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Airbus Traces A380 Wing Cracks To Manufacturing Pr  
User currently offlineLXSWISS From Switzerland, joined Jan 2012, 5 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 31518 times:

Airbus has traced the source of the cracking in A380 wing structures to unexpected additional stresses imparted by the manufacturing process, and is confident that its original flight loading calculations for the type are accurate.


http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...s-to-manufacturing-process-367116/


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93 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 31480 times:
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So as many of us suspected, nothing to get worried over and fixes will be made for new-builds (manufacturing) and already-built planes.   

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 31422 times:

It does not seem to be a big problem, and should be easily corrected with an updated manufacturing process. However the FG story does not say anything about how turbulance could aggravate the stress cracks on the foot brackets. To me that means the EASA may require an immediate for any of the affected airframes that encounter moderate or worse inflight turbulance.

User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4761 posts, RR: 40
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 31168 times:
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Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):
So as many of us suspected, nothing to get worried over and fixes will be made for new-builds (manufacturing) and already-built planes.

Good to read that they have traced the origin of the problem. The solution to that seems to be quite easy.  


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 30719 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
However the FG story does not say anything about how turbulance could aggravate the stress cracks on the foot brackets.

It kind of does, since they use a lot of language to say it's a fatigue problem and not a static strength problem. One big overload (like heavy turbulence) has an extremely small impact on the number of cycles and can actually slow down crack growth...this process is called auto-frettage when you do it on purpose. The regulators might drop a short-flow inspection (almost certainly not an immediate) so operators can baseline their crack lengths to establish future inspection intervals but I don't see this altering the post-turbulence/post-overload inspections.

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 3):

Good to read that they have traced the origin of the problem. The solution to that seems to be quite easy.

The solution for future builds is easy...no new design work, just fix the manufacturing process. The fix for as-builts, although mechanically simple, still involves draining the tank, pulling the rib feet, probably oversizing the holes, installing new feet, re-sealing, leak-check, and restore to service...not exactly a fun or quick job.

Tom.


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4761 posts, RR: 40
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 30476 times:
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Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 4):
The fix for as-builts, although mechanically simple, still involves draining the tank, pulling the rib feet, probably oversizing the holes, installing new feet, re-sealing, leak-check, and restore to service...not exactly a fun or quick job.

OK, that is a lot more work. But probably can be done during one of the regular checks for the airframe?


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 30426 times:
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Quoting EPA001 (Reply 5):
But probably can be done during one of the regular checks for the airframe?

I believe someone posted in the original thread that the earliest A380 airframes are starting to approach their first C-check, but I don't know if this type of modification would take longer than the normal timeframe for the check.

If the cracks remain manageable (as in pose no worries) and the application of the modification could be pushed out to the first D-check, then I expect that is plenty of time to make the modification during that period.


User currently offlineLTC8K6 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 30201 times:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/.../us-airbus-a-idUSTRE80I11G20120119

Airbus (EAD.PA) said on Thursday it had discovered more cracks in the wings of two A380 superjumbo aircraft but insisted the world's largest jetliner remained safe to fly.

The announcement comes two weeks after tiny cracks were first reported in the wings of the 525-seat, double-decker aircraft, which entered service just over four years ago.

"Airbus confirms that some additional cracks have been found on a limited number of non-critical brackets ... inside the wings of some A380s," the planemaker said in a statement.

"Airbus emphasizes that these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft."

The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) confirmed it would issue a bulletin Friday mandating precautionary checks.

...


User currently offlinemffoda From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1075 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 29671 times:

Quoting LTC8K6 (Reply 7):
The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) confirmed it would issue a bulletin Friday mandating precautionary checks.

And here it is on the FG site.

"EASA decided to call for an immediate inspection regime rather than waiting for a regular inspection opportunity. Around a dozen aircraft are likely to be affected."

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...20Crack%20Inspections&channel=comm



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User currently offlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 641 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 22090 times:

Interesting Aviation Week article - this is a clearly second mode of cracking.

But as the article says, there are 2000 of these brackets per wing, one cracked is probably not too much of an issue.


User currently offlineRubberJungle From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 21802 times:

EASA ordering checks on 20 aircraft:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...k-20-a380s-for-wing-cracks-367175/


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 21276 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 4):
It kind of does, since they use a lot of language to say it's a fatigue problem and not a static strength problem.

I took exactly the opposite meaning from the article. It says:

Airbus carries out A380 wing manufacture at the UK plant in Broughton, before transferring the wings to the Toulouse final assembly line. An Airbus wing specialist on the A380 said the airframer's investigations indicated that parts were being stressed at some point during the manufacturing process, which involves drawing the wing skin over the built-up rib and spar assembly before attaching it.

"It's possible to get standing stresses that hadn't been expected," said the specialist, which translated into additional loading during flight. Airbus has already conducted verification flights to measure actual loading, and found that its original design calculations are correct.
(Emphasis mine.)

I read this primarily to mean "We overstressed the part and cracked it."

To say these cracks are fatigue-related, there must be an assumption of cyclic loading and unloading of the part. Furthermore, the number of cycles on this part would have to be high enough at those stresses to induce fatigue. Airbus is clearly saying that there were unanticipated stresses; what is not known is the existence of cyclic loading or the number of cycles.

Disclaimer: I have no experience assembliing wings, so I'm not familiar with whether cyclic loading is expected. I'm all ears (er, eyes) on this particular issue.



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User currently offlinemffoda From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1075 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 21061 times:

Here's a piece from ATW regarding the AD and new cracks.. They are saying it is possibly more significant?

http://atwonline.com/international-a...cks-20-a380s-more-significant-0120

"EASA said in the AD that the “new form of rib foot cracking [Type 2 cracks], originating from the forward and aft edges of the vertical web of the rib feet “is more significant than the original rib foot hole cracking. It has been determined that the Type 2 cracks may develop on other aeroplanes after a period of time in service. This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.”



harder than woodpecker lips...
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 21042 times:
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Quoting mffoda (Reply 12):
Here's a piece from ATW regarding the AD and new cracks.. They are saying it is possibly more significant?

I was just reading the EASA AD and noticed that. The inspection period is also based on how many hours and cycles the plane has - four weeks for those with the higher values, six weeks for those with less.

So is EASA's concern that these other cracks might indeed be caused by the number of cycles/hours flown?


User currently offlinemffoda From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1075 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 20933 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 13):
So is EASA's concern that these other cracks might indeed be caused by the number of cycles/hours flown?

I don't really know... hopefully some of our maintenance guru's will provide some insight.

The thing I having trouble with is the reporting? (A380 wing cracks/ 747-8I fuel tanks?) When these cracks where first reported, It was no big deal (already identified by Airbus) and a plan in place to deal with it at the next heavy check?? Now must be done straight away...

How do we go from there to here in such a short period of time? Something seems out whack... Is this just damage control? Regardless if it is Airbus or Boeing?



harder than woodpecker lips...
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks ago) and read 20895 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 13):

So is EASA's concern that these other cracks might indeed be caused by the number of cycles/hours flown?



No, sounds like they are more concerned about catching these cracks and repair them before they result in a part failure.

The number of cycles affect the crack growth and not necessarily how they start.
I have not read anything on if they have determined what is behind the most recent cracks.

The shorter inspection period on the higher time aircraft is because the crack length may be closer to critical lengths.

