The pilots of the damaged Qantas Airways (QUBSF) Airbus A380 jet may have prevented disaster when the plane was forced to return to Singapore, investigators say.

The pilots had to deal with more than a dozen system errors after the plane's Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine exploded in mid-air, Reuters reported. The plane was flying from Singapore to Sydney, Australia.

"The aircraft would not have arrived safely in Singapore without the focused and effective action of the flight crew," said Martin Dolan, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's chief commissioner.

The five pilots on board had a combined 72,000 hours of flight experience. It took them 50 minutes to complete the required responses to the safety warnings so that they could get the plane ready for landing.

The pilots had to remove some of the options so that the computer could calculate if the plane would be able to land. When the computer said the plane could do so with 100 meters of runway to spare, pilots decided to go for it.

The plane came to a halt on the runway with 150 meters of concrete left. Its brakes were heated to 900 degrees Celsius and it had four blown tires.

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The actual list of significant malfunctions and outage problems included almost 50 critical malfunctions caused when the engine blew and in the process severed many feeder cables and the wiring harness in the wing and blew a 3 by 5 foot hole in the wing also. The only reason that aircraft made is back was because it was a "pilot training flight" and they had a double flight crew (or more) and a total of 5 experienced pilots aboard including their best pilot who trains the other pilots to fly the Jumbo. Without the double flight crew and 5 pilots they never would have beeen able to handle all of the problems they had on their hands that had to all be dealth with at the same time. They really did luck out that the engine blew up while they had the expanded flight crew aboard and their top gun. Otherwise_____they would not have survived.

December 03 2010 at 8:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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December 03 2010 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply