A380 ‘cracked wing’ alarm

CARRIERS are noticing alarming cracks developing on the wings of the A380.

“The cracks detected by Qantas and Singapore Airlines on some of the wings [of the] A380 should lead to all airlines using the A380 to inspect their aircraft thoroughly,” Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK, says.

“But these cracks are very small,” she goes on, “will be monitored by the airline and are unlikely to affect aircraft operation. Airlines approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation have very strict regulations and require rigorous inspection procedures so an aircraft would not be allowed to fly unless it was deemed to be fully airworthy by the authority or their delegates.”

Cargo capacity on the passenger aircraft is 38 LD3s or 13 pallets.

It is unclear whether this design fault will set back production of the eagerly-awaited A380F. With the capability to carry a payload of 150 metric tonnes over distances of 5,600 nautical miles (10,371km), the A380F freighter will haul more cargo, over farther distances and at lower cost than its nearest competitor, Airbus claims.

The freighter will accommodate standard interchangeable containers and pallets on its three levels with a total internal volume of more than 1,000m3.

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