Airbus 380 Wing Update

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2019

Older Airbus A380 operators are set to be ordered to check for cracking in the region of the outer rear wing span

2014

Airbus orders more A380 inspections after wing fatigue test

2012

Wing cracks in £250million A380 superjumbos that grounded entire fleet blamed on British engineering

There has been a lot of news about significant airworthiness issues for the last six months. Those headlines may have pushed the following similar report about and on-going airworthiness issue which raise questions about the initial certification of the A-380 by EASA.

A wing, especially the massive structure that lifts the world’s largest aircraft, is a complex structure involving many elements. A problem with a outer rear wing spar may be totally unrelated to another wing spar located elsewhere and likely having no connection with a rib.

No inflight failure has occurred. One of the problems was discovered by Airbus on a factory mock-up. An operator detected cracking during a heavy maintenance review. Thus, it is quite possible that a wing problem might occur during an operation.

2019

EASA ordered a mandatory inspection on 25 Airbus A380 aircraft after cracks were discovered in the region of the outer rear wing spar, notably on top and bottom flanges between ribs 33 and 49.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published on 5 July 2019 an Airworthiness Directive to mandate a prompt detailed visual inspection of the wings on 25 Airbus A380 jet of older models.Occurrences have been reported of finding cracks in the affected areas of the wing ORS on in-service A380 aeroplanes.
This condition, if not detected and corrected, could reduce the structural integrity of the wing.
To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus plans to issue the SB to provide inspection instructions.
For the reason described above, this AD requires repetitive special detailed inspections (SDI) of the affected areas, by using phased-array ultrasonic testing methods for external wing box and ultrasonic testing methods for internal wing box.”

2014

Airbus (AIR.PA) has ordered increased inspections of A380 wings after discovering unexpected levels of metal fatigue during testing on a factory mock-up, industry sources said on Thursday.

The planemaker has asked airlines to inspect the wing’s “spars” or main internal beams during heavy maintenance visits carried out after 6 years in service, and again after 12 years, doubling the current rate of inspections, they said.

The move comes as Airbus emerges from a two-year program of modifications and charges triggered by the discovery of cracks on brackets inside the wings of A380 jets already flying.

This time, however, the flaws have not been discovered on aircraft in service.

2012

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published Wednesday 8 February 2012 an Airworthiness Directive to mandate a so-called High Frequency Eddy Current inspection of the wings of Airbus A380 in service.

This directive is a second interim measure to prevent any unsafe conditions following a first directive issued 3 weeks ago. Aircraft that have accumulated less than 1216 flights will have to be inspected upon accumulation of 1300 flights. Aircraft between 1216 and 1384 flights 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.

EASA and Airbus are working closely together to ensure the continuing safe operations of the A380 aircraft type. In accordance with EASA, Airbus has established a repair scheme if cracks are found during the inspection. In parallel EASA and Airbus are working on a long-term fix to be defined by the summer of 2012

Last month the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ordered checks on 20 of the most heavily used A380s. Those checks showed the problem was more widespread, also affecting the other end of the bracket, which has vertical flanges that connect to the wing spar, prompting EASA to order all 68 A380s in service to undergo detailed inspection using high-frequency electric currents over the next few weeks.

There is no suggestion the planes are not safe to fly, and Airbus has stated the parts in question are not main load-bearing components…”

The number of the super jumbos still operating is small and there is little/no demand for sales of the A380. Might not a more thorough review of the certification basis for this plane be timely?



 

 

 

 

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