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Gremlinzzzz
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:52 am

Great report, and those images do not look good.

Airbus needs to get on this ASAP and then work on a better solution.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:16 am

trex8 wrote:
So for those of us technically challenged. The copper mesh is a layer above and distinct from the structural CFRP and under the paint? Or is it incorporated into the outer layers of the CFRP?


Yes to both. . . Depending on your perspectives. The coper mesh is "baked" on the outside and at the same time as the CFRP layer. However analytically it is not considered as a structural layer as the copper mesh has much lower stiffness and strength than the CRFP layer.

Note that a mesh is used per se instead of a copper foil because it can be baked in, and the open area in the mesh weave allow for resin to accumulate and provide adhesion of the top cosmetic layer or paint to the CRFP underneath. If the ratio of the copper is too high, you have a weaker bond of the paint. If the ratio of the copper is too low, you don't get the lightning conducting capacity that you need and the mesh will vaporize by the lightning current. It is a balancing act in design.

bt
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:40 am

trex8 wrote:
So for those of us technically challenged. The copper mesh is a layer above and distinct from the structural CFRP and under the paint? Or is it incorporated into the outer layers of the CFRP?


I'm partially color blind so my color description may not be accurate: I've seen all kinds of pictures of Airbus "green" colored unpainted CFRP body panels and wings, either as parts or on assembled aircraft frames before painting. There is no mesh visible in those pictures.

My understanding from years ago was that the copper mesh on both the Airbus and Boeing is incorporated into the CFRP sandwich, with a non-structural epoxy layer with at least some conductivity above the copper mesh (I understand making that layer even somewhat conductive reduces it strength, which does not matter as its there to protect the copper mesh and provide a relatively smooth surface for painting).

Now perhaps I am wrong... Lets see if someone has a picture of the CFRP sandwich that has the copper mesh.
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:43 am

zeke wrote:
What I see on those QR photos looks more like lightning damage. With lightning damage there is a documented inspection and repair process. If they are not maintained (I.e. follow that process) water gets into that lightning damage area every cycle, as water gets to 4 degC it expands and freezes. That water and subsequently ice will lift and crack that epoxy layer off. This is a known problem with any sort of bonded interface on aircraft.


The issue as I see it is that neither Airbus, QR, or Finnair has reported this as "Lightning Damage" for which they have maintenance procedures for.

Nor would there be any potential issue to be fixed if it was just lightning damage, and according to the article Airbus is working on a fix with a modified design.

So what you may think it looks like, is not what the people in the know are saying about it.
Last edited by 2175301 on Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:49 am

zeke wrote:
ElroyJetson wrote:
If as LH is reporting, that a meter square area of paint is gone on a relatively new aircraft this is not "a normal" maintenance issue. If both the paint and underlying mesh is gone exposing the carbon fiber on a new aircraft this is not "normal."


This is a separate issue to what QR is saying, and the results are different between airlines as paint is a customer option, not only the livery, also the actual paint type. Aircraft paints these days are more environmentally friendly, while they advertise to perform similar to more traditional paints, I personally don’t think they perform as well. I have seen areas with the paint to peel in the airflow. It is something you let Airbus know about, and they fix it.

What I see on those QR photos looks more like lightning damage. With lightning damage there is a documented inspection and repair process. If they are not maintained (I.e. follow that process) water gets into that lightning damage area every cycle, as water gets to 4 degC it expands and freezes. That water and subsequently ice will lift and crack that epoxy layer off. This is a known problem with any sort of bonded interface on aircraft.



I don't disagree with you that lightning damage could be a cause for 1 of 6 photo examples. However, the article references issues on virtually new aircraft across multiple operators. I think there is something more to this than mere lightning damage. Also, if it were only lightning damage carriers have procedures to repair. None of the reportage I have seen attributes the problems solely to lightning strikes.

