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Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 2:39 pm
by wirraway
Sat "Weekend Australian"

Cracking grounds Qantas jets
By Steve Creedy, aviation writer
September 27, 2003

Qantas has grounded two jumbo jets and called in manufacturer Boeing after maintenance engineers found a 75cm crack in a crucial part that joins sections of the fuselage near the rear of the plane.

The crack is thought to have spread from damage caused when a metal tool was used to scrape off paint.

The damaged strap, called body station 2181, is used to knit together sections of the aircraft during manufacturing.

The damage is believed to have been done before Qantas acquired the leased aircraft in 1998 and could potentially have led to a structural failure if left unrepaired.

Qantas sources said the airline also had found problems with other production joints in the aircraft.

"(Qantas is) now looking at all the fuselage joints right around the aircraft, and they've actually found other damage in those joints," a source said.

Asked how dangerous the crack was, the source said: "I'd be very concerned myself. I wouldn't have been pleased if I thought my family had travelled on it."

A 1.76m crack in the skin of a China Airlines 747-200 was blamed for the aircraft breaking up in mid-air in 2002. All 209 passengers and 16 crew were killed shortly after take-off from Taipei.

Boeing spokesman Ken Morton said last night the manufacturer was taking the crack "very seriously".

"We would want to be the catalysts to making sure that any other airline that had an aircraft that had been subjected to the same procedure was alerted," Mr Morton said.

It is understood the crack was found last week as the damaged aircraft, VH-OED, was undergoing a maintenance procedure known as a D-check.

D-checks are the most intensive of maintenance and involve detailed examination of the stripped-down aircraft using a variety of hi-tech devices.

Qantas acquired the two jumbos from Malaysia Airlines in 1998, and had them repainted before they came back to Australia. "As part of a regular heavy maintenance check we discovered some low-level damage to the fuselage of a 747-400," a Qantas spokeswoman said.

"We're investigating the cause of the damage and we are in close consultation with Boeing. We've notified the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and we will advise them of the outcome of our investigations."

The spokeswoman said a second 747-400 repainted at the same place and time as the damaged plane was being inspected as a precaution.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority confirmed last night that Qantas had notified it of the crack. It said that it was monitoring the situation.

Spokesman Peter Gibson said CASA had also informed the US Federal Aviation Administration.

"We can't really do anything while Boeing is considering engineering solutions to the problem," he said.

"And obviously we and Qantas will be guided by that, whenever they come."

The crack could be detected only from the inside of the aircraft.

"The good thing is that it was found during the maintenance check, which is, after all, what the maintenance checks are there for," Mr Gibson said.

Meanwhile, airlines lashed out yesterday at the handling of the Sydney jet fuel shortage as international passengers faced delays of up to 10 hours and oil companies warned that supplies would remain tight for two more weeks.

Shell Australia believes it has fixed a problem at its Clyde refinery in western Sydney and is optimistic this, and fuel from a recently arrived tanker, will allow its supplies to return to previous levels later today.

The new fuel allowed the group of oil companies supplying Sydney airport to boost supplies from 35 per cent of normal to 50 per cent.

But Shell Australia chairman Tim Warren said Sydney's jet fuel supplies would remain tight until a Caltex refinery undergoing maintenance returned to full production on about October 8.

Thousands of international passengers were inconvenienced by the rationing, some waiting 10 hours for delayed flights and others missing connecting flights.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane demanded an explanation as to why the oil industry's contingency plans failed to cope with the unexpected combination of events that led to jet fuel rationing.

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RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 2:46 pm
by wirraway
poster on this subject from PPRuNe wrote:

"Ryanair is removing six 737's - all from the same source as the two QF -400's. Other operators who bought second hand Malaysian aircraft are also quite concerned. It appears Malaysian - who were required by the contract of sale to do the repainting - may have used an incorrect stripper and metallic tools resulting in dissimilar metal corrosion and subsequent fatigue cracking.

This one might cost Malaysian a few bucks - time to sell if you've got shares."

