Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Thu Aug 30, 2001 1:24 pm

Canadian news media report today that the fuel starvation that forced an Air Transat A330 to make a dead-stick landing may be attributable to a cracked fuel pipe in the No.2 RR engine. The right-hand engine was replaced recently, and an inspection after the forced landing has disclosed that not enough space existed between the fuel pipe and a hydraulic pipe in the engine. If the two pipes rub together, cracks in the fuel pipe can result. This in turn may have been the cause of the fuel starvation.

RR had earlier issued a Service Bulletin to address this situation, but the SB had apparently been only "partially" applied to the Air Transat A330 No.2 engine.

The subtle finger-pointing has begun, with Air Transat and RR / Airbus each staking positions in the media to manage public opinion to their own benefit.
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Thu Aug 30, 2001 6:20 pm

Yep, that's about right.....inspection SB due in the nxt 24 hrs from what I understand....
CX Flyboy
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Thu Aug 30, 2001 8:06 pm

I don't under stand why they couldn't shut off the crossfeeds, and at least prevent the fuel from the left hand side of the aircraft from leaking away as well.

I am not familiar with the A330 fuel system, but surely this whole thing could have been prevented by the flight crew?
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 12:51 am

NBC aired a news conference with the crew. Apparently, one of the engine shut down, followed by the other one a few moments later. One of the flight attendants said the cabin grew silent and people prepared for anything, including a ditch. However, it seemed like everyone, including the passengers, remained fairly calm despite unfavorable circumstances.
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 3:40 am

Yeah I heard this too. Have totally ruled out the 'uncommanded and uncontrolable fuel dump' cause that i heard earlier?.... And this cause raises more interesting questions... like how severe was the leak form the No. 2 engine, so that they couldn't stop it in time to save fuel. The fuel dump made more sense to me at first... it was sudden, shut down both engines, and couldn't be stopped.... i just hope they get to the bottom of this.... and quickly

RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 3:48 am

Cx flyboy:

That's the question being asked today.

Thre is now speculation (with emphasis on that word) that perhaps the crew misdiagnosed the fuel leak, and instead of shutting down the No.2 engine and valves leading to it, they instead crossfed fuel from the left wing to the right where the leak was occurring. That might explain the rapid total fuel loss in such a short period of time.

It's interesting to note that in the press conference with the flight crew that occurred in Canada several days ago, the crew said very little when questioned about the steps they had taken on the flight deck when they first began to be aware that they were losing fuel. All they said was that they had handled the situation in accordance with their checklists.

RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 5:35 pm

sure, an unintended uncontrollable fuel dump caused by the bad mannered flight computers that so often took control from pilots almost causing crashes would have been a much more stimulatings scenario for the politics that make this forum so lively.

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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 6:23 pm

I would like to know where exactly in the fuel supply system the fuel flow sensors are.

Is it possible that the crew didn´t recognize the loss of fuel because it occurred before the flow sensor, which still indicated a normal consumption level?

Would the loss of the total amount in the tanks still be obvious or is the remaining amount calculated from the initial amount and the flow over time?
In that case, a leak in a fuel line before the flow sensors would more or less be undetectable.
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 6:24 pm

Sharpnfuzzy - From what I've read it appears the leak didn't cause the plane to lose all it's fuel. As the fuel was escaping there was insufficient fuel flow to the engines causing them to fail. Imagine putting a hole in a hosepipe and the resultant loss in pressure.
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 7:04 pm

It has been mentioned that the pilots made an absolute tits of it after the leak was discovered, and pumped all the fuel into the emptying tank.....its makes sense in a's confirmed that the leak was due to interference between the fuel and hydraulic lines due to a partially embodied SB, now the focus is on the pilots as to why ALL the fuel managed to escape.....
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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 10:50 pm

For those interested, a complete audio version of the Air Transat news conference can be found at the following link:

It is in both French and English, with the majority of crew comments repeated in both languages.

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RE: Air Transat A330 Fuel Leak

Fri Aug 31, 2001 11:00 pm

I read today in a Montreal newspaper (La presse) that the captain Robert Piche was sent to 21 months in jail back in the 80's for marijuana traffic. Interesting.

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