As for the paint itself, you bring up a good point. Some operators, in the desire to be environmentally friendly, may be using paints that are substandard for the conditions or the aircraft. My hope is Airbus will be more forthcoming with information regarding the obvious problems that apparently have existed since at least 2016.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:22 am

https://www.comsol.com/blogs/protecting ... ke-damage/

This is a good article with good visual.

bt
 
2175301
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:43 am

bikerthai wrote:
https://www.comsol.com/blogs/protecting-aircraft-composites-from-lightning-strike-damage/

This is a good article with good visual.

bt


Thank you! :)

That lines up with my memory - only it shows multiple layers before any filler, primer, and paint.

The copper mesh is buried in the CFRP sandwich, and not on the surface. The surface of the sandwich has to be removed (or crack) to expose the mesh. Definitely more than a paint issue.
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:46 am

bikerthai wrote:
https://www.comsol.com/blogs/protecting-aircraft-composites-from-lightning-strike-damage/

This is a good article with good visual.

bt



Excellent article. The question becomes did Airbus do the same testing that Boeing did regarding thermal expansion and contraction of the material used for lightning mitigation? Boeing apparently uses a foil while Airbus uses a mesh.

Picture the temperature extremes of a QR A359 in summer where the ground temps can routinely be 120 degrees F or hotter, yet several minutes later at 35,000 feet the outside temp can be -55-70 F. Is the thermal expansion and contraction of the copper mesh under such extreme conditions enough to crack or damage the paint or the mesh itself?

Clearly, this is much more than a paint issue.
 
pugman211
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:57 am

2175301 wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
https://www.comsol.com/blogs/protecting-aircraft-composites-from-lightning-strike-damage/

This is a good article with good visual.

bt


Thank you! :)

That lines up with my memory - only it shows multiple layers before any filler, primer, and paint.

The copper mesh is buried in the CFRP sandwich, and not on the surface. The surface of the sandwich has to be removed (or crack) to expose the mesh. Definitely more than a paint issue.



My limited understanding of what I've read and the pics I've seen in this thread the upper layers of the CFRP is known as a gel coat (usually for fiberglass) and it is that layer of the product that is cracking/damaged.

The good part, is that it probably isn't structural and is classed as the cosmetic finished look of the panel. It will be interesting to know if this can be an easy fix such as applying a layer of resin over the top and smoothing flat once cured then re-painting, or if a more substantial repair is required. I'm also referring to flat panels here and now the oval frames in pics 4 & 5 in the reuters article.
 
Noshow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:03 am

Could this damage be related to the paint removal process or procedure that might have been originally intended for metal aircraft?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:17 am

ElroyJetson wrote:
Boeing apparently uses a foil while Airbus uses a mesh.


Not sure if that would make a difference. I did noticed from the Reuter photos that there doesn't seem to be a fiberglass layer on top of the mesh. They may be using a different material for the top layer.

Not sure if Boeing has that top fiberglass layer as shown in the publication, but if they did, then that is a significant difference in what surface the paint us adhering to.

bt
 
Noshow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:35 am

A normal A350 looks totally smooth and has a mirror finish surface like a piano. Still don't get what happened to the skin.
 
FluidFlow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:36 am

Reading the article there are some positive points and some negative points:

Negative: The damage seems to occur a lot and "very fast" what leads to the premature conclusion of me, that Airbus is at fault what also seems to be partially true as Airbus wants to change something in the manufacturing process according to the articles.

Positive: There are already ways to fix the problem. Now it is not a permanent fix but you can actually fix it until the problem occurs again and then have to fix it again. So aircraft at the moment have increased wear and tear. Also Positive is, that it is no structural problem when you fix the problem as soon as it starts to show.

For QR the question now seems to be who has to pay. With the other mentioned airlines, it seems Airbus payed but the problem occurred there way earlier. What leads for me to the thought, that QR reported the problem very late to Airbus, probably outside the warranty period for cosmetic (non safety related) defects. Now QR says the problem is a problem of flight safety and Airbus has to fix it. Airbus seems to say that it is not, probably even using the Finair and Lufthansa cases as examples and stands with the argument that QR was too late to report the defect and the burden for fixing lies now with them.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:41 am

ElroyJetson wrote:
don't disagree with you that lightning damage could be a cause for 1 of 6 photo examples.


