Qantas Plane Grounded in LA Due to Problems with Hydraulics

30th Jun 2015

Australian carrier was forced to ground an A380 plane in Los Angeles as its engineers discovered a problem with one of the jet's hydraulics systems.

The engineers discovered that the filters had been clogged with what appeared to be a black syrupy-like stuff. They have since replaced several filters as well as fluid pumps in the problematic hydraulic system.

A380 Possibly Contaminated With Wrong Fluid

Qantas has yet to determine the exact cause of this issue, but it appears that the hydraulic systems on the A380 'VH-OQD' were contaminated with wrong fluid.

The Airbus A380 just returned after being in maintenance in Manila, Philippines Lufthansa Technik's base for several weeks. It already flew a route between Sydney and London before it headed for L.A. where it is grounded since last Thursday.

The A380 is the largest passenger airplane and has three hydraulic systems. These operate separately from each other in order to ensure the plane has sufficient back up in case of any malfunctions or other problems such as this one.

Busy Holiday Season Ahead of Qantas

The grounding could not have come at a more inopportune time for the Australian carrier, as it has already caused some delays for passengers traveling to the United States and Japan. Qantas has already put some passengers in L.A. on flights from Vancouver to Sydney. In addition, the airline has also deployed a Boeing 747 to fly between Australia and Los Angeles in order to lessen further delays.

Initially, Qantas' plan was to operate a return flight from Los Angeles back to Sydney with the same plane this weekend, but as things are, the A380 will not be operational at least until Wednesday.

Fluid Samples Sent to Airbus for Testing

A spokesman for the airline said samples of the hydraulic fluid were already sent for testing to Airbus where it should be determined exactly what cause the problem.

"These are extremely sophisticated and therefore complicated aircraft, so it can take time to work through a technical issue like this to our satisfaction. We'll always put safety before schedule."

Speaking about delays, the spokesman said:

"There are some delays as a result of this and we're very grateful for people's patience as we work to get this aircraft into service as soon as possible."