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EK407 Emirates Tail Strike Leftovers  
User currently offlineTeamDA From Norway, joined Mar 2008, 37 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 5 months 3 days ago) and read 19175 times:

While in Toulouse recently I stumbled across the original rear tail section from A6-ERG the Airbus A340-541 which suffered a tail strike at Melbourne on the 20th March 2009. I was able to take a couple of photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalairliners/4627928832/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalairliners/4627930784/ which when compared to the primer section in this photo http://www.skyliner-aviation.de/viewphoto.main?LC=nav2&picid=6138 illustrate what was saved and scraped.

Not sure why Airbus still have the damaged tail section, does anyone know if it is destined for a museum?

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineBoof From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 18660 times:

Very interesting thanks for posting. $80 million for repairs seems like a lot (a new one is only $251 million) but then I do not imagine Airbus have a spare tail section in the spares inventory so it would have to have been an extra build.

I doubt it is headed to a museum, more than likely they have to continue to keep it for the ongoing ATSB accident investigation as it is being treated very seriously down here by the local transport safety bureau. After that who knows? Maybe we will be drinking soft drink from it in a couple of years....

Does make me wonder why Airbus didn't put a new cockpit section on that new Etihad A346 that hit the wall a few years ago?



If only B6 flew in Australia...
User currently offlineatcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 1216 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 18226 times:

Quoting Boof (Reply 1):
Does make me wonder why Airbus didn't put a new cockpit section on that new Etihad A346 that hit the wall a few years ago?

I'd imagine it all depends on the level of damage involved. If this A345 repair cost 1/3 of the original purchase price, that's probably the upper limit of what to replace and when to simply write it off. The Etihad A346 bollocking a few years ago would have required a much more substantial fix...there would have been damage to all the cockpit instrumentation, the nose gear, and the way it rested would have damaged the tail, wings, possibly engines and possibly main gear. With the Emirates fix, it was just the last section of fuselage and tail needing replacement -- the Etihad disaster would have been much more substantial and would have been quicker, easier, and probably cheaper to deliver them a new aircraft, write-off the wrecked aircraft, then scrap it for any undamaged parts.


User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4064 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 17810 times:
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Quoting Boof (Reply 1):
Does make me wonder why Airbus didn't put a new cockpit section on that new Etihad A346 that hit the wall a few years ago?

Because replacing the cockpit was just one of many required repairs. Too much structural damage due to the force of the impact.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 14923 times:

How can a tail-strike incident still be under investigation over a year later?

User currently offlinenclmedic From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2009, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 9833 times:

Thanks for posting these - I was wondering if this bird was EVER going to leave MEL! While we're on the subject, was it ever established what the cause of the incident was. I seem to remember reading somewhere that in terms of their careers at EK, the piliots were chucked almost instantaneously before any details emerged?

User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4064 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 9149 times:
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The first officer entered the wrong TOW in his laptop, about 100t below actual weight. As a result, the computed speeds were all wrong, with V2 coming in as less than what Vr needed to be for the actual weight.

The captain failed to check the F/O's numbers, as per company SOP, and used them as-is for a reduced thrust take-off.

The rest, as they say, is history.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineGulfstream650 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days ago) and read 8088 times:

I predict Bundeburg and Coke cans in the not so distant future! Perhaps they could sell one off 'tail strike' edition packs.


I don't proclaim to be the best pilot in the world but I'm safe
User currently offlineWoof From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days ago) and read 8062 times:

Quoting TeamDA (Thread starter):
Quoting Gulfstream650 (Reply 7):
Perhaps they could sell one off 'tail strike' edition packs.

Lol. Those drinks would probably be uncarbonated though as I doubt the cans could be pressurised.


User currently offlineGulfstream650 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 2 days ago) and read 8038 times:

Quoting Woof (Reply 8):
Those drinks would probably be uncarbonated though as I doubt the cans could be pressurised.

Ha ha - nice one!



I don't proclaim to be the best pilot in the world but I'm safe
User currently offlineatcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 1216 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7546 times:

Quoting 413X3 (Reply 4):
How can a tail-strike incident still be under investigation over a year later?

Investigations commonly take years, whether they are airline/aircraft manufacturer internal investigations or government investigations, like the NTSB - National Transportation Safety Board. The key difference is how the investigation is classified.

The amount of damage helps to classify if it was an incident or an accident. Any fatalities resulting as a direct cause of what happened is always labeled an "accident" even if there is little (or possibly even no) structural damage to the aircraft. It is also labeled an "accident" if there is a hull loss, meaning the aircraft has been written off. However, since this aircraft returned to service, despite significant structural damage, it was most likely classified as an "incident".