Concur. Looking at the photos again, I don't see it as lightning damage unless you contribute it to dissipation of energy after the lightning struck somewhere else.

It also doesn't look like peeling I saw on nacelle cowling near the inlet lip where you gave the high temperature lip as well as leading edge errosion.

The picture reminds me of the crazing and cracking of a DYI paint or stain project where either the paint was too thick, or you did not let one layer dry enough before puting on a second layer. (Been there, done that).

bt
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:15 am

Both the 787 and A350 are first generation majority CFRP built aircraft for both Airbus and Boeing. One significant difference between these aircraft and predominantly aluminum frames is lightning mitigation. This is new territory for both OEM's as CFRP, unlike aluminum, is a poor conductor of electricity, and as a result, other lightning mitigation technology must be used.

My speculation is the embedded copper mesh used by Airbus may be causing problems with paint adherence, or reacting poorly to thermal expansion and contraction and causing the paint to crack and peel away, and at times, causing the mesh itself to deteriorate.

My long term concern is the exposed CFRP where there is no longer any paint or other layers of protective material to keep it intact and structurally sound. I agree this is not currently a safety issue. However, I am not certain about long term safety concerns.
 
Noshow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:48 am

A bit like the F-22 coating defects maybe?
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... ascinating
 
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LoganTheBogan
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:58 am

I've actually seen this occur on two or three Q400s, however it was isolated to just a composite access panel. It was fixed pretty quickly and I haven't seen it occur since.
 
astuteman
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 9:48 am

2175301 wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
https://www.comsol.com/blogs/protecting-aircraft-composites-from-lightning-strike-damage/

This is a good article with good visual.

bt


Thank you! :)

That lines up with my memory - only it shows multiple layers before any filler, primer, and paint.

The copper mesh is buried in the CFRP sandwich, and not on the surface. The surface of the sandwich has to be removed (or crack) to expose the mesh. Definitely more than a paint issue.


I think that is the one thing that it doesn't show.
The visual clearly shows all the CFRP structure being BELOW the Expanded Metal Foil.
In the illustration (which is a Boeing model by the way, and therefore not necessarily representative of what Airbus have done) the EMF is trapped in a GRP (fibreglass) sandwich ABOVE the CFRP structure.
This may explain why with the exception of QR, airlines are saying that this is not currently a safety of flight issue.

I can only agree that it IS more than a paint issue (assuming the photographs that have been linked have the appropriate provenance)..
Short term fixes appear to exist and be in place.
Longer term fix? Not so much

Rgds
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:17 am

bikerthai wrote:
2175301 wrote:
However, it does not include the surface layer of the CFRP sandwich which covers and protects the copper mesh (the copper mesh is not visible on the raw CFRP sandwich surface).


:?: What layer of CFRP on top of the copper mesh???

Also, note that we are talking about structural composite which are solid laminate and not sandwich panels.

The copper layer is a non structural layer and is meant to be the first layer to absorb the lightning strike. Anything above that would be purely cosmetic.

A CFRP on top of the mesh would be useless as there is no mechanism to transfer shear load through the copper mesh to the CFRP layer underneath.

In some construction, there is a fiberglass nonstructual isolation layer between the CFRP and the mesh. So during repair of the mesh, you can go down to the glass layer and not damage the structural layer.

bt


In fiberglass composites there is often a corrosion barrier that is a very resin rich that is also liquidproof, the resin for the liner is usually lower stiffness but similar strength to the structural resin. On an airplane using glass in this outer corrosion barrier would greatly resist the cracking forces causing these cracks. This would make this layer more stretchy than the carbon fiber composite structural layer.

Another asked what is the construction of this skin - I'm sure its a carbon fiber structural panel, a possible bed layer for the mesh, the copper mesh, and a barrier coat that both adheres the mesh on and prevents water intrusion. Then it appears to be riveted to the frame.

