Qantas is preparing for the re-entry into service of its first A380, the Nancy Bird Walton, following a highly successful repair/rebuild programme that underscores the effectiveness and reactivity of Airbus’ global engineering network.
This comprehensive effort addressed damage resulting from a 2010 Rolls-Royce engine failure, and included replacement of the jetliner’s no. 2 engine and pylon, port wing electrical wiring system, flap and fairing components; along with repair of fuselage and skin panels, internal stringers and equipment, as well as additional processes.
Working in close coordination with Qantas since last July, more than 70,000 Airbus engineering man-hours were involved in preparing the jetliner at facilities in Singapore– helping clear the way for the two extensive test flights and subsequent handover back to Qantas at a special ceremony at Changi Airport on Saturday 21 April.
The multi-discipline repair activity drew on Airbus expertise from around the world. In addition to on-site working teams and project direction from the company’s Customer Support department, approximately 40 engineers from its UK site specialising in wing design performed stress/design calculations for A380 wing repairs.
Airbus engineers from the Toulouse, France design office were in charge of forward-fuselage work, while Spanish teams managed tailplane repairs and German teams were entrusted with the centre fuselage. Materials supply was handled by Airbus specialists in Hamburg, Germany.
Underscoring Airbus’ advanced engineering capabilities, 3D laser scanning was used to repair the A380’s top wing skin – with this process allowing the upper wing geometry to be maintained throughout the repair, providing a flush surface for the wing airflow.The A380 repair/rebuild effort was audited by Airbus, Qantas, CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority - Australia) and the French OSAC (Organisme pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile) throughout the process. Some eight audits were performed in total.