4 Dec 2010

Qantas crew hailed by safety agency

7:38 am on 4 December 2010

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says the Qantas Airbus A380 that experienced an engine explosion would not have arrived safely without the quick thinking of crew.

The ATSB has published its report into the incident. It confirmed that an oil leak was the likely cause of the blow-out in mid-air on 4 November.

"The aircraft would not have arrived safely in Singapore without the focused and effective action of the flight crew," the report said.

The report also pointed out that there were five pilots on board the superjumbo aircraft, with a combined 72,000 hours of flying experience,

when the incident took place.

The bureau said those at the controls of the A380 struggled with more than a dozen system errors after the engine blew.

The bureau said a suspected manufacturing problem with an oil pipe in one of the plane's four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines may have led to an oil leak.

That could have sparked a fire in a hot part of the engine, causing a disintegration of one of the engine's turbine discs.

Pieces of the disc were then fired through a wing, cuttings electronics and causing numerous system problems.

The BBC reports Qantas has resumed flying some of its A380 planes after grounding the fleet for safety checks following the incident.

On Thursday, the airline said it was starting legal action against Rolls-Royce as back-up in case a settlement could not be reached.