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Two Qantas turn-backs on same day ‘just coincidence’

August 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An aviation expert has told ABC News that the turn-back of two large Qantas international flights last Friday over mechanical faults was unusual but just a coincidence.

Both flights left Sydney on Friday afternoon, with one forced to dump fuel over the sea before landing.

Flight QF7 to Dallas, operated with an A380, is one of the world’s longer flights and the longest Qantas operates. It turned back on Friday after experiencing a mechanical issue which prevented the crew from being able to retract the wing flaps.

The crew levelled out at 8000 feet and returned to Sydney after the plane circled for 35 minutes and dumped fuel over the sea east of Wollongong.

The other flight that had to return was QF63 from Sydney to Johannesburg, operated with a B747-400, which turned back and returned to Sydney after crew found the outer pane of the windscreen had cracked. As the windscreen consists of three layers of glass, safety was not compromised. Neither was it compromised in the other incident.

Qantas accommodated affected passengers or offered them transport home before organising replacement services.

ABC News contacted aviation expert Stephen Frankhauser, chair of the aviation department at Swinburne University, who said the fact two incidents happened on the same day was merely an unusual “statistical blip” and neither of the aircraft or any passengers were ever in danger.

Frankhauser pointed out planes were mechanical systems and while the probability of failure was very low, they weren’t absolutely failsafe.

Written by Peter Needham

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