Qantas 744 ferries spare engine to Johannesburg

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 19, 2011
photo - Greg Wood

Qantas’s regular QF63 service from Sydney to Johannesburg made a scheduled tech stop into Perth for additional fuel on July 18 as the aircraft, 747-400 VH-OJN, was carrying a spare engine under its left wing for sistership VH-OJL, which had experienced a #3 engine failure on July 16, approximately one hour into its QF64 flight from Johannesburg to Sydney.

The QF64 incident, which made headlines as South Africa’s Springboks rugby union team was onboard the aircraft, is the latest in a string of high profile engine failures caused by disintegrating high pressure compressor blades in Qantas RB211 engines.

”[It] is not a safety risk and is not exclusive to Qantas,” a Qantas spokesman told Fairfax Media of the QF64 incident. ”Other airlines have experienced this type of issue with RB211 engines.”

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Qantas says it has fast tracked modifying its Rolls-Royce RB211s with a new design high pressure compressor.

“We are accelerating the rate at which we send RB211s for overhaul in order to fast-track this modification and others over the next 12 to 18 months,” a Qantas spokesman told The Australian.

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19 Comments

  • Michael Angelico

    says:

    Does an engine fit in the cargo bay of a 747? I would have thought they’d be bigger than that.

  • Jay

    says:

    Have a look at the left wing mate

  • australianaviation.com.au

    says:

    Thanks for the comments, we’ve just edited the story a bid to make it a little clearer.

  • Keith

    says:

    I was at Syd Int to 1.10pm and did not see it. It is a great picture. Now how to get the crock one home ? Thanks

  • Chris

    says:

    Since when is an inflight engine shutdown NOT a safety issue? Comes back to the outsourcing of maintenance I feel…

  • Oliver Cooksey

    says:

    Everyone goes on about this outsourcing of maintenance but forget its to Singapore, one of the most advance countries in the world. Singapore Airlines are one of the most safest airlines in the world and have had no problems, not even Tiger Singapore (Different one to the Australian one) has had problems. From what I see its just our way of blaming problems on others.

  • mungo

    says:

    When i come to GinGIN IN OCT/NOV I WON’T BE FLYING QANTAS.

  • mark

    says:

    I’ll guess they’ll get the crock one home the same way they got the replacement one there.. Under the same wing of another aircraft. Or even under the wing of OJL..

  • Timbo

    says:

    Isn’t it strange that this item makes the news. When I was with QF from ’63 to ’81, carrying a ‘fifth pod’ from SYD for a disabled B707 somewhere on the vast QF network was a relatively common occurrence.

    Just proves how reliable the modern jet engine is today.

    And, please, would commentators who criticise outsourcing of certain maintenance functions on any mainline carrier do their research first before going into print as per Oliver Cooksey’s remarks earlier.

  • Chris

    says:

    My concern with all of this is, if the Qantas 744 was maintained by the Avalon team, and still had an issue, why do they keep claiming that the offshore maintenance is unsafe? I don’t see Fairfax or News websites filled with SIA or Cathay or Malaysian issues. It is simply damaging Qantas with this campaign.

  • Paul

    says:

    See that some contributors have swallowed the “outsourcing of maintence” bit. VH-OJL operates the Rolls Royce RB211 engine, maintained inhouse by the Sydney engine shop. The Trent 900 used on the A380, that caused the incident on VH-OQA, is maintained by RR under a total care package, with the line and base maintenance work performed by QF LAME’s. The reference to Avalon is correct, the 747 heavy maintenance is done there, except the overflow, when the program is log jammed with work. When that happens, the work is supervised and “signed off” by QF LAME’s.

  • Ian

    says:

    Come on MUNGO….be sensible …..are you sure the Airline you end up on ..is really going to be safer??

  • Ian

    says:

    Does anyone know where the picture was taken…Sydney …Perth??

  • McDaddy

    says:

    I think there are a number of sensible comments here. Well done to the those with facts and knowledge setting the scene right.

    I have one gripe though, when are you all going to become journalists to overhaul the way in which aviation is reported. AA must be one of very few in this country that don’t QANTAS bash for mere sale boosting.

    My 2c.

  • Ben

    says:

    It’s a very well documented fact that the Rolls Royce RB211 has some major issues, particularly with the GP turbine. Regardless of where they are maintained, they should all be to the same standard. In the case of the Trent 9, that is done by RR themselves! Surely this is better than some lazy over-unionised mechcanic in sweaty Sydney tin shed?

  • pez

    says:

    Stick another under the other wing and it could be a Soviet bult beast 😉

  • Smudge

    says:

    1st time I saw a 747 carrying a spare engine was at Nairobi in 1976. BA at the time were having an engineering strike and I was on a delayed LHR-NBO-JNB flight – delayed if I recall correctly because the scheduled aircraft was still “inbound” somewhere over Europe. Thought I was seeing things when another BA 747 took off from NBO and I could see a “5th engine” however when my plane landed at JNB there it was. 3 BA 747s on the ground that day at JNB, 1 with 3 engines, 1 with 4 and 1 with 5 !!!

  • 4 Motion

    says:

    You do read some incredible stuff. This has been going on for years in aviation. Go back to the days of the 747 classic fleet and you would understand engine failures and problems >> not Rolls Royce

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