It's moderately big if the coatings are cracking letting in moisture and exposing the copper to corrosion, but a perforated barrier is quite bad. In no order or sequence I see the following problems that all will progress to eventual early retirement.

- cracking lets in water - at cruise its all frozen with oodles of freeze - thaw cycles. In the desert heat it will vaporize, blistering all over.

- water in the copper layer causes corrosion, which has significant expansion, along with the thermal cycles the mesh will debond from the structural.

- the skin is rough from the cracking and blistering, areas will flutter in the airstream, raising drag and accelerating fatigue of the copper mesh.

- from flutter fatigue and corrosion, the mesh layer starts to break open, losing effectiveness in the lightning strike and higher current densities in the non-
damaged mesh. The mesh is riveted with the panel so mesh replacement without taking off the panels doesn't fly.


At the price per pound that airplanes are I would be furious if MY PLANE had this skin disease.
 
Noshow
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:25 am

Too many plastic surprises on both sides of the Atlantic these days.
And then you have a fleet of old school, all metal B-52s good for 100 years of service. Maybe this is the greenest way to build aircraft? Just reengine and carry on.
 
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zeke
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:07 pm

par13del wrote:
In your previous post you stated that paint is a customer option, I would like to hope that the OEM advises the only acceptable types to ensure the viability of the product.
Now if as you state above that paint also includes these other items - for composite a/c - I am surprised that so much control would be given over to the operator, especially after the initial A380 drama of airlines go wild configuring.


Paints may look similar however like everything in aviation there are trade offs over the life cycle. Some paints are heavier however last longer, some paints make the repaint process easier and cheaper however more expensive upfront. I think Airbus does not specify what specific paints to use, rather publishes the standard called Airbus TN A.007 which different paint manufacturers state are compliant.

ElroyJetson wrote:
However, the article references issues on virtually new aircraft across multiple operators. I think there is something more to this than mere lightning damage. Also, if it were only lightning damage carriers have procedures to repair. None of the reportage I have seen attributes the problems solely to lightning strikes.


The issue on new aircraft I explained above, it is a peel. It leaves a pattern similar to what you get if you try and pull wallpaper off a wall, more triangular in shape, and often starting from an edge of a panel and moving backwards in line with the airflow.

I am not suggesting everything is lightning strikes, however in my opinion some do look like lightning discharge around a static wick. Again in my opinion it might suggest that smaller timely maintenance interventions would not let this to become as extensive as it has. As I mentioned above water is the substance that will cause a whole bunch of issues, and it doesn't take much in the early stage to seal a lightning discharge up to prevent water ingress.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:46 pm

zeke wrote:
I am not suggesting everything is lightning strikes, however in my opinion some do look like lightning discharge around a static wick.


Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt
 
sxf24
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:47 pm

zeke wrote:
par13del wrote:
In your previous post you stated that paint is a customer option, I would like to hope that the OEM advises the only acceptable types to ensure the viability of the product.
Now if as you state above that paint also includes these other items - for composite a/c - I am surprised that so much control would be given over to the operator, especially after the initial A380 drama of airlines go wild configuring.


Paints may look similar however like everything in aviation there are trade offs over the life cycle. Some paints are heavier however last longer, some paints make the repaint process easier and cheaper however more expensive upfront. I think Airbus does not specify what specific paints to use, rather publishes the standard called Airbus TN A.007 which different paint manufacturers state are compliant.


I think you’re talking about maintenance standards for post delivery repainting. Or are you saying Airbus let’s customers pick whatever kind of paint they want during production?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:04 pm

sxf24 wrote:
Or are you saying Airbus let’s customers pick whatever kind of paint they want during production?


Typically an OEM paint is base on a specification - exterior epoxy for example. Within the specification, there can be multiple weight, quality, texture, performance etc. Within a group of criteria there may be more than one supplier providing different formulation that meets the specified requirement but may fall on different parts of the performance curve.

