The ATSB Preliminary QF32 Report

06/12/2010

The ATSB have released the preliminary report on the QF 32 A380 uncontained engine failure

While the report sheds light on a number of key issues in the investigation and certainly provides a ‘smoking gun’ for the engine failure I was left a little underwhelmed by the entire report.

There certainly was a range of information that could have been disclosed at this point in the investigation including:

  1. ECAM messages seen by the crew,
  2. More detailed disclosure of systems damage and effects,
  3. Details of damage to the aircrafts fueselage (butt strap and belly structure)
  4. Witness statements regarding flames coming from the wing,
  5. Recorded video from the tail vertical fin-mounted camera (if any), and
  6. Identification of severed wing wiring runs P1, 3G, ‘M’ & ‘S’ and 1G (and the services they carry)

So does this report satisfy the objective of providing all available factual information about the accident circumstances? In my opinion no and an update to the report should be issued.

Further the gaze of the investigation seems to be shifting towards a focus on the specifics of the engine failure. If so this is unfortunate, as an opportunity to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the system design may be lost.

It will be interesting to see whether the ATSB has both the gumption and the technical chops to lift the lid on system level vulnerabilities and potential flaws in the underlying certification basis. Time will tell.

References

1. ATSB, Preliminary Report, AO-2010-089, In-flight uncontained engine failure overhead Batam Island, Indonesia 4 November 2010, VH-OQA Airbus A380-842, Commonwealth of Australia, Dec 2010.