Qantas A380 and other heavies pounding the pavements at Sydney: Source Qantas

There is an interesting account in the Aviation Herald  of damage being noticed on a Sydney Airport runway on Wednesday after a Qantas A380 took off for Los Angeles.

The narrative in the report is brief:

By Simon Hradecky, created Wednesday, Sep 11th 2013 19:07Z, last updated Wednesday, Sep 11th 2013 19:10ZA

Qantas Airbus A380-800, registration VH-OQH performing flight QF-11 from Sydney,NS (Australia) to Los Angeles,CA (USA), had just gotten airborne after takeoff from Sydney’s runway 34L in gusting cross wind conditions when the crew of another aircraft advised tower that there appeared to be foreign objects on the runway, a second crew advised the taxiway signs had just been blown over when the Qantas A380 went past. An aircraft on approach was instructed to go around, runway 34L was closed. A crew reported it appeared as if something had exploded on the runway at the left hand side of the runway between taxiways A5 and L, just south of L when the Airbus A380 went past. A runway inspection was dispatched and reported the pavement of the runway had failed. Sydney tower subsequently advised all aircraft that runway 34L was unavailable for at least one hour, a number of departures requiring runway 34L returned to the apron, all other traffic was switched to runways 34R and 25.

VH-OQH continued to Los Angeles for a safe landing.

The airport returned to normal operation with both main runways 34L and 34R available about 5 hours later.

Sydney Airport was quick to fix the damage, and it is fair to say the passage of the big jet may have been a case of pushing cumulative damage to breaking point, since the wheel loadings of the A380 are less per wheel than some smaller and sometimes faster moving jets during takeoff rolls, and the peak stress on runways is delivered through the wheels of landing aircraft.

A note about the Aviation Herald. It always has more detail about Australian incidents and sooner than they are reported on the ATSB web site. It almost always has more photos where relevant, and more topographical maps, and …. more everything.

No-one knows how Hradecky does this and he isn’t telling.  But we are grateful and appreciative.

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