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A380 wing bracket cracks 'will not happen again': Airbus
24/09/2012 - Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has assured its major clients — including Qantas — the cracks that kept their A380 superjumbos on the ground will not happen again. Jordan Chong
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Cracks in the aircraft's wing brackets were first discovered by Airbus engineers working on a Qantas A380 being repaired in Singapore after a mid-air engine explosion in November 2010.
That Qantas aircraft — the Flying Kangaroo's first double decker superjumbo, the Nancy Bird-Walton — returned to service in April this year after 16 months of repairs costing $139 million.
There are about 4,000 of the brackets, called wing-rib feet, across both wings of an A380.
Airbus executive vice president engineering Charles Champion said engineers were now able to better measure the effect of factors such as temperature on aircraft structures such as the wing-rib feet.
"What we learned out of that now is much better modelling of the thermal effects when we have different material," Champion told reporters during a media briefing on Friday.
"We have re-checked the whole design of the A380 but also the A350 to I would say have better tools now, in order to take that into effect and anticipate the potential for future problems on either program."
The A350 is Airbus's newest aircraft under development and due to enter service in 2014.
In February, the European Air Safety Authority issued an airworthiness directive calling on all A380 operators to check their double-decker super-jumbos for cracks in the brackets that attach to the wing's ribs.
The cracks were due to a manufacturing process, Airbus has said previously.
Airlines have had to take their A380s out of service to conduct the inspections.
Champion said Airbus has started modifying one of its test aircraft as part of validating the repair process for existing A380s.
He hoped to have the repairs certified by early 2013 and said there had been no effect on potential sales.
In a presentation accompanying its first half accounts for calendar 2012, Airbus parent company EADS said it expected the take a 260 million euros ($A325.14 million) charge for the full year on the wing rib feet issue.
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