Accident investigations take priority, specifically when there are deaths involved or if mechanical failure is suspected. If mechanical failure is suspected, it is extremely important to identify the fault and see if the same fault is present in other aircraft or relates to past incidents/accidents. This way, the issue can be corrected -- the manufacturer issuing a service bulletin to all airlines operating affected aircraft and, if serious enough, the FAA (and other nation's equivalent authorities) issuing an AD, or Airworthiness Directive. An AD requires all airlines within that country to comply within a given time frame, or the aircraft is no longer deemed "airworthy" and cannot operate until the issue is corrected.

Incidents, like this one, don't really take priority. The investigation will examine any mechanical faults (if there were any) by examining the condition of the aircraft and probably by pulling the DFDR, then investigate pilot inputs and actions using the DFDR and CVR, and atmospheric/environmental conditions. They will then issue a final ruling, typically one year after an incident investigation is opened. Accident investigations will issue preliminary findings with the final report being issued typically 1-2 years after. It is possible for an accident investigation to never close if the finding cannot be determined, for example, Air France flight 447. Some reports don't have findings for many years, like United Airlines flight 585 and USAir flight 427, because they needed Eastwind flight 517's pilots to survive for questioning to find out what exactly happened. The problem was uncommanded rudder deflections resulting from the actuator being supercooled at altitude, producing a hard-over during approach (a critical flight phase) and invert/nosedive the aircraft into the ground. Since the aircraft involved was the 737, it was extremely important to issue a finding and corrective action since it is the most popular passenger aircraft in the world. UA575's first report had no finding after nearly two years of investigation, but a subsequent report (being the final report) was issued about three years later -- after Eastwind 517.

I hope this helps answer your question. Investigations aren't exactly a quick process because they need to be thorough. It's annoying and a bit embarrassing to issue report amendments or additions, and particularly if the report has to be released with no finding...it makes the NTSB look incompetent (which they most certainly are not) and it creates public fear of the aircraft involved -- usually unwarranted.


User currently offlinekaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12514 posts, RR: 35
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7202 times:

You must remember that this would have been EK's first hull loss and this is something they didn't want. If it cost $80m to effect a repair then, so be it.

Also, EK's workforce - like that of most M/E carriers - is non-unionised and the workforce doesn't have anything like the legal protections that pilots in western countries have. The manner in which they were treated was, notwithstanding the error they made, one of indecent haste. This, I think, will have an impact on the investigation and report, because the Australian air accident investigators will want to interview them.

Bear in mind that the ATSB is a strong advocate of the Reason Model of accident investigation, better known as the Swiss cheese model; i.e. they will want to look not just at what happened, but also at the procedures within the airline. It's not just the procedure for calculating and checking takeoff calculations, but also how the airline deals with errors by their crews. If, as appears to be the case (and I've heard of EK crews being sacked for much less than this), the reaction to error is to sack pilots, then what kind of impact is that going to have on the safety culture within an airline? It can only have a negative impact, because crews will be much more likely to hide errors and will certainly not trust the company to take a fair approach to human error. Now, this is exactly what the ATSB will want to focus on (and of course, another reason why EK will not want their crew interviewed by the ATSB) and exactly what the airline wants to avoid. It will want this report to absolve them completely (and you can be fairly sure that diplomatic pressure will be brought to bear, to "temper" some of the findings.

It will be VERY interesting to see the report when it comes out and whether it will have any impact on the safety culture at the airline. EK is a very safe airline and invests hugely in equipment and training; its crews are professional and highly trained, but it must understand that NO amount of spending can eliminate human error. Its safety culture needs to accommodate that reality.


User currently offlineatcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 1216 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 21 hours ago) and read 6462 times:

Quoting kaitak (Reply 11):
You must remember that this would have been EK's first hull loss and this is something they didn't want. If it cost $80m to effect a repair then, so be it.

That's interesting, I hadn't realized it would have been their first. That's certainly a good reason for not wanting to just write it off. They've certainly got the cash for an $80mil repair so it wasn't exactly an issue.

Quoting kaitak (Reply 11):
It will be VERY interesting to see the report when it comes out and whether it will have any impact on the safety culture at the airline. EK is a very safe airline and invests hugely in equipment and training; its crews are professional and highly trained, but it must understand that NO amount of spending can eliminate human error. Its safety culture needs to accommodate that reality.

I agree! EK spends a lot of money in having new aircraft and maintaining them and training their employees, but you're right, you can't throw money at a safety issue and have it go away. It has to mean something to the employees, the safety culture. They have to be working for more than just a paycheck and not wanting to lose their job. I understand sacking a pilot for a careless tailstrike, but I'm not sure it's right to fire people for minor offences. The goal isn't to make an example out of them, it's to improve the culture and make sure the issues are corrected to create a safer environment.

