Oil leaks that hit two Qantas A380 flights last year were part of a wider problem with the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine, the ATSB has reported.
The safety agency said Rolls-Royce, Qantas and Airbus have since taken “proactive safety action” to mitigate the problem, which stems from a loose connection with an external oil feed pipe. Those actions had “reduced the occurrence and effect of in-flight oil leaks while a longer term solution is being developed,” the ATSB said.
Both Qantas incidents occurred on flights between Singapore and London. The first took place about eight hours into a February 24 2011 flight, when crew detected a drop in oil tank quantity for the aircraft’s No 3 engine. The crew reduced thrust on the affected engine to idle and continued to London.
The second incident, about three hours into a November 3 flight, forced pilots to shut down the No 4 engine and divert to Dubai. By then, there had been 15 recorded oil leaks across the worldwide A380 fleet and Rolls-Royce had launched an investigation into the problem.
Qantas said the problem was unrelated to the cause of the 2010 explosion of one of the airline’s A380 engines near Singapore.