A380s require wing mods before 5 years old or grounded?
Does anyone know if there is any truth to the rumour that Airbus has told all operators of A380s that modifications/replacement have to be carried out to certain wing chords and ribs before the airframe is 5 years old or they will be grounded?
The story goes that these carbon fibre ribs and chords will be replaced with alloy and number over 70 separate component replacements per aircraft. The estimated ground time of 8 weeks with 24 hour rotating shifts.
This is apparently the permanent fix for the temporary repairs that have been carried out so far.
Effective Date: 07 June 2012 Required Action(s) and Compliance Time(s): Required as indicated, unless accomplished previously:
(1) Before the accumulation of 3 074 flight cycles (FC) after the aeroplaneís first flight, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1 250 FC, accomplish a detailed visual inspection of the die-forged front spar web, between Rib 4 and Rib 8, RH wing and /or LH wing, as applicable, in the area of the attachment holes of the reinforcing straps, in accordance with the instructions of the Airbus Inspection Service bulletin (ISB) A380-57-8039.
(2) If, during any of the inspections as required by paragraph (1) of this AD, any crack is found, before next flight, contact Airbus to obtain approved repair instructions and accomplish those instructions accordingly.
That's the current inspection/repair for the cracked rib brackets but this is reality. They check em and find so many cracked. They fix em and close up the tank. They come back a couple of years later and same problem. This new aircraft that requires less maintenance already has major flaws developing that require ongoing timely inspections or one major mod.
Not aware of a permanent solution yet but I have heard 8-12 week job assuming that fix is just replace all 2000 rib brackets per aircraft.
It just could be that mankind has found the limit size/weight wise of current technologies for aircraft construction using metal/carbon fiber etc. You can only make something so long or big before it simply won't stand up to long term use. We started with wood & fabric.We went onto alloy's & other exotic metals & then fiberglass/carbon fiber & all the other associated matrix compositions. There is a limit to everything mankind does,are we approaching that limit with A/C? Interesting times ahead, God help us when the first super jumbo buys the farm,it's only then when some may very well think did we really need to put so many eggs in the one basket.
What's next in building materials?
Last edited by Wally Mk2; 8th Jun 2012 at 00:45.
Reason: poor education:-)
Airbus A380 operators face a 30,000 man-hour repair programme to address wing-crack issues that have dogged the airliner which will require an eight-week downtime if implemented in one instalment. The European airframer confirms that if airlines choose to undertake the repair "nose-to-tail" it will require around eight weeks to implement. However Airbus says that it expects most operators would opt to adopt the phased approach spread out over three two-year heavy checks which is less disruptive. In this case, it expects the repair would extend each two-to-three week heavy check by "a few days". Emirates, which is the biggest A380 operator with 21 in service, is undertaking the repair to each aircraft in one instalment. It says the work will require 30,000 man-hours to implement. The Emirates fleet will be repaired in Airbus facilities or by other organisations on Airbus's behalf because the Dubai carrier does not have the capacity to undertake the work in house. A380s featuring the recently-introduced revised wing design incorporating more twist and a lighter structure will need to be modified slightly earlier as the wing-crack issue has "a slightly greater effect" on these wings. The retrofit modification will be subject to an airworthiness directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency, which Airbus expects to be issued this summer. It will be available for retrofit in the first quarter of next year. A modification for new-build aircraft will become available for incorporation on the wing production line at the end of this year. There is an approximately 10-month lead-time on the wing, meaning that this will apply to A380s delivered from early 2014. Airbus says that it expects that most A380 operators receiving new A380s in 2013 will opt to have their wings repaired during final assembly, resulting in a four-to-six week delay. However some airlines with a more urgent need for their aircraft will decide to have the work carried out retrospectively, it adds.
Airbus says A380 wing crack repairs to 'take weeks'
Repairing tiny cracks in the wings of Airbus's flagship A380 superjumbo will take eight weeks for each aircraft if the work is done in one go, aviation magazine FlightGlobal reported Sunday.
An Airbus spokesman told AFP that the repairs "would take weeks" but declined to confirm the eight-week timeframe, equivalent to 30,000 hours labour, reported by FlightGlobal.
The repairs would be equivalent to the "heavy checks" carried out on planes after two, four and six years of flight, the spokesman said.
"It's up to the customer to decide if they want to do the repairs in one go or in several stops. They choose whatever best fits their operations and needs," the spokesman said.
Airbus, the main subsidiary of aerospace giant EADS, has said the hairline cracks were found on some wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of double-decker A380 aircraft.
It said they posed no safety threat and had not damaged the plane's popularity with travellers.
The European planemaker is to begin building A380 wings without the defect using a new type of aluminium in 2013 which means aircraft delivered from 2014 onwards.
Airbus has said it will cover the cost of the repairs but will not pay any compensation for lost revenue during the work.
The A380, which entered service in 2007, is the world's biggest passenger jet and a key product in Airbus's line-up as it battles its main rival US giant Boeing for the top spot in the world civil airliner industry.