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Another Airbus Near Disaster

Posted by feww on June 23, 2009

Another Airbus Incident

Qantas defends its Airbus fleet after 13 passengers injured

At least thirteen people were injured when a Qantas A330-300 carrying 206 passengers struck severe turbulence over Borneo on a flight from Hong Kong to Perth, AFP reported.

Qantas, the Australian flag-carrier, dismissed any link to other A330 accidents, especially to the Air France disaster on June 1, saying that the latest incident was caused by freak weather conditions.

qantas airbus a330-300
Qantas Airbus A330-300. (photo: GFDL)

“There is nothing to link the aircraft to anything untoward,” said company spokesman.

[Imagine Qantas deciding on the correct course of action. How much would they get for their second hand fleet of Airbus A330s? ]

As Flight QF68 dropped about 35 meters, sending passengers flying, when hit by turbulence as it flew over Malaysia some 4 hours into its flight.

“It appeared like we’d just dropped out of a 30-storey building,” said one passenger, as another described how a woman was flung into the plane’s ceiling.

“I was sitting at the exit door and I had this lady, (who) was waiting at the restroom and she flew up and hit the ceiling and came crashing down to the floor,” the passenger, reportedly told Fairfax radio.

“It was just a matter of a few seconds but it was really sudden and things went flying.”

At least thirteen people were treated neck and back injuries and bruises after the plane landed in Perth, AAP news agency said.

“The incident comes just 11 days after a cockpit blaze forced a Jetstar A330 to make an emergency landing, and also follows the Air France tragedy when 228 died in a mysterious accident involving the same model of plane.”

“Last October, a Qantas A330 went into two steep dives over Western Australia, causing several serious injuries and prompting an emergency landing, ” Asia One Travel said.

Qantas reportedly operates a fleet of ten  A330-300s and six Airbus A330-200s and is also the major shareholder and operator of the budget airline Jetstar.  While it is easy to understand why they would  dismiss any links between Monday’s incident and all the previous ones, it’s rather difficult to see what they might do after the next Airbus crash.

“There is no reason to link the incident to other recent in-flight incidents involving A330 aircraft,” Qantas said in a statement, adding an investigation was under way.

It is NOT known how they could have ruled out any link to recent Airbus incidents so quickly and prior to an investigation. On the other hand, if they are so confident of the Airbus A330 performance, why have they started a investigation?

Could it be that Qantas or the aviation authorities in Australia are conducting a kangaroo investigation?

The following is a list of Australia’s Airbus A330 [reported] incidents published by AAP. In view of public interest the list is mirrored below.
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25671665-2702,00.html

Incidents involving Australia’s fleet of A330 Airbus aircraft:

Jan 19, 2004 – A newly acquired Qantas A330-300 flying from Melbourne to Perth is forced to make an emergency landing in Adelaide after fumes leak into cabin, with seven crew members and two of the 274 passengers taken to hospital with nausea-like symptoms.

Aug 21, 2005 – Nine people, including two Australians, are injured during the evacuation of 178 passengers from a Perth-bound Qantas jet in Osaka, Japan, after a smoke sensor was activated in the aircraft’s hold.

Jan-June 2006 – A wasp infestation among Qantas aircraft, particularly A330s, at Brisbane Airport, causes three flights to be aborted during takeoff as well as a number of flight cancellations.

July 24, 2007 – More than 300 passengers are left stranded in Bali when a Bangkok to Melbourne Jetstar flight is forced to divert to Denpasar Airport after an engine failure.

Oct 8, 2008 – Almost 50 people are injured, some seriously, when a Qantas jet, with 303 passengers and a crew of 10 bound from Singapore to Perth, plunges up to 2,000 metres over Western Australia.

Nov 14, 2008 – A Qantas jet carrying 278 passengers from Sydney to Shanghai turns back after a weather radar malfunction on board.

Nov 29, 2008 – A Qantas jet serviced just days earlier and flying from Perth to Singapore has to turn back after the crew is forced to turn off one of its two engines when an engine oil warning light flashes. Qantas says inspections indicated a fault with the engine starter motor.

Dec 5, 2008 – A Qantas jet becomes bogged at Sydney airport as a towbar holding the aircraft fails and two of the jet’s wheels become stuck in the grass beside the taxiway.

Dec 29, 2008 – A Qantas jet flying from Perth to Singapore is forced to return to Perth after the autopilot disconnects at 36,000 feet about 500km northwest of Perth. Air safety authorities say the circumstances were similar to the October incident over WA.

Jan 28, 2009 – An A330 defence aircraft carrying about 80 Australian personnel and supplies to the Middle East is forced to make an emergency landing in Darwin after fumes filled the cabin. Three people were hospitalised and later recovered.

June 9, 2009 – Qantas announces it has received no safety directives for its A330 fleet following the May 31 crash of an Air France A330-200 that killed all 228 people aboard in the Atlantic Ocean.

June 10, 2009 – A fire in the cockpit of a Jetstar A330-300 carrying 186 passengers from Japan to Australia forces the pilot to make an emergency safe landing in Guam.

June 22, 2009 – Thirteen people are injured when a Qantas A330-300 carrying 206 passengers strikes severe turbulence over Borneo on a flight from Hong Kong to Perth. —AAP

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4 Responses to “Another Airbus Near Disaster”

  1. Anonymous said

  2. feww said

    NTSB probes incident involving Northwest Airbus
    by Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
    June 26, 2009

    St. Paul, Minn. — Federal safety officials are investigating two reports of Airbus A330 planes experiencing airspeed and altitude malfunctions. One involves a Northwest Airlines plane.

    The aircraft are the same type as the Air France plane that crashed into the North Atlantic on May 31 after sending out low airspeed messages. All 228 aboard died.

    Now, federal safety investigators are looking into a TAM Airlines flight that experienced a loss of speed and altitude information.

    They’re also reviewing a possibly similar incident on a Northwest flight between Hong Kong and Tokyo. Both planes landed safely.

    Northwest, which is now owned by Delta Air Lines, operates 32 A330 jets, mostly on international routes. Delta says it is cooperating with the safety investigation, and following Airbus recommendations to replace speed monitors on all of its A330s.

    Air France Flight 447 came down in the mid-Atlantic on May 31 after running into thunderstorms en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

    The cause of the crash is unclear. Without the black boxes to help explain what went wrong, the crash investigation has focused on a flurry of automated messages sent by the airliner minutes before it lost contact.

    One suggests that external speed sensors may have iced over, destabilizing the plane’s control systems.

    The automated messages were not alarm calls and no distress call was picked up from the plane.

    Air France has replaced the speed sensors, called pitot tubes, on all its A330 and A340 aircraft, under pressure from pilots who feared a link to the accident.

    The two incidents could provide important clues to what caused the Air France crash or they could turn out to have no relationship to it, said former NTSB board member John Goglia.

    “You just don’t know yet,” Goglia said, “but they would really be remiss if they didn’t explore these possibilities.”

    If Flight 447 also experienced a failure of the computer system that supplies key data like airspeed and altitude, Goglia said, that could explain the crash because when that happens “everything in the cockpit goes screwy – you have nothing to rely on.”

    “You speed up, you slow down. You go up, you go down. You have no reference,” he said.

    The NTSB is a party to the Air France investigation because the plane’s engines and some of its cockpit navigation and communications systems came from U.S. manufacturers.

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report) – Minnesota Public Radio ©2009 All rights reserved
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/06/26/airbus_problems/

  3. Nayirpro said

    10 : 1 plane accident was caused by turbulence

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