4000 brackets are used on the A380 to join the wing-skin to the ribs. Only a handful of brackets per aircraft have (been) found to be affected.”
Further Inspections Ordered
However the EASA earlier this week published an Airworthiness Directive to ensure all Airbus A380’s were inspected for cracks on their wings.
This instruction is a second interim measure to prevent any unsafe conditions. The inspection will only cover aircraft approaching the 1300 flight cycle threshold.
These aircraft are to be inspected within six weeks of 13 February 2012. Aircraft that have completed more than 1384 flights will have to be inspected within three weeks of this date.
Airplanes with fewer cycles will have to be inspected at the next routine maintenance, and no later than 1300 cycles.
The two industry partners. EASA and Airbus, are working closely together to ensure the continuing safe operations of the A380 aircraft type.
Lufthansa spokesperson Aage Duenhaupt says no hairline cracks have been found on any of their aircrafts.
“We received our first A380 in May2010 and are operating 8 of them at the moment. So far none of them reached the limit. We are still quite away from it.”
Frequent travelers can relax as the airlines have had no unusual activity on their aircrafts which have been reliable up until now says Duenhaupt.