Firefighters douse a burned-out engine of a Qantas A380 jet after it made… (Wong Maye-E / Associated…)
The Qantas A380 jet that blew out an engine and made a successful emergency landing Thursday in Singapore appeared to represent a fairly unusual blemish on the safety record of the super-sized passenger jet. As of Thursday afternoon, no cause had been announced. But the Guardian is reporting that Europe's air safety watchdog in August issued an alert about abnormal wear inside the British-made Rolls-Royce engines that power the planes.
All of which raises this question: Would you fly on this highly touted jet?
After Thursday's incident, the Australian carrier grounded its fleet of A380s for further investigation. Singapore Airlines, on the other hand, said it resumed flying its A380s after "precautionary checks." Lufthansa said it did not suspend its A380 service, Flightglobal reported.
Some minor incidents have been reported in the past with A380s, the Associated Press says. Last year, a Singapore Airlines A380 was forced to turn around and head back to Paris after an engine malfunction. And a Lufthansa crew once shut down an engine as a precaution after receiving confusing information on a cockpit indicator.
In a short demonstration flight three years ago from Los Angeles International Airport, I was impressed by the giant jet's quiet operation: "As it climbed toward an azure sky, I heard an unsettling noise: next to nothing. The plane was so silent that the whir of the air conditioning rose above the engines’ purr."
Not so for passengers of the troubled Qantas jet. Rosemary Hegardy, 60, of Sydney told the Associated Press that she heard two bangs and saw yellow flames from her window. "There was flames -- yellow flames came out, and debris came off.... You could see black things shooting through the smoke, like bits of debris," she said.
[Updated at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5: Qantas A380s remained grounded, stranding fliers around the world, including Los Angeles. And another Qantas jet developed engine trouble.]
Have you flown in the A380? What did you think, and would you fly in it again? Let us know in the comments section below.