Air Safety Investigators Praise Qantas Pilots

The pilots of the damaged Qantas Airways (QUBSF) Airbus A380 jet may have prevented disaster when the plane was forced to return to Singapore, investigators say.

The pilots had to deal with more than a dozen system errors after the plane's Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine exploded in mid-air, Reuters reported. The plane was flying from Singapore to Sydney, Australia.

"The aircraft would not have arrived safely in Singapore without the focused and effective action of the flight crew," said Martin Dolan, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's chief commissioner.

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The five pilots on board had a combined 72,000 hours of flight experience. It took them 50 minutes to complete the required responses to the safety warnings so that they could get the plane ready for landing.

The pilots had to remove some of the options so that the computer could calculate if the plane would be able to land. When the computer said the plane could do so with 100 meters of runway to spare, pilots decided to go for it.

The plane came to a halt on the runway with 150 meters of concrete left. Its brakes were heated to 900 degrees Celsius and it had four blown tires.

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