For example, darker paint may provide higher UV protection but is heavier while still fall under the same spec as a lighter paint for any A350 model.

bt
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:34 pm

The 'bind' for Airbus as I see it, is going to show up in future contracts just what maintenance will be involved in protecting that copper layer. Those 'cheaper', 'lighter', 'easier to repair' surface paints/layers may come at a price. It will become 'baked' into the contract.
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:35 pm

https://twitter.com/maxk_j/status/14657 ... 85702?s=21

Akbar says Boeings 787 issues are dwarfed by airbus’ 350 issue.

Strong words here
 
JonesNL
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:00 pm

Opus99 wrote:
https://twitter.com/maxk_j/status/1465701080809885702?s=21

Akbar says Boeings 787 issues are dwarfed by airbus’ 350 issue.

Strong words here


Hmm, depends a lot on perspective I guess. For now, bottom line wise Boeing is far deeper in the hole than Airbus. Effect of the A350 problems on QR is the opposite as they grounded dozen of planes and rented other equipment. They had almost 0 effects caused by the issues of the 787.

I am not sure that his words should be taken for the truth, seeing that one is causing a burning hole in his pocket caused by his choice to go head on with Airbus. Especially seeing that other airlines have found a way to solve the issue in cooperation with Airbus instead of choosing to ground all birds.

I put this comment in the same category as STC complaining about the delays of the 777x when he doesn't need it and half of his fleet is parked on the ground...
 
marcelh
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:14 pm

Opus99 wrote:
https://twitter.com/maxk_j/status/1465701080809885702?s=21

Akbar says Boeings 787 issues are dwarfed by airbus’ 350 issue.

Strong words here


He obviously wants an all Boeing fleet….
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:14 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
Clearly, this is much more than a paint issue.

It seems the word choices need to shift a bit based on recent information, yet I'm not sure which ones to choose.

I don't think it's just in the category of "paint issue" or "cosmetic issue" since we have cracking in the outer layer and exposure of the lightning protection system underneath (and even in some photos, perhaps beyond), yet also not in the category of "safety issue" either since there are tremendous margins in the lightning protection system and we don't have signs of structural weakening yet either.

It seems to more be in the category of "expensive ongoing maintenance issue" since none of the proposed changes appear to be able to be retrofitted.

astuteman wrote:
I can only agree that it IS more than a paint issue (assuming the photographs that have been linked have the appropriate provenance)..
Short term fixes appear to exist and be in place.
Longer term fix? Not so much

:checkmark:

Opus99 wrote:
Akbar says Boeings 787 issues are dwarfed by airbus’ 350 issue.

Strong words here

Strong indeed, since QR has 37 787s in its fleet already and 23 on order so it should be 'in the loop' on the 787 issues.

It seems like Airbus's crisis management skills will be put to the test even more going forward.

It feels like the first round of damage control has failed and management is losing containment of the situation.

I suspect the fix will be the usual one, throw money at the situation.

It doesn't pay to be in a protracted public struggle with an important customer.
 
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Pythagoras
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:26 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
Both the 787 and A350 are first generation majority CFRP built aircraft for both Airbus and Boeing. One significant difference between these aircraft and predominantly aluminum frames is lightning mitigation. This is new territory for both OEM's as CFRP, unlike aluminum, is a poor conductor of electricity, and as a result, other lightning mitigation technology must be used.

My speculation is the embedded copper mesh used by Airbus may be causing problems with paint adherence, or reacting poorly to thermal expansion and contraction and causing the paint to crack and peel away, and at times, causing the mesh itself to deteriorate.

My long term concern is the exposed CFRP where there is no longer any paint or other layers of protective material to keep it intact and structurally sound. I agree this is not currently a safety issue. However, I am not certain about long term safety concerns.


Lightning protection is not exactly new territory for either company as both had previously certified composite fuel cells on A400M and B-2. Lightning protection schemes, embedded mesh, have been in use for decades to prevent extensive damage from a lightning strike. For example, the raked wing tips on 767-400. This is not new technology.