I didn't realize these planes have surpassed the 1000 flight cycle mark. How time flies . . .

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks ago) and read 20831 times:

Quoting mffoda (Reply 14):
When these cracks where first reported, It was no big deal (already identified by Airbus) and a plan in place to deal with it at the next heavy check?? Now must be done straight away...

Two different sets of cracks. We'll have to wait for more details to come out on the second set.

I wouldn't be surprised if everything comes down to not fully understanding some obscure crack propagation property of a new aluminum alloy. Been there . . . done that.  

bikerthai



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User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13152 posts, RR: 100
Reply 17, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 20538 times:
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Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):

So as many of us suspected, nothing to get worried over and fixes will be made for new-builds (manufacturing) and already-built planes.

I'm glad it as those of us in the industry suspected.   

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 11):
"It's possible to get standing stresses that hadn't been expected,"

I would translate that as manufacturing related.

Lightsaber



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User currently offlineairproxx From France, joined Jun 2008, 638 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 20053 times:

Here's the link to EASA website and AD's page:

http://ad.easa.europa.eu/

And here's the link to the particular AD issued by EASA ordering wing inspections:

http://ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/2012-0013

Don't omit to read the little PDF file attached...

Here's part of the report:

"The new form of cracking is more significant than the original rib foot hole cracking. It has been determined that the Type 2 cracks may develop on other aeroplanes after a period of time in service.
This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane."



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User currently offlineRuscoe From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1567 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 20018 times:

Why weren't these cracks picked up on the fatigue test craft?

Ruscoe


User currently offlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 641 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 19982 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 17):
I would translate that as manufacturing related.

I wonder if the recent loss by GKN of some wing component work on A320 neo wings to South Korea in any way to be interpreted as "punishment" of GKN by Airbus for poor quality manufacturing in this case?


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 21, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 19791 times:
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Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 19):
Why weren't these cracks picked up on the fatigue test craft?

At least the first set of cracks do not appear to be caused by fatigue, but instead by stresses imposed during manufacturing and/or installation.

I get a sense from reading EASA's ED that the second set of cracks may indeed be fatigue-based, at least in part, since they do require aircraft with higher cycles or hours to be examined quicker and note that if left unchecked, the cracks could propagate.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 19558 times:

Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 19):
Why weren't these cracks picked up on the fatigue test craft?

One big variable between the fatigue frame and real life operation is thermal cycling and presence of fuel. While I doubt that fuel would exasperate fatigue crack growth, temperature may influence crack propagation in some metals.

Although I'm not saying that this would be the case here.  

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineRuscoe From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1567 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 19230 times:

I admit to not knowing how fatigue test frames are checked, but it seems to me that if these cracks are due to manufacturing problem or fatigue, that they would have been detected, whilst checking fatigue frame for cracks, because isn't the test frame supposed to be ahead of hours of aircraft in service.

If the 2nd type of cracks are due thermal loads then I can see why they may not appear on fatigue frame. (Is this why Boeing moved the 787 test frame outside, into the weather?)

If the test frame is not accurately predicting in service stress issues, then this is a very serious matter in my opinion.

Ruscoe


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 24, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 19102 times:

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 11):
I read this primarily to mean "We overstressed the part and cracked it."

It says they overstressed the part, which lead to later cracking. If they cracked it during manufacturing it would have shown up during assembly, not hundreds of cycles into operation.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 11):
To say these cracks are fatigue-related, there must be an assumption of cyclic loading and unloading of the part.

It's a wing rib...cyclic loading isn't an assumption, it's a given.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 11):
Furthermore, the number of cycles on this part would have to be high enough at those stresses to induce fatigue.

With aluminum, there is no such thing as a stress low enough to prevent fatigue; aluminum doesn't have a fatigue limit. It will always crack eventually after enough stress and cycles. What gets you is that the number of cycles to failure is an extremely non-linear function of the stress. If you set an unaccounted for stress during manufacturing it can blow the fatigue life in terms of cycles completely out of the water.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 11):
Airbus is clearly saying that there were unanticipated stresses; what is not known is the existence of cyclic loading or the number of cycles.

Existance of cyclic loading is known. If you have unanticipated stresses in a cyclicly loaded part, it will screw up your fatigue life calculation.

Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 19):
Why weren't these cracks picked up on the fatigue test craft?

The fatigue airframe is usually one of the very first to be built; as a result it may not be manufactured or assembled using the same tools/methods as the production frames. If the unexpected stress is a result of manufacturing method, it might not be present on the fatigue frame.

Tom.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 25, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 19145 times:

Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 23):
If the 2nd type of cracks are due thermal loads then I can see why they may not appear on fatigue frame. (Is this why Boeing moved the 787 test frame outside, into the weather?)

No, even with the snow storm we had last week, the temperature is no where near cruise temp.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 24):
It says they overstressed the part, which lead to later cracking. If they cracked it during manufacturing it would have shown up during assembly, not hundreds of cycles into operation.

Unless the parts were shot peened, there will always be cracks at the machined surfaces. Inspection will only discover the detectable cracks. The ones that are not detectable will be the ones that grows. And if you don't have the crack growth properly characterized, you will run in to these types of problem.

Hopefully it's only a manufacturing error. If it's material problem, then this will get real expensive real fast.

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 26, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 19065 times:

Looks like they will be replacing these brackets on undelivered frames. Wonder if they will change material or just beef them up?
Bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13152 posts, RR: 100
Reply 27, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 18673 times:
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Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 24):
If you set an unaccounted for stress during manufacturing it can blow the fatigue life in terms of cycles completely out of the water.

   Hence why post manufacturing stress relief is so critical...

Lightsaber



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User currently offlineRuscoe From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1567 posts, RR: 2
Reply 28, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 18515 times:

It's fascinating the speed with which Airbus was able to diagnose the cause, implement fixes, and when the cracking became public reassure the world that an check every four years was adequate, only to discover yet another type of cracking, which the regulatory authorities want fixed..

Is it possible, to do the things I mentioned above, quite quickly?

Ruscoe


User currently offlineflyabr From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 666 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 18373 times:

Was it quickly? Didn't the first cracks get noticed when the Quantas machine blew an engne? And how long ago was that?  

User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3413 posts, RR: 4
Reply 30, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 18317 times:

Quoting flyabr (Reply 29):

Was it quickly? Didn't the first cracks get noticed when the Quantas machine blew an engne? And how long ago was that?

It was discovered during repairs, which started quite a while after the accedent. You are forgetting the months burned in investigating the cause, then evaluating the damage, and finaly aquiring the required parts and personel to effect the repairs. Oh I'm sure in there was a healthy delay for argument over who pays how much when. You don't swing $100M repairs on "oh well someone will pay for it I'm sure"


User currently offlineamicus From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 18198 times:

And to Tom, if fatigue frame is or was unrepresentative of production hardware and processes as you claim, it would surely invalidate the fatigue test in my opinion. What is the point of testing and certifying via non representative hardware. pray?.

User currently offlineprebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6459 posts, RR: 54
Reply 32, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 18163 times:

Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 28):
It's fascinating the speed with which Airbus was able to diagnose the cause, implement fixes, and when the cracking became public reassure the world that an check every four years was adequate, only to discover yet another type of cracking, which the regulatory authorities want fixed..

Is it possible, to do the things I mentioned above, quite quickly?

