Cracks in wing of new Airbus superjumbo

The earlier problems with engines stopping in mid-flight was bad enough, but now cracks? The cracks were initially rejected as not serious but who wants to fly on a plane – especially that size – that has cracks in it? Airbus needs to stop PR spin and fix the damned thing.

European safety regulators ordered the checks for a flaw that first emerged in the wake of an A380 engine blowout in 2010, when a Qantas-owned jet suffered a serious engine failure over Indonesia. Subsequent inspections of the Airbus aircraft revealed hairline cracks in a rib-foot – part of the metal frame of a wing. Further cracks were then found on other A380s, but in the latest development the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) said a “new form of cracking” had now been found that was more significant than previous flaws. Easa said in a statement on Friday: “This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.” It added that further mandatory actions might be considered as the investigation continues.

Carbon composite materials are widely used in the wings, which reminds me of my local bike shop telling me that a fissure is not a big deal. Uh huh. Except that carbon doesn’t break nicely so collapses tend to be catastrophic and unpredictable. It’s bad enough to find a crack on a small, one person bike but in a plane with 400 or 500 people, it’s a much bigger problem.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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