The energy from a lightning strike can cause significant structural damage which would require repair. The damage though should never be so extensive to take the structure below fail safe load levels. The safety concern would be expressly to lightning attachment to underlying systems or for sparking within the fuel cell. There are situations where the paint thickness needs to be controlled to certify structure that lightning will not penetrate through the facesheets. It is counter-intuitive but too thick of paint is also a concern.
 
jeffrey0032j
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:36 pm

Revelation wrote:

Opus99 wrote:
Akbar says Boeings 787 issues are dwarfed by airbus’ 350 issue.

Strong words here

Strong indeed, since QR has 37 787s in its fleet already and 23 on order so it should be 'in the loop' on the 787 issues.

It seems like Airbus's crisis management skills will be put to the test even more going forward.

It feels like the first round of damage control has failed and management is losing containment of the situation.

I suspect the fix will be the usual one, throw money at the situation.

It doesn't pay to be in a protracted public struggle with an important customer.

Whoever authorised the leak of the photos must have been an angry person, and from the colour it doesn't seem to be QR, was it a Finnair plane?
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:40 pm

jeffrey0032j wrote:
Whoever authorised the leak of the photos must have been an angry person, and from the colour it doesn't seem to be QR, was it a Finnair plane?

The updated post now says they are pictures of QR aircraft.

To be honest, I'm surprised we've gone this long without photos being leaked.

I would have thought it would have been in QR's best interest to release photos, it would have put more heat on Airbus management to address their concerns.

I guess they haven't been released till now since the key parties didn't want to escalate the situation too rapidly.

Now we have AAB making more public statements about the impact of the issue, shortly after the release of the photos.

It feels like the situation is escalating rapidly.
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:48 pm

This entire issue has given me a new perspective on Al Baker. When his airline buys new aircraft he expects them to be in flawless shape. Not an unreasonable expectation when his airline is spending billions with each OEM. So, if the aircraft are not perfect he has, at times, gotten into some very public feuds with both Boeing and Airbus.

Personally, I do not find his expectations to be unreasonable. The difference appears to be Al Baker makes his displeasure public, while other airline CEO's must be complaining privately. The net result, the OEM's are publicly embarrassed, and fans of each OEM take issue with Al Baker's public criticism.

Based on the photographs in the Reuters article, the public complaints seem well founded and raise a number of concerns. Airbus needs to be more forthcoming imho and do a much better job of crisis management. If we have learned anything over the last several years with the MAX fiasco, burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away doesn't work. In this instance, honesty is always the best policy.
 
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par13del
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:13 pm

ElroyJetson wrote:
Based on the photographs in the Reuters article, the public complaints seem well founded and raise a number of concerns. Airbus needs to be more forthcoming imho and do a much better job of crisis management. If we have learned anything over the last several years with the MAX fiasco, burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away doesn't work. In this instance, honesty is always the best policy.

So keeping things in-house, not letting information go public is a bad strategy, imagine if Boeing did not have that massive e-mail dump?
Reality is that the dissemination of information on both sides of the pond is different, speculation on both sides of the pond also seems to follow suit.
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:15 pm

par13del wrote:
ElroyJetson wrote:
Based on the photographs in the Reuters article, the public complaints seem well founded and raise a number of concerns. Airbus needs to be more forthcoming imho and do a much better job of crisis management. If we have learned anything over the last several years with the MAX fiasco, burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away doesn't work. In this instance, honesty is always the best policy.

So keeping things in-house, not letting information go public is a bad strategy, imagine if Boeing did not have that massive e-mail dump?
Reality is that the dissemination of information on both sides of the pond is different, speculation on both sides of the pond also seems to follow suit.

But tbf they did lie/mislead that the situation was isolated to Akbar alone
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:17 pm

Pythagoras wrote:
Lightning protection is not exactly new territory for either company as both had previously certified composite fuel cells on A400M and B-2. Lightning protection schemes, embedded mesh, have been in use for decades to prevent extensive damage from a lightning strike. For example, the raked wing tips on 767-400. This is not new technology.


