Saturday July 26, 2008
So prompted by Kieran’s comment, here are some shoot-from-the-hip reactions to the QF30 incident.
They seem very lucky that whatever caused that hole didn’t make a bigger hole (a la UA811) or send debris into the engine intake.
They’re also very lucky to have had a reasonably quick diversion option (Manilla); as a veteran trans-Pacific flier, I do sometimes wonder about what would happen if something bad happened in the region, say, between Fiji and Hawaii, or even between Hawaii and the mainland US: there’s really not a lot of good options there. The Jo’berg – Perth/Sydney Qantas flights would seem to pose a similar kind of challenge. UA811 suffered its explosive decompression about 16mins out of HNL; Aloha 243 suffered its event 23 minutes out of Hilo bound for HNL, and landed at Kahului 10mins later. It appears that QF30 experienced its decompression event an hour after take-off, with the landing at Manilla occurring an hour after that.
We arrived in Sydney this morning to news of the incident all over the Australian media. As we waited for our Virgin flight to Brisbane, we started talking about the mishap with another passenger. He said “well, the plane is ancient, built in 1991”. I laughed.
“There are plenty of planes in service that are that old,” I said.
“Yeah, in Russia.”
“No, in the United States”.
Laughs all around.
I did hear one media report (on Sky News) saying that an oxygen cannister might be the culprit, consistent with a hazardous cargo/explosive event explanation; better that for Qantas, that the “poor maintenance”/”history of corrosion” theory that is getting a run here and there.