All Airbus A380s to be inspected for Cracks in Wing Brackets

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 11th, 2012

Week in Review

All Airbus A380s to be inspected for cracks in wing brackets.  They’re not load-bearing but they’re important nonetheless.  These brackets attach the skin of the wing to the wing structural support.  A failure of one of these brackets is not likely to cause a wing to fall off.  But if the surface of the wing peels off it could cause some trouble from severe buffeting to a stall of the wing.  Apparently something Airbus does not believe is likely to happen.  It may be nothing as Airbus sent out a repair kit but didn’t ground the plane.  This may be just ‘erring on the side of caution’.  If one can really say that in aviation (see Safety check ordered for all Airbus A380 jets by The Associated Press posted 2/8/2012 on CBS News).

Europe’s air safety authority [EASA] ordered checks Wednesday on the entire global fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbo jets for cracks on parts inside the wings — extending a previous order for nearly a third of the planes to be inspected…

“These brackets are located on wing ribs which are not main load bearing structure, and, thus, the safe operation of the aircraft is not affected,” Airbus said in a statement. “Nearly 4,000 such brackets are used on the A380 to join the wing-skin to the ribs. Only a handful of brackets per aircraft have been found to have been affected.”

Still, EASA in its directive said that “this condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the airplane.”

And here’s why Airbus is probably being honest and doing the right thing.  And probably would have even without the EASA stepping in.

Shares in Airbus parent company EADS were down 1.3 percent at euro26.61 ($35.00) in Wednesday afternoon trading.

If there is a problem and Airbus tries to hide it they have bigger problems on their hands.  For if a plane falls out of the sky because they tried to hide something they’ll be more than a 1.3% drop in the stock price.  For nothing will destroy the profitability of an aircraft manufacturer than an unsafe aircraft.  A state-owned company has no such pressure.  Because they don’t answer to stockholders.  Or have to make a profit.  Airbus does.  So hopefully this is a minor issue to resolve.  And the A380 will continue to fly safely.

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