Planes have been cracking since day one. Loads of planes fly around with various patches here and there and everywhere. It is hard to imagine a type of cracking which the manufacturers and authorities hasn't seen a dozen times before. They have great experience in dealing with cracks. The only thing special about this cracking is that it is first time seen on an A380.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineamicus From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 33, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 18118 times:

But not usually at 1800 flight cycles or less.

User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 34, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 18073 times:

Quoting amicus (Reply 31):

Testing, be it fatigue or static, does not need to verify the exact configuration you are delivering. It is to verify that the analysis that you performed correlate with the testing. Thus, you have the confidence that the analysis will acurately pedict the result of any design changes.

Now if something like this happens and you have not properly pedicted it, then you will have to re-do the analysis and the testing, although it probably would not involve the whole airplane, just the relavent component.

As for the speed of incorporating the change, I can see how with the new design/release processes Airbus Engineering can get new production parts in the pipeline so quickly. Usually deciding what is the proper fix takes the longest time. Once that is done getting parts to the planes is more straight forward, specially if the parts are machined fittings which require little tooling changes.

But back to your point, will testing and analysis cover all your bases? Apparently not, as shown in this case.
Bt

[Edited 2012-01-22 18:37:56]


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User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 35, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17999 times:

Quoting amicus (Reply 31):
And to Tom, if fatigue frame is or was unrepresentative of production hardware and processes as you claim, it would surely invalidate the fatigue test in my opinion.

I didn't say it was un-representative, I said it's not identical...the processes/methods used to build the very early frames may be very different than what's used for the production frames but they're *supposed* to be representative. There are typically many assembly and manufacturing methods that, done properly, will result in equivalent (i.e. representative) parts.

However, you're mis-understanding the fundamental reason you do the test in the first place. It is *not* to find out what the fatigue life or ultimate strength of the airframe actual is (that would require not just representative, but identical, structure). No aircraft in current production had its fatigue or static strength tests done on identical structure.

Quoting amicus (Reply 31):
What is the point of testing and certifying via non representative hardware. pray?.

1) It is supposed to be representative (not identical) hardware.
2) What bikerthai said...the point is the demonstrate your analysis is good. The key requirement is that what you do the analysis on the same configuration as the actual fatigue and static test frames so you can do apples-to-apples comparrison of analysis and actual results. A secondary requirement is that the fatigue and static frames be close enough that the results are transferable (i.e. you can use the same analysis methods) on the actual airframes. This is why you don't generally have to redo the fatigue or static strength tests for derivatives (stretches, shrinks, re-engines, up-weights, etc.)...you've proven the analysis methods using the static and fatigue frames so you can determine the performance of the new structure by analysis alone.

Tom.


User currently offlineprebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6459 posts, RR: 54
Reply 36, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17967 times:

Quoting amicus (Reply 33):
But not usually at 1800 flight cycles or less.

Hopefully not. But then I doubt that we a.nutters will know every time a small crack is found on a new A320 or B737 during its first C-check.

And a crack is a crack. It is repaired the same way whether its origin is a manufacturing fault or 30 years of abuse and 100,000 cycles.

Therefore it can hardly be surprising that A has a cure practically at the same time as the problem has been fully investigated.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3413 posts, RR: 4
Reply 37, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17917 times:

Quoting amicus (Reply 33):
But not usually at 1800 flight cycles or less.

We have very little hard data on this. We might be now talking about cracking invisible to the naked eye and only detected by machine testing. Testing that happened because of the less serious cracking found on the damaged plane. These parts might have had 0 issues all the way out to when they would have normaly been subject to a detailed inspection. Nothing so far in the statements leads me to believe that there was a serious issue *today*, and in fact I would believe until more evidence is presented that the EASA is simply being overly cautious as the unknowns of these issues became too large to allow it to go uninspected for longer.

Again, I've read nothing that would leave me to believe that the A380 was in any actual danger of structural failure in flight.


User currently offlineprebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6459 posts, RR: 54
Reply 38, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17903 times:

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 37):
I've read nothing that would leave me to believe that the A380 was in any actual danger of structural failure in flight.

Absolutely correct! Such structures are designed according to the principles of failure tolerance. It means that such a single joint may break completely apart without becoming a safety issue within certified inspection periods.

That said, cracks never grow smaller over time, as well as bigger cracks are not easier or less expensive to repair. And on a new design there is good reason to play extra cautious when unexpected issues happen to show up.

(Pure speculation: I shouldn't wonder if Airbus has whispered into the ears of AESA: "Please don't let this drag on". They don't want to read about those cracks in the newspapers for the next two years or whenever the last of the birds involved will be up for a scheduled check. If I had been an Airbus manager, then I would have done exactly that).



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 39, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 17781 times:

From WSJ:

"Planes that are currently undergoing final assembly will have different brackets installed before they are delivered to customers, the spokesman said."

This tells me that though the issue may not be serious, it is serious enough to require a design change.

If they have to replace the parts for delivered aircrafts, it's going to cost a bundle.

Bt

[Edited 2012-01-22 22:13:47]


Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offline757gb From Uruguay, joined Feb 2009, 676 posts, RR: 1
Reply 40, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 17042 times:

EASA: New cracks on 20 A380s ‘more significant’

http://atwonline.com/aircraft-engine...cks-20-a380s-more-significant-0121

[Edited 2012-01-24 03:24:20]


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User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 41, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 16477 times:
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I'd love to see a diagram of which brackets are cracking (both types of cracking) ..

I thought I saw somewhere that the manufacturing process being blamed was not the machining of the feet but the process of attaching the wing skins, however I can not locate the article. If true could it lie in the way they force the skin to match the curvature dictated by the ribs and then install fasteners creating uneven stresses instead of using an equalizing pattern?


User currently offlineRuscoe From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1567 posts, RR: 2
Reply 42, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 16311 times:

From the ATW article;

An Airbus spokesperson told ATW in a statement

"The discovery of the cracked parts—and the rapid response to this by our airline customers, regulatory authorities and Airbus—demonstrate clearly how well the safety net works in this industry"

Seems to me that the problem was discovered by accident: literally an accident (Qantas 380), and that in fact the system did not diswcover it, although it did respond.

also

"The cracks are not on the wings;"

OK "in" the wing. Is this the Airbus PR department talking not the engineers?

Maybe all new types need greater scrutiny when they enter service.


Ruscoe


User currently offlinekurbitur From Iceland, joined May 2010, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 15928 times:

I just read a news article about Singapore Airlines has finished reparing the cracks on one of its A380 and it is back in service...

Does anyone knows what SIA´s A380 it is ? (reg)


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 44, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 15347 times:
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This came out today and talks about three causes for the various cracks. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Factor...laws-caused-rb-3609671079.html?x=0

A lot of posturing however there eventually is some meat in the article. It does not mention the problem I alluded to in post #41 so I may have been mistaken.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 45, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 15258 times:
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Thanks for the article. Looks like things remain well under control.   

User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4761 posts, RR: 40
Reply 46, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 15209 times:
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Quoting Stitch (Reply 45):
Thanks for the article. Looks like things remain well under control.   

Which is comforting for everyone involved I guess.  . And every fan of aviation.  .


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 47, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 15144 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 45):
"designers' choice of aluminium alloy for some of the 4,000 brackets inside the wings,"[i]

Could have happened to any one . . .   

