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Compounding Problems Of Fly By Wire

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Staff member
Apr 12, 2010
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Here are SOME of the problems the pilots encountered aboard Quantas last week after the uncontained engine explosion. Airbus all but considers this a Trent engine issue and early reports indicate there was a bearing failure. What isn't mentioned are the airplane issues that arose after the fact.

* massive fuel leak in the left mid fuel tank (the airplane has 11 tanks, including two in the horizontal stabilizer)
* 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 most fuel transfer functions
* fuel jettison (dumping) was inop due to the problem above
* Large hole in the upper wing skin
* 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 one of two 5,000 PSI systems
* loss of most of the manual gear extension system
* loss of #1 generator and all of it's associated systems
* loss of the anti-skid system
* unable to shutdown the adjacent #1 engine using normal method after landing due to major damage to electrical systems
* unable to shutdown adjacent #1 engine using 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 stab) contributing to major out of balance condition for landing.
* and more to come

The five pilots on board were very busy, especially the FO who was processing complicated 'ECAM' messages and procedures that were seemingly never-ending!

Never-ending ECAM messages as Air France 447 had that they couldn't keep up with. Technology is great but in the end there is still a human being at the end of the line.

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