Source:http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=103593



[Edited 2003-09-27 07:59:08]

[Edited 2003-09-27 08:01:28]

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 2:50 pm
by Airbus Lover
It's sad that this has happened.  Sad

This will cost our airline big bucks on our own fleet if this is true. Ryanair has ex-MH B732s I believe?

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 3:09 pm
by Shenzhen
Actually, this has less to do with corrosion and more to do with fatigue. After the paint was removed, a scribel or other sharp object (knife) was used to remove the sealant at the splice area. The mechanic acutually cut into the metal causing a very weak spot, thus the fatigue cracking.

I see a lot of inspections coming on airplanes that have been repainted. If there are marks in the skin, then most likely a doubler repair will be required.

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:00 pm
by 777MAS
Time for MAS to explain... Is the damage restricted to those a/c that they did a paint job on? Time for us MH customers to be concerned - we now just can't assume that the answer to the above question is "Yes".

Glad I don't own any shares in MH....

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:09 pm
by QANTASpower
Hopefully Qantas has learnt a big lesson out of this. By saving a few bucks buying second hand jets off MAS they could have destroyed their exceptional safety record.


RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:22 pm
by Beno
You can't blame QF for this they spent millions bringing OEB,OEC,OED up to speed after they were purchased.

If anything Boeing should give MAS a good kick up the ar$e for not following the correct procedures when they painted the aircraft into the QF livery.

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:32 pm
by Guest
So when have they been delivered? Since how many months were they flying for QF already?

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:50 pm
by tsentsan
Sad to see its the Malaysian jets that are causing the problem.. maybe its just a one off thingy, with some disgruntled mechanic of MAS Engineering..

Both OEC and OED were purchasing during the Asian Financial Crisis, and were bought and flown by QF in 1998. They were approx 7-8 years old then (being delivered to MH in 1990/1991).

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 8:07 pm
by Guest
So what about the Asiana OEB? It also had that problem?
Bad for MAS, indeed. So airlines will think twice if they buy used planes from MAS.

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 8:20 pm
by Beno
As far as I know the ex Asiana 744 was fine.

The only 2 744s in the QF fleets suspected of having cracks are the 2 ex MAS 744s.

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:21 am
by MAS777
Just to set a few things straight here...

1. Only ONE single aircraft is affected and NOT both ex-MAS 744s.
2. There is still no clear evidence that this particular aircraft was indeed damaged by MAS during its repainting process. It is only suggested that it may have been damaged during the process - I think its a little harsh to claim disgruntled MAS engineers out to sabotage QF and innocent lives!
3. Ryanair do not have any ex-MAS aircraft as far as I know so the posting on PPRUNE is incorrect. I believe ex-MAS 73Ss are with TACA and Star Airlines (Indonesia).

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:47 pm
by L-188
I doubt that anybody intentionally went out to do that.

But you get the pressures of a deadline in there and sometimes you quality control will go to hell.

RE: Cracking Grounds Qantas 747 Jets

Posted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:52 pm
by Triple Seven
People, ONE aircraft involved so far and it may not even be MAS fault.

"Ryanair is removing six 737's - all from the same source as the two QF -400's. Other operators who bought second hand Malaysian aircraft are also quite concerned. It appears Malaysian - who were required by the contract of sale to do the repainting - may have used an incorrect stripper and metallic tools resulting in dissimilar metal corrosion and subsequent fatigue cracking.

This one might cost Malaysian a few bucks - time to sell if you've got shares."


RUBBISH!!!!
Like i've mentioned in another similar post Ryanair 737 are NOT ex-MAS but are ex-Lufthansa (-230), Britannia (-204), and Transavia (-2K2)


If anything Boeing should give MAS a good kick up the ar$e for not following the correct procedures when they painted the aircraft into the QF livery.

Kick only when MAS deserves it but for now try not to get your own ar$e kicked.

Bad for MAS, indeed. So airlines will think twice if they buy used planes from MAS.

Don't assume anything you aren't sure yet. Wait for the verdict. If MAS is at fault then shame on them. For now don't speculate.