Qantas A380 accident caused by Rolls-Royce engine, air safety agency says

Qantas pilot captain Richard de Crespigny poses infront of the Qantas Airbus A380 jet dubbed 'Nancy Bird Walton', in honour of Australia's first female commercial pilot, on the tarmac at the Changi International Airport in Singapore on April 21, 2012. A Qantas Airbus A380 jet that dramatically lost an engine in a mid-air blast off Singapore in November 2010 was formally handed back to the Australian flag carrier April 21 after extensive repairs.

Australia's air safety regulator has blamed Rolls-Royce over the dramatic explosion of an engine on a Qantas Airways A380 carrying more than 400 people over Indonesia in 2010.

The disintegration of the Qantas Airbus jet engine, made by Rolls-Royce, was triggered by a poorly built oil pipe that failed to conform to design specifications, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said Thursday in their final report into the emergency.

The bureau's report, cited by the Associated Press, found that an oil leak from a pipe inside one of the plane's Trent 900 engines sparked a fire, which disintegrated one of the engine's turbine discs.

Pieces of the discs blasted through the plane's wing, as oil was released into the plane's superheated engine, sparking the fire.

The A380, flying from Singapore to Australia, was forced to make an emergency landing.

Had it not been for the exceptional skill of the pilots, the explosion almost certainly would have caused the A380 to crash, Reuters wrote.

According to Reuters:

The pilots returned to Singapore and landed with limited controls, stopping just 490 feet before the end of the runway with four blown tires, brakes heated to 900 degrees Celsius and fuel leaking to the ground.

The accident triggered the most significant safety issue the superjumbo has faced since its maiden flight in 2007, the AP wrote.

Super jumbos around the world were grounded and Rolls-Royce immediately faced scrutiny of its engines.

Rolls-Royce missed multiple opportunities to detect the faulty component, the report added.

Rolls-Royce has responded to the report, with Colin Smith — the company's director of engineering and technology — saying:

"This was a serious and rare event which we very much regret. At Rolls-Royce we continually strive to meet the high standards of safety, quality and reliability that our customers and their passengers are entitled to expect. On this occasion we clearly fell short."

The company had overhauled its quality management system and implemented a safety feature to shut an engine down before it could blow apart.