No, but in the ongoing effort to reduce cost, they will try new methods to achieve the same result. In doing so, there is a learning curve that need to be worked out.

From the photos, I surmise Airbus tried something new (not seeing the top fiberglass layer) and it came back to bite them.

I wouldn't think this would be a wide spread issue and may just be for specific parts on which they are trying this new stack-up.

Are they saying that its occuring on the main fuselage skin or main wing box?

bt
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:46 pm

When you buy an S-Class, you don't want paint chipping away on the bumper after a short period of time. Even if it's just a cosmetic issue.

1. This needs to be fixed short term
2. Then it needs to be fixed long term.
3. Airbus needs to make sure this does not happen in the future.

I do find it interesting that Finnair and Qatar are experiencing this issue, one operating out of the coldest hub and the other the warmest hub. But then again Lufthansa also had issues with the A350.
 
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:57 pm

Qatar has ruled out an A350F purchase and linked the decision to these issues:

https://simpleflying.com/qatar-airways- ... -interest/
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:17 pm

JerseyFlyer wrote:
Qatar has ruled out an A350F purchase and linked the decision to these issues:

https://simpleflying.com/qatar-airways- ... -interest/

If this incident truly triggers QR to not consider A350F, it's a big L for Team A.

There just aren't many operators who have 25 777-200Fs and two 747-8Fs that will need replacing.

Add to it the 77X is largely an EK creation and we might see a strong showing for Team B in the Middle East.

I guess time will tell if QR follows up on this, but it's definitely not good news for Team A.
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:25 pm

Revelation wrote:
JerseyFlyer wrote:
Qatar has ruled out an A350F purchase and linked the decision to these issues:

https://simpleflying.com/qatar-airways- ... -interest/

If this incident truly triggers QR to not consider A350F, it's a big L for Team A.

There just aren't many operators who have 25 777-200Fs and two 747-8Fs that will need replacing.

Add to it the 77X is largely an EK creation and we might see a strong showing for Team B in the Middle East.

I guess time will tell if QR follows up on this, but it's definitely not good news for Team A.

Absolutely and something I’m noticing from Team A out of this situation is a bit of arrogance but when you’re the market leader I guess you have that kind of clout?

If the deal does close and I think it will. Like that the XF has 5 times more orders or commitments than the 350F, with potentially more customers to come…LH, FX. Also I think if QR and LH sign up to the FX it signals to me that they like what they saw with the 777-9
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:43 pm

Wow....so the paint/ skin issue looks like it could cost team A thirty potential A350F orders? And let's be honest here, Boeing absolutely dominates the freighter market which has been growing rapidly and keeping many airlines such as CX and KE afloat during the pandemic.

Obviously, Airbus is keen to get more market share in the freighter business. Definitely a big blow.
 
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zeke
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:27 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt


You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.

What do you think the FAAs reaction would be if photos like this of a DL A350 made it to the press, do you think they would not be grounding the aircraft also, and asking DL how did you let it get that bad ? In reality an organisation like DL would maintain their aircraft and not leave damage to the elements for long periods.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:34 pm

Reuters is now carrying extended comments:

Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker confirmed that the Gulf airline had grounded 20 of the long-range A350 jets in a months-long dispute over paint and other surface damage that has also prompted the airline to halt further deliveries.

"Qatar Airways cannot sit with its arms folded and legs crossed. We need to solve it. Airbus has made a very large dent in our widebody operations," Al Baker said.

"It is a serious matter; we don't know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don't know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus," he told The Aviation Club in London.

"Now they have, at last, accepted that there are other airlines, several of them that have the same condition."

Ref: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-30/

He goes on to say he feels Airbus is blaming him (the customer) for something that is their problem, and that QR will not order A350F because of this situation.

Seems like this is now something Airbus must deal with.
Last edited by Revelation on Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Polot
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:35 pm

zeke wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt


You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.

What do you think the FAAs reaction would be if photos like this of a DL A350 made it to the press, do you think they would not be grounding the aircraft also, and asking DL how did you let it get that bad ? In reality an organisation like DL would maintain their aircraft and not leave damage to the elements for long periods.