[i]" the use of a type of bolt that strained the metal"
  

Would be interested to know the details . . .

" and a way of closing tiny gaps that put more stress on a handful of parts."

Sounds to me they could have used some "shims". 

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineRuscoe From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1567 posts, RR: 2
Reply 48, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 14995 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 45):
Thanks for the article. Looks like things remain well under control.
Quoting EPA001 (Reply 46):
Which is comforting for everyone involved I guess. . And every fan of aviation

Under control after the event

What needs to be addressed is why it took an (unrelated) accident to find craqcks, some of which the EASA want fixed in a very short period of time, not 4 years.

Are there significant cracks elawhere, in other parts, not showing up on the test frame.

I accept that these are teething problems, but it seems to me that all new types need more rigourous inspections until the first c checks are done.


Ruscoe


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 49, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 14944 times:
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Quoting bikerthai (Reply 47):
Sounds to me they could have used some "shims".


they were trying to keep the weight under control....   


User currently offlinesolarflyer22 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Nov 2009, 1101 posts, RR: 0
Reply 50, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 14557 times:

Quoting JerseyFlyer (Reply 9):
But as the article says, there are 2000 of these brackets per wing, one cracked is probably not too much of an issue

Probably not.

So, not being a structural engineer, I am going to ask the question that is on everybody's mind that no one is asking.

How close is this cracking to a complete wing failure? Is it like a .0001% risk or like a 10% risk?


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 51, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week ago) and read 14500 times:
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Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 50):
How close is this cracking to a complete wing failure? Is it like a .0001% risk or like a 10% risk?

If it was anywhere near 10%, I expect EASA would have filed an Emergency Air Directive requiring inspections ASAP and possibly even grounded the fleet. They also would have likely demanded all A380s be inspected, and not just part of the fleet.

EASA's AD did state that if left uncorrected, there was a possibility of risk to "structural integrity", but again, if there was a strong flight safety risk, EASA would likely have required stronger and quicker action by operators and Airbus.

That they have not makes me feel that the risk is much closer to 0.0001% than it is to 10%.

[Edited 2012-01-27 14:31:29]

User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 52, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week ago) and read 14646 times:

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 50):

How close is this cracking to a complete wing failure? Is it like a .0001% risk or like a 10% risk?

It is really difficult to estimate the percentage. It really depends on the length of the crack and the flying conditions and the loads these brackets see.

Since wing structures are for the most part have redundancy, even if one of the crack on one of the bracket grew to the point of breaking the bracket in half, chances are, the plane would not suffer any consequence during regular operation because the ultimate load on the wing is much higher than the day-to-day loads and, as Airbus have already noted, these brackets are not critical.

However, flying with a "failed bracket (s)" would reduce your margin if you are forced to take the aircraft to it's limit load. That is why it is so urgent to repair these brackets before they fail.

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 53, posted (2 years 8 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 14585 times:
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I could see a problem if 30% of the brackets on one wing inspar rib failed either common to one skin or opposite each other (top and bottom). Or if 10% failed on three or more adjacent ribs and were common to the same stringers.
There is a distinct absence of quantifying data on the location and scope of the problems (3 different types they've acknowledged)


User currently offlineFlyboyOz From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 1986 posts, RR: 25
Reply 54, posted (2 years 8 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 14490 times:

I hope that they don't use patch or other glues to seal the cracks and wing frames. It's not that a good idea!

It reminds me of air crash tv show that talks about Chalk's International Airlines accident at Flordia.



The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 55, posted (2 years 8 months 4 hours ago) and read 13815 times:

Just saw a publication by Doric Asset Finance showing that these wing rib fittings runs the length of the wing cord instead of the individual "shear ties" that we are familiar with. Is this the case for all the ribs?

If it is, then how difficult would it be to replace these rib once the wing box is buttoned up?

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 56, posted (2 years 8 months ago) and read 13524 times:
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Quoting bikerthai (Reply 55):
Just saw a publication by Doric Asset Finance

can you scan it and attach to a post?


User currently offlineflood From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 1381 posts, RR: 1
Reply 57, posted (2 years 8 months ago) and read 13546 times:

I think he's referring to this pdf:
http://www.doricassetfinance.com/pdf...ustry/120124_doric_update_a380.pdf


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 58, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 13371 times:
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interesting design to minimize process costs... Thanks

User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10068 posts, RR: 97
Reply 59, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 13256 times:
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Quoting bikerthai (Reply 55):
If it is, then how difficult would it be to replace these rib once the wing box is buttoned up?

Don't know. But this article dated 31st January says that SQ started their inspections on 20th January 2012, and that 4 of the 6 A380's affected have already been repaired and are back in service.....

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...ebusinessnews/view/1180147/1/.html

Rgds


User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12569 posts, RR: 46
Reply 60, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 12662 times:
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Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 48):
some of which the EASA want fixed in a very short period of time

The AD calls for inspections within a specified time and for the results to be notified to Airbus within two days of the inspection. The inspections have to be done within 6 weeks or 84 cycles for frames with more than 1,300 but less than 1,800 cycles. For planes with more than 1,800 cycles, the inspection must be completed within 4 days. In addition, the AD only applies to 20 specific frames (two of which are operated by Airbus themselves).

If cracks are found, the "Airbus approved instructions" must be applied within the Airbus specified compliance time. The AD itself make no stipulation about when any required fixes must be implemented.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineRuscoe From Australia, joined Aug 1999, 1567 posts, RR: 2
Reply 61, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks ago) and read 12301 times:

Quoting scbriml (Reply 60):
The AD calls for inspections within a specified time

The point I wanted to make was that the Type 1 cracks, initially could wait until the c check which could be up to 4 years away, and this may be reasonable. However as a result of looking at these relatively harmless cracks, another type of crack was found which may be fatigue related, and needs to be inspected within a short time.

And all this found not by due process but by an unrelated accident (Qantas engine problem) reqiring repair.

So it seems to me the system did not work the way it is supposed.

Unknown problems could affect any new type, and that is why I think we need a more frequent, regulated means of aircraft inspections, leading up to the first C inspections, which should reveal any problems.

I would also like to know why the fatigue type cracks were not found on the fatique specimen.

Further, a solution was almost immediately at hand, and Singapore for example has almost finished there repairs. Is it possible to come up with a solution so soon?

Ruscoe


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 62, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 12085 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 59):

I don't know how acurate are the pictues, but I can see that you might be able to stop drill the crack. Adding doublers will be harder and will impact weight. Replacing the rib "in some distant future" will be even more diffficult. I'm sure Airbus Engineers have worked out a way to do it. Would be ineresting to see what it is.

Bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10068 posts, RR: 97
Reply 63, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 12004 times:
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Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 61):
Unknown problems could affect any new type

I do hope you're going to offer up some of your wisdom for us in the thread about 787 delamination. I haven't seen it yet.  

Rgds


User currently offlineAngMoh From Singapore, joined Nov 2011, 488 posts, RR: 0
Reply 64, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 11430 times:

The bad news: the checks have now been extended to the whole fleet:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16942361

The good news: It seems that the repair is quite straightforward. What I see is the only real risk is the availability of replacement parts.


User currently offlinepygmalion From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 966 posts, RR: 38
Reply 65, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 11211 times:

Quoting AngMoh (Reply 64):
The bad news: the checks have now been extended to the whole fleet:

The time scale has shrunk a bit as well. That is bad news.

