Airbus Identifies ‘Cracking Behavior’ in A400M Military Aircraft (excerpt)
(Source: Bloomberg news; published May 14, 2016)
by Andrea Rothman
Airbus Group SE disclosed a cracking issue in its A400M military transport aircraft Friday and said its government customers must inspect the planes and make fixes if necessary. The issue doesn’t impact flight safety, the European planemaker said.

The issue was first identified in 2011 in tests before the plane went into service, Airbus said in an e-mailed statement. The company has agreed with the European Air Safety Agency and A400M customers on solutions that are currently being implemented.

“As part of the normal quality control processes in the A400M fleet we have identified a material issue,” Airbus said in a statement late Friday. “It concerns a previously unknown cracking behavior of an aluminum alloys material. The issue is not impacting flight safety and does not require any immediate measures beyond a program of inspections and repairs that can be incorporated into the normal maintenance and upgrades schedules.”

The cracking issue adds to a chain of woes that have emerged since Airbus began developing the plane for seven European customers and Turkey more than a decade ago. It also raises questions about how much more money must be spent getting the plane into shape in order to satisfy customers. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg News website.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: The cracks were originally discovered in 2011 during ground fatigue tests, an Airbus spokesperson said May 16, and their root cause has been investigated since.
Their discovery in some A400M aircraft earlier this year roughly coincided with the determination of the root cause. The root cause is a combination of the chemical make-up of the aluminium alloys in which some of the frames are made – all aircraft have frames made of different materials -- and environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, pressure and time exposure.
Airbus and EASA have agreed on an inspection regime, and the cracks do not threaten flight security, the spokesperson added; customers will have the option of repairing the frames or replacing them.)


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Airbus Wants to Replace A400M Parts After Cracks Found, Germany Says (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published May 13, 2016)
By Sabine Siebold
BERLIN --- Airbus Group SE wants to swap out airframe components in Germany's A400M transport planes after cracks were discovered in a French A400M aircraft, the German defence ministry told lawmakers on Friday.

Benedikt Zimmer, who heads the ministry's arms acquisitions department, notified the German parliament's defence committee about the company's plans late on Friday, in a document seen by Reuters. In the notification, he said the swap could take up to seven months to complete.

Airbus now needs to submit a comprehensive plan to deal with various problems that have affected the long-delayed A400M, including significant gearbox glitches on its turboprop engines, Zimmer told lawmakers.

Airbus confirmed it had identified an unknown cracking behavior in a part made of an aluminum alloy during quality control checks in 2011. It said the issue did not affect flight safety and repairs agreed with its customers would be incorporated into regular maintenance and upgrade schedules.

…/…

A classified government defence report obtained by Reuters said the raft of problems facing the A400M made it difficult to plan for further deliveries given the "high number of manufacturer-caused risks." (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.

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