I mean just yesterday you were saying:

zeke wrote:
I have seen this sort of appearance on engine cowls for longer than I can remember.


Reply #375. The very (unquoted) sentence before that was you saying the pics/damage doesn’t look that bad to you.
 
geomap
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:56 pm

zeke wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt


You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.

What do you think the FAAs reaction would be if photos like this of a DL A350 made it to the press, do you think they would not be grounding the aircraft also, and asking DL how did you let it get that bad ? In reality an organisation like DL would maintain their aircraft and not leave damage to the elements for long periods.


Photos 5, 6, and 7 in the Reuters article - https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 021-11-29/ - seem to show that there were attempts made to repaint or touch up areas of degradation. Can you shed some light on this?

Based on your previous posts my understanding is that these issues are simply the results of lightning strikes, and that the airline has been negligent in repairing the damage in a timely manner. Is this your professional assessment? If so, then can you pls address why the words 'lightning' and 'strike' have not been used in any press release or statement by either party in the months since Qatar first grounded its first plane?
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:58 pm

zeke wrote:
You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.


A year or two? Maybe. Moisture wicking and freeze thaw can escalate quickly, unlike aerodynamic erosion (yep, aero erosion was one of the thing I say on my visit to UAL in San Fran when I was a young wet-behind-the ears engineer, that and extruding sealant between the inlet lip and the inlet cowl).

Something like this IMO is beyond day-to-day wear and tear. Sure, they can keep reparing the damage, but not sure if they want to do it every one or two years, specially if they have to do it insitu and have the airplane down while they do it.

The painting part is easy. Preping the surface to make sure the new layer stick to the copper mesh making sure the color match, and waiting the paint to dry may take half a day if not more. This assume they don't have to put a new protective layer over the mesh before they paint. That would take another half a day if not more.

bt
Last edited by bikerthai on Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
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Polot
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:03 pm

bikerthai wrote:
zeke wrote:
You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.


A year or two? Maybe. Moisture wicking and freeze thaw can escalate quickly, unlike aerodynamic erosion.

Something like this IMO is beyond day-to-day wear and tear.

Im inclined to agree. If it was simple day-to-day wear and tear Airbus would have just sent out an advisory to operators about ensuring proper and timely inspections after lightning strikes or whatever. You don’t create a task force for that.
 
Opus99
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:13 pm

The Reuters article points out that Akbar says airbus should come out and be open about the a350 issues and apparently a change to material might need to be certified?

Does it having to be certified pose any problems for airbus? Seems like the only way to go?

Also how do you apply it to already delivered aircraft?
Last edited by Opus99 on Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:13 pm

Kind of a catch 22 really. If Airbus tells them it's cosmetic and not critical, maybe that is why they didn't repair right away and let the damage fester. After all revenue need to be generated and maybe they can hold off until a major check when they would have time for a "permanent repair".

In the mean time it looks bad and speed tape is not hoping to help.

bt
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: Qatar Airways has grounded 13 A350’s at the request of the Qatar Aviation regulator

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:15 pm

zeke wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
Lightning may explain the static discharge probe, but does not explain the other photos. The one thing that all the photos have in common is the paint crack is occurring at the edge of the part.

This lead me to believe that it is a moisture wicking issue, so if they can can better seal the edge after trimming, then they may solve that problem. As always, total guesswork. :scratchchin:

bt


You and I both know, regardless of the initial mechanism, those photos show areas that should have been address well before they have reached that stage they are in, none of that happened in over a day, I would suggest more like a year or two.

What do you think the FAAs reaction would be if photos like this of a DL A350 made it to the press, do you think they would not be grounding the aircraft also, and asking DL how did you let it get that bad ? In reality an organisation like DL would maintain their aircraft and not leave damage to the elements for long periods.



Just asking because I have no idea,.but does QR have a reputation for poor maintenance? If so, are they attempting to pin a poor maintenance issue on Airbus?

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