After almost two years since the incident, crucial engine parts that became detached from an Air France Airbus A380 have been located, ending a demanding search campaign.

En route to Los Angeles on the 30th of September, 2017, the Airbus A380, registered as F-HPJE and operating as flight 66, emitted a large bang, leaving passengers shocked as one of the engines was torn apart.

The engine involved was a GP7200 made by a joint venture of Pratt and Whitney and General Electric called Engine Alliance.

Photos from the aircraft in flight displayed the significance of the failure, with the entire fan disc missing and parts of the engine improperly secured.

After safely landing in Goose Bay, the hunt for the missing components was initiated, with the French BEA in command.

Fast forward to the end of June, 2019, the missing fan disc was located thanks to the use of various proven and new technologies deployed by investigators.

Buried deep under snow and ice in Greenland, the fan disc and associated components were identified using aerial and ground devices including:

  • Aerial synthetic aperture radars
  • Ground penetrating radars
  • Rovers fitted with radar and metal detecting sensors
  • People
Air France A380 Engine Components Recovered
Fan disc being dug out of snow and ice

Two robots, by the name of FrostyBoy and Transient Electro Magnetic Instrument, scoured the land for traces of the missing engine piece.

With a positive result, the disc will be assessed by Engine Alliance engineers under the eyes of the BEA to determine the cause of the uncontained engine failure, preventing it from occurring again.

To see the recovery in action, check out this video:

This is the second uncontained engine failure event for the Airbus A380; the first being Qantas Flight 32, which lost one of its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines due to a quality control slip during manufacturing.

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