Cracks in the wings? Keep the plane flying, manufacturer says

The world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380 airplane, is causing some Australian engineers a few sleepless nights at the moment.

The engineers in question have reported that they had found small cracks in the wing ribs of A380s operated by Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways. According to the BBC, Singapore Airlines have said it has repaired the wings of two of its A380s.

Manufacturer Airbus recommends that airlines check for cracks, but at the same time say they don’t present a real danger.

“We confirm that minor cracks were found on some noncritical wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of A380 aircraft. We have traced the origin. Airbus has developed an inspection and repair procedure, which will be done during regular, routine scheduled four-year maintenance checks. In the meantime, Airbus emphasizes that the safe operation of the A380 fleet is not affected.”

So, no problem, right?

Not quite, if you ask the Australians.

Steve Purvinas, secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, told the BBC that:

“We can’t continue to gamble with people’s lives and allow those aircraft to fly around and hope that they make it until their four-yearly inspection.”

So, are we dealing with a simple little hiccup that doesn’t really mean anything, or is it time to don the hard hats and get ready for hundred ton planes dropping out of the sky?

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