Its never good when a manufacturer has to expand the inspection and rework a few weeks after starting. It means the scope of the problem is bigger than they thought.

The article also states that the current rework plan is temporary and they are working on a permanent fix to be released "soon".

Not good news at all.


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 66, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 10925 times:
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Will this impact new deliveries, or will they ship the plane out and fix later?

User currently offlineWisdom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 67, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 10770 times:

Quoting AngMoh (Reply 64):
The good news: It seems that the repair is quite straightforward. What I see is the only real risk is the availability of replacement parts.

Most structural repairs involve little replacement parts.
Most larger MRO's have sheet metal workshops equipped and trained to manufacture or repair parts in accordance with engineering or OEM drawings and instructions.
Cracks in the wing ribs, stringers or the general aircraft structure are not uncommon on older aircraft, that's why there are processes such as MSG set to evaluate occurences and determine maintenance/inspection intervals.

What's happening here is proof that organisations such as EASA and FAA are not capable yet to supervise OEM's and their procedures to the standards that they established. Too much focus is put on covering their own arses, too much time spent going through papers, none on the actual production workfloor.
Quality assurance is done by people hired by the company. Conflict of interest? The EASA arses are covered, the OEM does what it needs to do to make money and after the so-called "audits" fishing randomly in the paperwork for small irregularities, it's time for the usual restaurant visit. Everyone happy.

It also proves that msg and the design of maintenance planning hasn't reached anything close to maturity.

For me, a bad installation procedure is just as bad as miscalculations of the loads.
It's easier to correct indeed, but it raises serious doubts about the quality assurance system and the safety culture within the OEM.

Quoting Ruscoe (Reply 28):
It's fascinating the speed with which Airbus was able to diagnose the cause, implement fixes, and when the cracking became public reassure the world that an check every four years was adequate, only to discover yet another type of cracking, which the regulatory authorities want fixed..

Is it possible, to do the things I mentioned above, quite quickly?

It is when you see the location and nature of the damage, like on the QF aircraft, as opposed to fishing for clues in the debris of a crash site.
You just retrace all the steps from design to flight of that particular assembly and see where there are departures from the normal.

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 32):
Planes have been cracking since day one. Loads of planes fly around with various patches here and there and everywhere. It is hard to imagine a type of cracking which the manufacturers and authorities hasn't seen a dozen times before. They have great experience in dealing with cracks. The only thing special about this cracking is that it is first time seen on an A380.

Add the early occurrence and that it's not an isolated/sporadic issue. Which does seem to point out that someone screwed up.

[Edited 2012-02-08 13:08:12]

User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 68, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10637 times:
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Quoting AngMoh (Reply 64):
The bad news: the checks have now been extended to the whole fleet:
Quoting pygmalion (Reply 65):
The time scale has shrunk a bit as well. That is bad news.

Honestly, it really isn't "bad news". With the small number of A380s in revenue service and the fact they sit at an airport for a good bit between turns, it's hopefully not much of a hardship to airlines to make the checks and that will give EASA and Airbus more data points to draw from to better define the issue and develop a fix.  thumbsup 

[Edited 2012-02-08 15:12:46]

User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 69, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10569 times:

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 67):
Quality assurance is done by people hired by the company. Conflict of interest?

Not inherently. The idea that the people within the company are not interested in ensuring the quality of their own product is too general to be applied to all people in all companies. More specifically, any assertion that self-inspection constitutes an inherent conflict of interest requires cyncism bordering on paranoia.

For the work I do, the development team always performs all of the QA. We have developed a set of processes and standards by which to ensure the quality. But what's more important than the processes and standards is our motivation to ensure quality. We have an intense desire for our product to work as promised and to produce correct results. This motivation is typical of most people.

There is also the issue that a failure visibility is very high with regard to aircraft. When my product has a flaw, the worst thing that happens is it produces some faulty numbers, or no numbers at all. When an airplane has as major failure, people can be injured or killed. Don't think for one second that the people who make these airplanes are unaware of this consequence.

You seem to be implying that a "mature" system will catch all possible flaws before the product enters service. This is a junvenile view of life, that if we only look harder and add more layers to the inspection process, we must catch all flaws. Real life doesn't (and shouldn't) work that way, and even when the stakes are high, there still exists a standard called "good enough" for all products regardless of complexity.

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 67):
For me, a bad installation procedure is just as bad as miscalculations of the loads. It's easier to correct indeed, but it raises serious doubts about the quality assurance system and the safety culture within the OEM.

Unwarranted drama is dripping off of this statement. If you are really concerned about the QA of the OEM, you have the choice not to fly on their aircraft. But if you live in a fantasy world where all variables are known and are verified, I advise you never to get on an airplane. For that matter, I advise you never use another staircase.

It is important to understand the places where problems can be created.

There are issues related to design, where somebody misunderstands the problem to be solved, or specifies an incorrect solution to the problem, or both.

There are issues related to material and fabrication, where a part is flawed due to casting, working, machining, or other operations involved in its creation.

There are issues related to assembly, where parts are assembled improperly.

These are but three; others might yet be identified. You must be able to differentiate between these causes to understand quality. More importantly, you must be able to differentiate between the qualitative and quantitative aspects of quality. Dramatic quotes such as those above call into question such discernment.

Get comfortable with the engineering notion of "good enough". This means that there may be unrealized aspects of a design deemed to be outside the scope of solution. It also means an acceptance that all things have a variance to spec, and that these variances vary from airplane to airplane, and even subassembly to subassembly when the subassemblies are supposedly identical. This is normal and does not call into question anybody's commitment to or execution of QA. I'm not saying that a company may lack a commitment to quality, but I'm saying that discovery of a problem after entry into service is not itself sufficient to shake faith in QA given the level of detail implied by such an assertion.



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 70, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10028 times:
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There are always risk-reward tradeoffs in every industry. Commercial airliners could be made significantly more safe than they are today, but they would not be economical to operate. The market has spoken and they're willing to have a few hundred people not survive their trip every year because a few hundred million will survive.


I admit to not following this story in depth, but the first A380s are/will be entering their first C-Check. Are the areas where these cracks are being found in an area that would have been examined during such a check?

[Edited 2012-02-14 02:23:14 by SA7700]

User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 71, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 9908 times:

I do. ContnlEliteCMH's description is far closer than yours to my experience.


I've seen how things are done and I wouldn't (and don't) hesitate to board an aircraft. Have you considered that the issue may be the QA system you're interacted with, rather than all QA systems in general?

It's not the airplane's fault that the QF event happened before the first planned maintenance inspection that would have looked at the wing ribs. Why don't we think the existing planned maintenance system would have caught these? The QF event just caused them to be caught earlier, which is good in the abstract, but isn't an indictment of the maintenance system.

No, they don't. They require that all single *failures* (not flaws) be documented and *verified* (not tested).

No, they don't. No aircraft is perfect, they're all "good enough", and they are deemed acceptable by the OEM's, the airlines, the regulators, and the vast majority of the travelling public.

I work in aviation and aerospace and, at least some places, it does work like that. If it doesn't work like that where you work that's unfortunate and disappointing but don't tar everyone with the same brush when it's not justified.

Tom.

