Qantas A380 Sustained Worse Damage than First Thought

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The aircraft manufacturer is defending itself against such accusations. The aircraft, says Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath, was "controllable until the landing," and the autopilot continued to function. "There are two separate hydraulic and electrical systems," Schaffrath adds.

But some of the brakes were no longer working properly. Luckily, the pilots were able to land in Singapore, which has a very long, 4,000-meter runway.

Another dramatic aspect of the emergency landing was that an anti-lock system also stopped working. Three tires burst when the plane touched down as a result, sending sparks into the air. "And that was with two holes in the tank!" says Woodward.

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At least the reason for the engine explosion is now clear. Last week, Rolls-Royce identified a defective part in the turbine, which caused an oil leak that led to the fire. Of the superjumbo jets delivered to date, 20 are affected by the problem, including three at Lufthansa. The defective engine part will gradually be replaced.

Qantas pilot Woodward is pleased that his company has made a "very conservative safety decision" to temporarily ground the A380. But he does wonder why the other airlines potentially affected by the engine defect are not taking similar precautions.

Lufthansa points out that it has such short maintenance intervals that dangerous oil leaks are bound to be discovered. But Woodward isn't convinced, saying: "Our plane had just returned from maintenance in Frankfurt, and the accident happened nonetheless."

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