Qantas Airbus A380 VH-OQA is ready to return to service after an 11 month, $139 million repair program following the explosive uncontained failure of one its engines it experienced soon after taking off from Singapore in November 2010.
The A380, named Nancy-Bird Walton, is due to touch down in Sydney at 9.20am on Sunday morning following its comprehensive repairs in Singapore, and then will re-enter service with Qantas on April 28.
Qantas head of operations logistics Alan Milne said at a media brief in Singapore on Friday the repair was the most extensive ever undertaken on a Qantas aircraft in recent times, even greater in complexity than the repairs to VH-OJH, the Boeing 747-400 which over-ran the runway at Bangkok in 1999.
“This was the first major wing damage report event,” Milne explained to Australian Aviation. “The major damage to the wing section, including the forward spar and upper and lower wing sections, that was what made this complex and big.”
Repairs on the aircraft began in May 2011, and culminated in a four hour long technical evaluation test flight of the aircraft on April 15. The work, to bring the aircraft to an as-new condition, included fitting a custom made patch to the upper wing skin and replacing a section of the aircraft’s front spar and lower wing skin, replacing all four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, and replacing or repairing affected pneumatic, electrical and hydraulic systems. Under Qantas’s oversight, a team of Airbus technicians undertook the work in a Singapore Airlines Engineering Company hangar at Singapore’s Changi Airport.
The cost of the repairs, covered entirely by insurance, was significantly below the insured write-off value of the aircraft, Qantas manager engineering Tim Gent told media.
A full report on the repairs to Nancy-Bird Walton will be featured in the June issue of Australian Aviation. In the meantime, Australian Aviation contributor Owen Zupp has blogged about the QF32 incident here.