[Edited 2012-02-14 02:27:03 by SA7700]

User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 72, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9854 times:

Being Aviation fans, we seem to want to but our industry at a higher standard than others. This may be good. But step back and look at transportation as a whole, then we will see that we are no different than say, the Auto or Shipping industry.

Each industry have their own regulations and standards. No industry is perfect. Waiting for perfection will keep you back in the stone age. (Even stones will have cracks in them).

You trust that the cars that you get into, and the ones around you, were properly built and maintained when you drive down the street. So you trust that the planes you fly on are properly built and maintained. It is your choice/responsibility to chose the best cars, the best planes, the best airlines to meet your safety needs.

bt

[Edited 2012-02-14 02:28:03 by SA7700]


Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinePITingres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1145 posts, RR: 13
Reply 73, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9914 times:

What nonsense is this? There is no "perfect", unless you posit a design from some sort of all-foreknowing, all-foreseeing being. An instance that 100% matches the design specs may fail because the design didn't foresee something out of the control of the pilots. An instance that 100% matches a design that encompasses the entire envelope needed by any non-fallible pilot may well fail when operated by a fallible human.

And if the incident happens before the planned maintenance? You seem to be arguing for clairvoyance, which existence is doubtful at best.

I'm really not sure what you are getting at. The A380 has a solvable manufacturing problem, well join the club. It turned up by chance on a plane that had an entirely unrelated problem requiring frame-wide inspection, well that was good luck. It's not going to take any frames into failure unless the problem is willfully ignored, well duh.

[Edited 2012-02-14 02:29:17 by SA7700]


Fly, you fools! Fly!
User currently offlineHiFlyerAS From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 968 posts, RR: 2
Reply 74, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9847 times:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Qantas...check-A380s-rb-3685078928.html?x=0
"Australia's Qantas Airways has already grounded one A380 for a week after discovering 36 separate wing cracks after a turbulent flight from London."

This is a huge concern in my opinion. So every time an A380 goes through severe turbulence there will have to be a major inspection inside the wing structure for cracking? What about the moderate turbulence an airframe might go through on a daily basis? This story is becoming a runaway train.....


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31055 posts, RR: 87
Reply 75, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 9778 times:
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Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 78):
So every time an A380 goes through severe turbulence there will have to be a major inspection inside the wing structure for cracking?

I strongly expect that the frame in question had not previously undergone inspection prior to the turbulence. Also, we need to know if that frame was one of the original set that was flagged for inspection, or was subsequently added when EASA modified their AD to include all A380s.

Right now, I do not believe that strong turbulence was the cause of these cracks and therefore there should not be a need to inspect an A380's wing ribs after every turbulence encounter.


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 76, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9526 times:

Quoting PITingres (Reply 77):
What nonsense is this?

It results from a basic lack of discernment. Some present examples of such are as follows:

-- An inability to differentiate between "risk" and "issue".
-- An inability to differentiate bewteen "flaw" and "fault".
-- An inability to differentiate between "my specific experience" and "all experiences everywhere", or "the people I know" and "all people everywhere".
-- An inability to differentiate bewteen qualitative and quantitative.

The last point merits additional explanation. Of all the websites I have or presently frequent, no web forum matches the depth and detail of the discussions on Airliners.net. But even among this crowd, which I submit is considerably better educated and more articulate than the average web user, the quantitative skill is low. The result of this innumeracy is a gap between the way that airframers like Boeing operate and the way that "we the people" perceive them to operate; more generally, there is a gap between the manner in which engineering work is accomplished, and the way that work is perceived. Boeing's work is vastly more quantitative (and detailed) than what is ever perceived by the average person who lacks any exposure to work with that level of numerical manipulation. I'm not saying that people are inherently incapable of numeracy or of closing this perception gap, but I'm definitively saying that the gap exists and that it is very large. Even here. Perhaps especially here, given the topic in which we're interested.

Wisdom's own words provide an example. Tolerance is a quantitative expression of the qualitative idea that reality differs from spec. Tolerance specifies how much slop is permissible relative to spec. Wisdom's attempt to lecture me on the concept of tolerance is remarkably contractory.

On the one hand, tolerance not only implies but *embraces* the idea of "good enough"; it is a quantitative expression of that concept.

On the other hand, he asserts that "good enough" is not applicable to aircraft.

This obvious contradiction has no ready resolution except removal of one of the two opposed notions. The notion is selected for removal is a personal choice, but I submit that if "good enough" is not suitable, you should not get out of bed in the morning. All of life has "tolerance" and "good enough" is how we live. Everywhere. All the time.

One of the reasons why I love aircraft is because "good enough" is so much better/higher/more stringent than "good enough" in nearly all other areas of life. The detail in these machines is inspiring, and I have great admiration for the thousands of people who must work in concert to produce a machine that flies even once, let alone tens of thousands of times for 100,000 hours and carrying a million passengers.

All of these machines have flaws -- as designed, as fabricated, as assembled. Some of those flaws develop into faults. This occurs over the entire life of each design, and even over the life of each specific machine. This is perfectly normal and the safety record of the industry indicates that they are magnificent at systematically catching these faults before they become repetitive catastrophes.
Quoting Wisdom (Reply 80):
Failure visibility? What about all the incidents that go untold?


What of them? I cannot respond to unmade points.

[Edited 2012-02-14 02:13:07 by SA7700]


Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlinePITingres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1145 posts, RR: 13
Reply 77, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9278 times:

Sorry, it is. You claimed that "nothing worthy of an AD should be discovered by luck." Again, maybe we're arguing about word semantics, but by definition, if something isn't discovered by luck, it's uncovered according to a plan. By definition, mind you. Nobody plans to omit something AD-worthy from a design knowingly, and then plans to have it discovered by inspection; that would be grounds for censure at the least. Issues discovered by inspection are, by definition, discovered "by luck" in the sense I mean. *Everything* worthy of an AD is discovered by luck, or it would have been known ahead of time.

If you mean "luck" as in "nobody was paying attention but they stubbed their toe on a wire and fell into the crack and couldn't ignore it", or some such foolishness, well, that sounds like nonsense to me.

[Edited 2012-02-14 02:41:48 by SA7700]


Fly, you fools! Fly!
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10068 posts, RR: 97
Reply 78, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 9122 times:
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Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 81):
One of the reasons why I love aircraft is because "good enough" is so much better/higher/more stringent than "good enough" in nearly all other areas of life.

For what it's worth, I pretty much agree with your whole post.

If I can just offer a bit of caution...
I work in an industry, on a product, where many of us would consider our "good enough" to be higher even than the airliner industry. FWIW I'm not one of those who do.

There is definitely a "good enough", even in the nuclear industry. Perfection only ever exists in a computer model, and in my experience, the more "perfect" that is, the less well it translates into a real product, warts and all.

In our low volume, top-of-the-pile complexity it's nigh on impossible to make the processes part-per-million defect-free, or to pull on a robust supply chain (because of the low volumes and speciality).
So we have a very large QC/QA/Testing paradigm in our business. THAT process is robust enough that very little at all gets through the net.
And yes, at my level, we take the lives of our crew very seriously indeed.
That said, our QC/QA/testing regime on occasions, catches, and reveals things that do make you wonder   .
But they ARE few, and they ARE caught.

Those "other areas of life", have always interested me as a "Production Engineer", though.

And if I use the car industry as an example, I'd shy away from saying that their "good-enough" is not particularly high.
Their good enough is good enough that they don't NEED a QC/QA/testing regime as such.
It's been engineered into the product and manufacturing processes.

