Browsing Tag: Qantas Airlines

No Airbus A380 wings are going anywhere -- simmer on down folks.

No Airbus A380 wings are going anywhere -- simmer on down folks.

“If it bleeds it leads” — a nice classic saying of writing sensational stories to get more traffic.

When I first heard of small cracks being found on Qantas and Singapore Airlines A380s I read up on it and found it to be a non-issue and not really worthy of writing a story. The majority of media covered it the way that they should — that cracks were found and they are no big deal. Some examples:

Toronto Star by Lesley Ciarula Taylor:
‘Non-critical’ cracks inside wings of Airbus A380 spark grounding call

ATWOnline by Geoffrey Thomas:
Minor cracks found in Qantas A380 wings pose no safety threat

Reuters by Harry Suhartono and Narayanan Somasundaram:
Singapore Air, Qantas say cracks found in Airbus A380 wings

USA Today by Ben Mutzabaugh:
Cracks found on A380 wing parts called ‘non-critical’

Then I start seeing more and more sensational headlines that were very misleading and it started to frustrate me. They acted like planes were going to start falling out of the sky and everyone needs to panic. Some of those examples:

Daily Mail by Rob Waugh:
World’s biggest super-jumbos must be GROUNDED, say engineers after cracks are found in the wings of three Airbus A380s
– Wow, even capitalizing the word “grounded” — classy.

CNET by Edward Moyer:
World’s largest passenger plane may be unsafe, some say
– I love the “some say,” it doesn’t really matter who, just some people are saying it and we are reporting it.

Gizmodo by Jamie Condliffe:
Airbus Refuses To Ground A380s Despite Cracks In Their Wings
– Or, they might refuse to ground them, because they do not need to be grounded.

BBC News by Tim Allman:
Airbus A380 fleet should be grounded, say engineers
– Well if engineers are saying it, then it has to be true.

What interests me is that those “some say,” and “engineers” all turn out to be the same one person in all these stories…

“We can’t continue to gamble with people’s lives and hope they make it until their four-year inspection,” said Steve Purvinas, federal secretary for the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association.

What almost all the news sources do not say is that Purvinas’ organization has been fighting against Qantas’ decision to outsource maintenance jobs. Interesting huh? It would seem to me that this guy and the ALAEA might have an agenda.

Safeskies (an organization specializes in airline safety) chairman David Forsyth stated that, “I doubt the ALAEA union which made the comments, is technically trained or qualified to argue against Airbus structural design engineers about cracks in their aircraft. Airbus will investigate these cracks and promulgate an inspection program, agreed by the safety Regulators.” He continued with, “Using safety as a weapon in IR disputes, without reasonable grounds, is like the boy who cried wolf. Repeated ad nauseam, the impact will lessen over time, and if eventually there is a valid safety issue, it might be dismissed as just another rant.”

Airbus has confirmed the cracks, but stated that they are not a safety issue. “We have traced the origin to a material-related manufacturing issue and developed an inspection and repair procedure which will be done during routine, scheduled, maintenance checks. This is not a safety issue. Aircraft performance is not affected. Any fix, if necessary, can be done during regular (4 year) maintenance.”

Every single airliner ever build has had issues that do not affect safety. Aircraft manufactures issue thousands of service bulletins and the huge majority of them are very minor.

This really is a non-story that should have never received much coverage outside airline trade journals. Yet, it was too tempting for some journalists and their editors to write that an engineer stated that the fleet of A380s should be grounded. The airline business is a disproportionately mis-represented business already and stories like this do not help the situation.

That is one styl'n Boeing 737-800 with a mustache.

That is one styl'n Boeing 737-800 with a mustache.Photo by Qantas.

For some reason, it seems that November is connected closely with men growing facial hair. A few years back the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia started promoting Movember with men growing mustaches to support prostate cancer research. Think of it as a pink ribbon to support breast cancer, but involving hair.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce is a survivor of prostate cancer and obviously the company has a special motivation for this. “As a survivor of prostate cancer, I am passionate about bringing greater awareness to men who are most at risk,” Joyce stated in a press release.

A 737 is not the only Qantas property to get the hairy treatment. A giant moustache has also been installed on the exterior of Sydney Qantas Domestic Airport, Terminal 3.

This terminal grows better facial hair than I do. Photo by Qantas.

This terminal grows better facial hair than I do. Photo by Qantas.


"Wunala Dreaming" is the name of this Qantas 747-400, painted with a design inspired by Aboriginal art.

"Wunala Dreaming" is the name of this Qantas 747-400, painted with a design inspired by Aboriginal art.

Each week I do an airline livery and many times I have been given a heads up by Yvette Scott (@airlinesangel) on new liveries to take a look at. I am about to return from my vacation and have asked her to do the livery of the week today. Here is her post:

I’m very honoured that David had asked me to select the livery of the week. Each week I look forward to which airline/livery David has discovered, many are new, many are from the past, but they all have a story to tell in the great world of aviation.

The airline I’ve selected is Qantas, Australia’s largest airline and the considered to be the world’s oldest continually operating airline. Their fleet consists of over 251 aircraft, ranging from Bombardier Dash 8 to Airbus A380.

Today their livery is white fusalage with a red tail featuring the distinctive kangaroo logo. Their B747-438, in addition to their usual city names, carry the word “Longreach” as part of the livery. This signifies both the “long reach” of the aircraft and the town where Qantas began. In 1993, as part of the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, some aircraft were named and painted aircraft with Aboriginal themes.

More photos through

Thanks Yvette! Be sure to also check out her blog: Airlines Angel.

Blog Image: Denmac25
Finnair MD-11 (OH-LGB) taking off in the moon light

Finnair MD-11 (OH-LGB) taking off in the moon light

It is that time again where I have quite a few blogs I never got around to blogging and they aren’t really timely anymore. Instead of just hitting delete, I want to still share the stories with you folks. Here they are:

* Photos and Video of a United Airlines Airbus A319 that had a landing gear failure. (via Flight Global)

* Get free cookies and toothbrushes at airports. (via USAToday)

* Delta Air Lines converts airports from Northwest Airlines to Delta. (via Delta Blog)

* An Antonov AN-124 flew a mobile Air Traffic Control unit to Haiti. (via Aviation Week)

* Qantas Airlines is getting rid of some of their business class. (via Aviation Week)

* Finnair has stopped flying the MD-11. Which is a total shame! (via Things in the Sky & Cranky Flier)

* People calling for a ban on pets being allowed in passenger cabins. (via The Independent)

* Google maps now showing live flights in Europe. (via tnooz)

connect | web | twitter | facebook |

Image: KalleA
Why would this Boeing 747 need a 5th engine?

Why would this Boeing 747 need a 5th engine?

This is not a photo shop, but a photograph of a Qantas Boeing 747-300 with a little extra cargo — a 5th engine.

When a Qantas airplane needs a replacement engine or to have one worked on, sometimes they will attached the 5th engine onto a Boeing 747 and fly it without power to its destination.

This ends up being more cost effective for the airline. The 5th engine will limit the 747’s performance (not that it is known for its sporty maneuvering already), but it provides no additional safety risk.

There is also a photo of a Qantas Boeing 747-400 with a 5th engine.

People on Twitter are sharing other airplanes with additional engines:
* Lockheed L1011 Tristar thanks FlyingPhotog
* Boeing 720 thanks apgphoto
* DC-8 thanks TxAGFlyer
* Pan Am Boeing 747 thanks Skippyscage

connect | web | twitter | facebook |