Many readers will doubtless remember the drama surrounding Qantas Flight 32 in November 2010, when it suffered a catastrophic engine failure shortly after taking off from Singapore en route to Sydney, Australia. Wikipedia reports:
On inspection it was found that a turbine disc in the aircraft's No. 2 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine (on the port side nearest the fuselage) had disintegrated. In addition to destruction of the engine, this also caused damage to the nacelle, wing, fuel system, landing gear, flight controls, the controls for engine No. 1 and an undetected fire in the left inner wing fuel tank that eventually self-extinguished.
The damage to the engine was spectacular. (Click either image for a larger view.)
I recently came across Qantas Engineering's newsletter (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format) describing the incident and the repairs that resulted. It's very interesting reading for aircraft enthusiasts, albeit a bit technical. Here's its summary of what was required, at a cost of over $100 million in US dollars at current exchange rates (enough to buy a brand-new Boeing 737, with change left over).
Around 50,000 man hours of design activity was completed with more than 100 drawings created.
- Airbus staff performed approximately 76,000 production man hours;
- Over 170 Airbus staff have worked onsite (on rotation), with nationalities including French, German, Spanish, British, Dutch, Indian, Belgian and American;
- Qantas performed over 11,000 man hours of production work including modifications, preservation tasks and maintenance activity; and
- Airbus staff working on the repair in Singapore had an average of 25 years industry experience.
- About one-third of the wiring in the left wing was replaced. That’s an approximate length of 6.1 kilometres of wiring compared with 37 kilometres of wiring throughout the aircraft.
- Ten 40-tonne trucks carried 18 specifically manufactured jacks from a warehouse in Frankfurt to Hamburg harbour, with the
equipment then transported to Singapore by sea (a journey of one month);
- 1,000 air freight shipments carried 1,500 boxes with a total weight of 150 tonnes of parts and tooling;
- Material was transported from 60 shippers and from 25 different airports to Singapore;
- 630 different part numbers were ordered; and
- 220 tools were ordered with a total weight of 110 tonnes.
- 250 individual tests were done by the embodiment team during repairs;
- 250 additional tests were done during the ground testing phase (similar to those carried out with a new aircraft off the production line);
- Flight testing comprised: a rejected take-off at 100 knots; a technical acceptance flight; and a flight to measure the performance of the airframe and engines.
- Check sequences during the assessment flight included:
- high ‘G’ manoeuvres to test the tolerance of the airframe;
- individually shutting down each of the four engines and restarting it;
- flying at slow speeds to test antistall systems;
- turning off engine-powered hydraulic systems to ensure that the aircraft remained controllable;
- testing emergency electrical systems; and
- extending the landing gear via the alternate method.
After Nancy-Bird flew home, many Engineering staff were still required in Singapore to complete the job. This included the removal and destruction of three truck loads of unserviceable aircraft parts to prevent re-birthing, returning components to various locations and vendors around the globe, finalisation of contracts, returning the massive amount of legal documentation to Sydney and of course the cleanup and exit of the facility in Singapore.
- 110 tonnes of tools ordered
- 630 different part numbers required
- 150 tonnes of airfreight shipped
- 3.8 miles of wiring replaced
- 11,000 Qantas man hours performed
- 2000 chilli crab consumed
There's much more at the link.
I imagine that last statistic was the most enjoyable part of the entire operation!