They don't QC the product. They QC the process
Which I find absolutely awesome.
But that isn't luck. It's because that's where they set their "good enough" bar. And it is about as high as you will see anywhere in manufacturing. Honest.

Of course, building millions is a big enabler to parts-per-million quality.
We'll never get that, and neither will the airliner industry.
That's not because the bar's not high enough. It's a characteristic of the industrys we are in

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 87):
You have no idea what you're talking about.
Nothing is permissible relative to specifications, because tolerance is part of the specifications.

That is incorrect. Sorry.

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 88):
Parts out of tolerance (and hence out of spec) but airworthy go into service all the time, every day. This is why there are engineering dispositions.

Correct. I've yet to see a complex product that doesn't get "concessed" by the regulatory/design authorities in some way or other..

Rgds


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 79, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8708 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 90):
That said, our QC/QA/testing regime on occasions, catches, and reveals things that do make you wonder .
But they ARE few, and they ARE caught.

This is an excellent point. Finding a flaw before it develops into a failure is evidence that QA is working, and I assert that this is true whether a product is still in developement or whether it is in service. For commercial aviation, QA is a continuous process over the entire life of the machine, even at the instant it enters service. Even the pilot walk-around before flight is a QA process.

In the case of the A380, discovery of the cracks before they developed into failure is evidence that the QA process is working. A possible cause for concern might be that the initial cracks were discovered during repair for an unrelated failure; it is possible that the cracks might otherwise have gone undetected until tlhe first C-check. (As you noted, the QC process is itselff subject to evaluation and judgement.) Perhaps it is possible that this lack of detection could have resulted in a failure, but I don't know. Whetther there is evidence that the A380's QA process lacks stringency is its own discussion, and a good one.

Quoting astuteman (Reply 90):
And if I use the car industry as an example, I'd shy away from saying that their "good-enough" is not particularly high. Their good enough is good enough that they don't NEED a QC/QA/testing regime as such. It's been engineered into the product and manufacturing processes.

Another interesting point. Vehicles may have a short QA cycle in some kind of computerized booth to check basic functiionality, and the car may be driven a short distance to check for anything obvious. Beyond that, you're right: they're put on the truck and sent to a dealer. Automobile OEM's are comfortable allowing issues to be discovered in service.

Cars have specified maintenance, which doubles as a form of QA since servicers will peruse the vehicle hoping to find any upsell work. The OEM's know this; they count on it. Automobiles also have another aspect to QC: warranty periods. Warranties are viewed primarly as a marketing tool, and I agree that this is their primary mission. However, warranty periods are a way for manufacturers to provide cover for an interesting fact: they require owners to detect problems and then act to have the problem remedied. In other words, they demand that the customer be the fault detector! If you said to the average Joe "I'm going to sell you this car, but you will have to figure out if it's well made," Mr. Average Joe would say "That's irresponsible! You should find all the flaws before you sell it to me!" But when the OEM says, "Would offering to pay for faults you detect temper your objection?" the Mr. Average Joe says "Okay!"

Warranties are useful for manufacturing decisions because they have an associated cost, and the cost of altering the vehicle design, supply chain, or manufacturing process (tooling is expensive!) may exceed the costs of servicing failures under warranty.

Do Boeing, Airbus et al depend upon the QA process that occurs after a design is finished? Do they depend upon the QA process that occurs for each specific machine? Do they foist upon the customer the reponsibility for finding faults (and in many cases, correcting them also)? Yes, yes, yes. Does this call into question the QA process of the airframers? Not necessarily. Other evidence is required to reach that conclusion.



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlinepygmalion From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 966 posts, RR: 38
Reply 80, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 8479 times:

Lots of good discussions here... let me add my 2 cents from 25+ years of writing MRB engineering dispositions for one of the major airframers..

ALL the engineering specifications are based on risk and being "good enough". The tolerances written into the specs are based on thousands of tests that have resulted in a "built in" tolerance to flaws and imperfections. We base the aircraft design on the same specifications and the structural allowables developed from testing that leads to a design that is "good enough" and only good enough to meet design service life goals and reliability and inspectability over the life of that airframe.

Inspectability and reliability go hand in hand. We make parts more reliable if they are less inspectable and we can afford to make them less reliable if they are easy to inspect. The maintenance and inspection plan for an airframe are part and parcel to the design decisions made about "good enough". Some of the decisions about reliability and damage tolerance even lead to decisions like" this defect is acceptable because if it does eventually fail, it will result in a visible fuel leak prior to the crack growing large enough to cause structural failure."

Nearly all the designs have tolerance for flaws over and above a "per drawing and per specification" part. Nearly all the designs have even more margin over the regulatory requirement that the OEM adds in for many reasons including reduced warranty claims etc. The FAA accepts many issues that the OEMs will not deliver for many reasons including airline customer satisfaction. The FAA would allow a 10 year service life as long as the airframe inspection plan matched it... But no airline would accept a commercial airframe with a 10 year service life.

My whole working life is based around deciding what is "good enough" when the as built as delivered as flying airplane does not meet the as designed condition.

ALL the OEMs and Airlines live in this "good enough" world. All the processes are set up to maintain "good enough" including writing service bulletins and airworthiness directives to ensure/restore prepoer levels of good enough.


User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 81, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8205 times:

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 91):
Engineering dispositions mainly deal with situations when it's unknown if said thing meets the specifications and tolerance limits.

That's probably the least common use of an engineering disposition. It's most commonly used when the part is obviously out of spec...oversize hole, scratch, drill-start, etc.

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 91):
Of course many people like you misinterpret this and think that engineers are there to sign-off on out of tolerance parts that are estimated to be "good enough".

Engineers *are* there to sign-off on out-of-tolerance parts that *are* good enough. They don't estimate it, they prove it.

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 91):
The analysis will determine if the part is good and usable/serviceable or bad unusable/unserviceable.

Yes. And, very often, a part is good/usable/serviceable even if out of spec an tolerance...that's what "good enough" *means*.

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 96):
"Good enough" is a vague concept NEVER USED IN AEROSPACE ENGINEERING

I'm an aerospace engineer, I work in aerospace engineering. The term is used frequently and we know what it means.

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 96):
More specifically, the correct terms would be "meets requirements", "within limits".

Those are perfectly synonomous with "good enough." This fight didn't start over the semantics of the term "good enough", it started over contrasting "perfect" with "meets requirements."

You were the one who argued that it all had to be be perfect...that's just not true. It has to meet requirements. Tons of non-perfect parts meet requirements, it happens all the time in aerospace. This is what we mean when we talk about "good enough" vs. "perfect." If you want to substitute the phrases "meets requirements" or "within limits" instead of "good enough" that's fine...but it does nothing to fix your incorrect initial assertion:

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 70):
The aircraft need to be perfect, "good enough" is not acceptable.

Tom.


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1460 posts, RR: 44
Reply 82, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7507 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 94):

???
Automobile OEM's (except in the US maybe) are assuredly not comfortable in allowing issues to be discovered in service, any more than airliner OEM's are.

But they reach levels of reliable repeatability which dwarf any other manufacturing process, to the extent that in-line QC checks are no longer required, only process audits.

