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Feel Good News Story of the Week: Qantas' 'Nancy Bird Walton' A380 Comes Home

April 23, 2012 at 9:58 AM | by | ()

We all remember back in early November of 2010 when Qantas flight 32 was climbing out of Singapore's Changi Airport and, due to an oil leak, blew an A380 engine. The engine explosion pierced fuel tanks, created a hole in the wing and damaged wiring. Parts of the engine even rained down on a small Indonesian island as the pilot called for an emergency landing back in Singapore.

The resulting blame game was intense, between the engine manufacturer, the maintenance crews and the plane design itself.

Fast forward over 1.5 years later and the plane is still stuck in Singapore undergoing much needed repairs and a full investigation. An airplane, especially a massive A380, grounded for that long costs beaucoup bucks no airline wants to fork over, but no airline wants to risk an accident. We get it.

Here is the feel good part of the story: The plane is fixed, the investigation complete, and the superjumbo has been ferried from Singapore back to Australia, landing in Sydney on Sunday, Australian time. The plane returns to regular service on April 28th with a trip to Hong Kong.

Is it eventful? Yes. Since this bird is the first superjumbo the airline welcomed into its fleet, the "Nancy Bird Walton" is a significant chapter in Qantas' history. Additionally, the expert skills of the flight deck and cabin crew managed to avert a serious disaster and everyone walked away from the event physically unharmed.

We were fortunate enough to be transiting through Sydney on Monday. While waiting to push back from the gate, a giant white and red aircraft zipped by our window. After a few questions during the meal service, the cabin crew confirmed that it was the repaired aircraft.

It may have been the in-flight champagne getting to us, but it seemed like that plane was smiling as she went rolling down the taxiway, as if saying g'day! to old friends. Never thought planes could make you feel warm and fuzzy, did you?

[Photo: Tim Riley]

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