Feb 122008

A hard landing by a Qantaslink Boeing 717-200 in Darwin last week may lead to the loss by QANTAS of it’s enviable reputation of never having lost an aircraft.

That reputation has already cost QANTAS over A$100 million following the ‘accident’ involving QF1 in Bangkok, September 1999. The aircraft, VH-OJH, was repaired and sent back into service, thereby preserving the much vaunted reputation. The report on that situation makes interesting reading. I dare say the scenario from last week in Darwin will likewise. VH-OJH still flies the ‘Kangaroo Route’ today, even though she’s 18 years old this year, come August.
Wrinkled skin on the aircraft fuselage indicates internal and/or airframe damage which requires in-depth investigation before repair. Aircrash history contains at least one circumstance that I’m aware of where an aircraft suffered damage to a rear pressure bulkhead from a hard landing, which was incorrectly repaired by Boeing in Seattle. That pressure bulkhead failed years later, resulting in the total loss of the aircraft and all aboard her. National Jet Systems operates 8 B717-200 aircraft currently, on behalf of Qantaslink. The fleet registrations are available on the net if one cares to look. It’s a very nice aircraft to fly on because seating is a comfortable two-by-three arrangement. Nice if you get to sit on the port side. That said, I don’t think I’ll be flying a Qantaslink B717 until I find out exactly which aircraft had that ‘hard landing’

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