You're right that they're not "comfortable". That term was a poor choice since it implies (at least) neutrality about customer discovery of flaws. What is clear, however, is that there is a level of in-service defect discovery which is anticipated and given the existence of warranties, probably quantified. Were I a manufacturing engineer at an automobile OEM, I'd want to know what our warranty defect target rate has been for previous vehicles, what our current target is, and how much we think that will cost. Then we'd be having discussions about lessons learned to drive down the rate. And we'd differentiate between defect types. It's okay to find that a tail light assembly is ingesting water. It's not okay to find out that a brake-caliper-to-knuckle bolt has backed out.

Your point about process-audits-as-substitute-for-in-line-QC-checks also tells something else about the automobile OEM's: the cost of warranty fixes is less than the cost of in-line QC. If it weren't, they'd be doing it the other way around.

---------------------------------------

There is one car which is technically "mass produced" for which some in-line QC is actually performed: the Chevrolet Corvette. (I've toured the plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky twice to watch "the fat men in Kentucky" (Top Gear reference) build GM's halo car. The car first enters a computerized dyno booth where a worker hooks up its computer to a diagnostic terminal. The booth actuates the lights, blows the horn, and runs the car through all its gears at heavy throttle, with microphones all over the place -- including at the tailpipes. (The sound is *fabulous*.) Thereafter, the car is put into a deluge booth, where water is dumped on it far in excess of what it will ever experience in the real world, and it is inspected for leaks. Then a worker drives it around a track outside the plant to listen for squeaks, rattles, and clunks. Near this area is a collection of bays for rework -- and there are Corvettes in various stages of disassembly/reassembly prescribed by the tests.

One of the most fascinating areas of the plant is the shake room. If a Vette is squeaking, they can drive it into this soundproofed room where it can be placed on a shake table to determine exactly what is vibrating. Then it goes back to rework for repair and presumably is retested.

I doubt we'd find this level of detail at the Lordstown, OH plant where the Chevrolet Cruze is being churned out. Then again, the Cruze doesn't cost between $45,000 and $110,000.



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlinepygmalion From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 966 posts, RR: 38
Reply 83, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7341 times:

Actually the words we use when applying "good enough" to a part out of specification are

"noted condition is structurally and functionally acceptable to engineering without rework"

But it still means "good enough"


User currently offlineWsp From Germany, joined May 2007, 458 posts, RR: 0
Reply 84, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6867 times:

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 80):
Quoting Wsp (Reply 72):
Empirical evidence suggests that transport via aircraft is relatively safe.

I'm discussing the competences of supervising authorities and OEM's. I'm not exchanging statistics.
I said the same thing as you before I saw what was really going on with my own eyes.

The empirical data is valid whether one "saw what was really going on" or not. That doesn't mean you didn't see what you saw. It just means, despite what you saw and contrary to what you apparently imagine the consequences of that would be, aviation is a relatively safe mode of transport.


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3575 posts, RR: 27
Reply 85, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6540 times:
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Back to the subject.. it's now reported that the repairs will cost Airbus 1 million Euros... this does not include the necessary part(s)/process redesign.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Wing-c...us-100-reuters-3888630921.html?x=0


User currently offlineAirlineCritic From Finland, joined Mar 2009, 718 posts, RR: 1
Reply 86, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6189 times:

Quoting kanban (Reply 101):
Back to the subject.. it's now reported that the repairs will cost Airbus 1 million Euros

100 million Euros, but who is counting.

(But I think 100 million is still small change for an issue like this, and with the number of planes already out there.)

[Edited 2012-02-13 01:55:22]

User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2137 posts, RR: 4
Reply 87, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5936 times:

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 102):
But I think 100 million is still small change for an issue like this,

Aside from the euros standpoint, it would be interesting to find out how much is the weight impact if any of any. (If the fix is to add doublers).

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinercair1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1323 posts, RR: 52
Reply 88, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5741 times:
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Quoting Wisdom (Reply 96):
More specifically, the correct terms would be "meets requirements", "within limits".
Good enough is a subjective concept, it's not backed up by anything other than a personal opinion.

Sorry - "good enough" is the basis behind the specs, and the tolerances. Commercial aircraft are designed to handle specific loads with specific (permanent) deformations because that load/deformation is good enough to assure the aircraft will handle expected real life loads with margin. Tolerances are based on calculations that tell us there is enough margin in the specifications that if you are within the tolerances - that is "good enough." The precise defn of "good enough" in a particular case will depend on the risk and cost (not just financial) of something happening outside that defn. Sometimes "good enough" can be based upon experience and common sense, other times it must be based on precise measurements and tests. When I cut firewood for my fireplace, I can look at the length and tell that it is a "good enough" lenght - in other words - not too long to fit in the fireplace. I don't need to precisely measure each log to see that is is less than 16 inches. My experience tells me that I can make that judgement, most of the time, without a measurement. Also in that equation is the fact that if I mess up - the cost is low (I just make another cut). In other cases, when writing specification for error in the 'gear train' for a digital scanner, it is based on very precise measurements and what will happen to OCR if the motion is not accurate. Again, not life and death, but much more precise. When I check a firefighter who is geared up on SCBA and bunker before entering a burning building, my standards are much higher - but again based on experience, not measurements.

Good enough?

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 96):
I have never seen any SB with "good enough" written on it. Everything is backed up by numbers, test results, never by a note "engineer of design mr.XX , deems this strong enough for said application, based on his experience."

In fact, in some cases they do base it on experience and expertise.



rcair1
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 89, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5486 times:

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 96):
Everything is backed up by numbers, test results, never by a note "engineer of design mr.XX , deems this strong enough for said application, based on his experience."

A DER (or AR, depending on your delegation system) is completely authorized to write a form 8100-9 (it might be an 8110 now) that says the part complies with all applicable FAR's and they're completely authorized to make that determination based on whatever evidence he/she feels is necessary, absolutely including "based on my experience."

Rather than "never", this is actually quite common. I used to work in an organization that pumped out something like 100 8100-9 forms a day.

Tom.


User currently offlineneutronstar73 From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 507 posts, RR: 0
Reply 90, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5093 times:

At least Tom Enders has come out and flatly said that Airbus screwed up the A380's wings. Good on him.

http://www.news24.com/World/News/Air...ewed-up-on-A380-wings-CEO-20120213


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4761 posts, RR: 40
Reply 91, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5008 times:
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Quoting neutronstar73 (Reply 90):
Airbus screwed up the A380's wings.

They never denied it to begin with. And of course they did not screw up the whole wing, just a very tiny part of it which will be corrected a.s.a.p. The difference in choosing the words is very significant here.  .


User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12569 posts, RR: 46
Reply 92, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4883 times:
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Quoting neutronstar73 (Reply 90):
At least Tom Enders has come out and flatly said that Airbus screwed up the A380's wings.

He actually said "This is unfortunate. This is us, we screwed that up. We will fix it as quickly as possible and whatever the cost is, it is too early to say at this point in time,"

That this is down to Airbus is no surprise. That it took you three days to post it is surprising.   



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1386 posts, RR: 0
Reply 93, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4763 times:

Quoting neutronstar73 (Reply 90):
http://www.news24.com/World/News/Air...ewed-up-on-A380-wings-CEO-20120213

The funniest thing in this article is actually that they headlined the paragraph about the EASA directive with "All Grounded". The SQ A380 that just flew over my office near ZRH obviously didn't get the memo that she's grounded...



WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
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