ELECTRICAL FAULT BROUGHT DOWN QANTAS 747-400 IN 2008

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore December 13, 2010 11:56

ELECTRICAL FAULT BROUGHT DOWN QANTAS 747-400 IN 2008

An official report has ruled that a set of electrical failures on a Qantas 747-400 bound to Sydney via Bangkok from London, which was forced to make an emergency landing at Bangkok Airport on January 7, 2008. A number of safety recommendations by the ATSB have been rejected by Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Authority.

The same electrical faults in and near the forward galley of the aircraft were subsequently discovered in 18 of Qantas’ 30 Boeing 747s flying in 2008. Although Boeing, Qantas and the ATSB have agreed to a range of actions to address the maintenance failures that caused the electrical failures on the 747-400, the ATSB found that the flight crew quick reference handbook of QRH for the 747-400 did not include sufficient information for the pilots to ” appropriately manage operations on standby power”. Qantas agreed to alter the QRH if Boeing approved the changes, which Boeing refused to do.

However, without Boeing’s approval, Qantas can’t change a check list that will form part of its standard operating procedures as per the ATSB recommendations.

It says that although it acknowledges the reviews already undertaken by the aircraft operator and manufacturer and action to amend the operator’s operations manual to include guidance to flight crews on the effect and management of multiple AC electrical bus loss, including on battery life, there is currently limited assurance that 747-400 flight crews would be aware of the expected duration of available battery power or of the possible need to expedite appropriate actions such as aircraft diversion that should be undertaken in the event of abnormal or unexpected battery discharge. The inclusion of a note or caution associated with the battery discharge message entry in the QRH to alert crews of the restricted battery life in such cases would help crews select and prioritise the most appropriate actions to recover from the emergency.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore December 13, 2010 11:56
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