I also like the rest of your comment. It was very well put. I'd like to see the report when it comes out and see what they've come up with.


User currently offlinejbmitt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 547 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 21 hours ago) and read 6379 times:

Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 12):
That's interesting, I hadn't realized it would have been their first. That's certainly a good reason for not wanting to just write it off. They've certainly got the cash for an $80mil repair so it wasn't exactly an issue.

Airlines self insure to a degree and then re-insure. You better believe that there was a claim filed via their insurer and EK is not footing the $80 million tab. Airplanes are similar to cars in there is a determination of whether the machine is repairable or a total loss. With the exception for items that cannot be repaired, its usually determined by which is more cost effective. There isn't much of an emotional decision regarding if it is or is not a hull loss.


User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6436 posts, RR: 38
Reply 14, posted (4 years 5 months 21 hours ago) and read 6332 times:

I flew ERG out of MEL (coincidence? lol) last month and it was a great flight. After seeing these pictures, I can say I've been inside part of an EY plane without ever setting foot inside an EY plane! The plane itself is still very good, IMO worth the $80m they spent to get it airworthy again.


It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineatcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 1216 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 5 months 14 hours ago) and read 5886 times:

Quoting jbmitt (Reply 13):
Airlines self insure to a degree and then re-insure. You better believe that there was a claim filed via their insurer and EK is not footing the $80 million tab. Airplanes are similar to cars in there is a determination of whether the machine is repairable or a total loss. With the exception for items that cannot be repaired, its usually determined by which is more cost effective. There isn't much of an emotional decision regarding if it is or is not a hull loss

Yes of course, but insurance doesn't cover the cost for the aircraft being out of service for an extended period of time, losing loads of revenue. They wouldn't have picked up the whole repair tab, but the time the aircraft was grounded probably led to some significant losses and added expense because other aircraft had to run longer to pick up the routes from the affected aircraft. Either way, it's a black eye, but it's good it wasn't a write-off.


User currently offlineTruemanQLD From Australia, joined Feb 2007, 1562 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 5 months 13 hours ago) and read 5755 times:

In terms of EK replacing it for image reasons, QF did the same thing with the 747 that went into the golf course at BKK

User currently offlineTeamDA From Norway, joined Mar 2008, 37 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 5 months 13 hours ago) and read 5658 times:

Quoting Boof (Reply 1):
Very interesting thanks for posting. $80 million for repairs seems like a lot (a new one is only $251 million) but then I do not imagine Airbus have a spare tail section in the spares inventory so it would have to have been an extra build.

Is the actual repair cost known? Several articles and forum posts mention the $80 million figure but there doesn't seem to be a definitive source.

I've scanned the EK financial reports http://www.theemiratesgroup.com/engl...h/facts-figures/annual-report.aspx but find no mention there. Even if it was the insurance company that picked up the bill I thought 1 year on it might be possible to confirm the $80 million cost.


User currently offlinencfc99 From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 741 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 5 months 1 hour ago) and read 5127 times:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14):
I flew ERG out of MEL (coincidence? lol) last month and it was a great flight. After seeing these pictures, I can say I've been inside part of an EY plane without ever setting foot inside an EY plane! The plane itself is still very good, IMO worth the $80m they spent to get it airworthy again.

I don't think the EY remains have been used to repair the EK bird. Altough I stand to be corrected. I think its just coincidence that the pics are together on flickr.


User currently offlinejbmitt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 547 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4874 times:

Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 15):

Yes of course, but insurance doesn't cover the cost for the aircraft being out of service for an extended period of time, losing loads of revenue.

Its called 'loss of use' coverage and is common with businesses and key equipment. Whether or not EK carries it or chooses to use it, is a different story. Most major airlines have enough flexibility to cover for a grounded aircraft even for long periods of time.


User currently offlineatcsundevil From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 1216 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4407 times:

Quoting jbmitt (Reply 19):
Its called 'loss of use' coverage and is common with businesses and key equipment. Whether or not EK carries it or chooses to use it, is a different story. Most major airlines have enough flexibility to cover for a grounded aircraft even for long periods of time.

From what I understand, and this is coming from a former WN senior pilot turned lecturer, is that most airlines do not have loss of use coverage. They typically only have insurance on replacement cost and liability, which if I remember correctly, only covers approximately 10-20% of the total cost of removing an aircraft from service, either permanently or for a long period of time. My guess is that loss of use coverage on a fleet of aircraft would be hugely expensive and ultimately have little benefit vs. cost.

You are right that most major airlines have enough flexibility to cover for a grounded aircraft, but particularly when talking about a long haul aircraft, it means aircraft filling the place of an out-of-service aircraft for long-term will have to run longer hours, which ultimately increase maintenance costs only adding to the overall expense of having the aircraft out of service.


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