Australian Qantas A380 gets rare ‘jolt’ from wake turbulence

The turbulance is caused by another aircraft (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 June 2018
0

Australian Qantas A380 gets rare ‘jolt’ from wake turbulence

  • Wake turbulence is a disturbance in the atmosphere that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air
  • Qantas said it has notified the Australian Transport Safety Bureau of the incident

Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. said on Thursday one of its Airbus SE A380 jets had experienced a rare “jolt” from wake turbulence after flying 20 nautical miles behind another one of its super-jumbos this week.
Wake turbulence is a disturbance in the atmosphere that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air, and air traffic control requires more spacing behind larger jets like the A380 in an attempt to avoid the phenomenon.
Wake turbulence incidents are uncommon and typically involve a larger jet and a smaller aircraft rather than two super-jumbos.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which handled air traffic control during the Qantas incident, does not specify a minimum distance of separation between two A380s during flight due to wake turbulence risks.
It specifies that Boeing 747s require 4.5 nautical miles of separation and smaller jets up to 8 nautical miles.
No passengers were injured and there was no aircraft damage from the incident which involved an A380 flying from Los Angeles to Melbourne behind another Qantas A380 flying from Los Angeles to Sydney, a Qantas spokesman said.
“The trailing airplane, the Qantas 94 encountered some wake turbulence from the Qantas 12, and that caused a jolt to the airplane for a short period of time,” Qantas Chief Technical Pilot Alex Passerini told a Sydney radio station.
“The airplane climbed maybe 100 feet or so and descended back to its cruising altitude, and the captain took action to avoid the further exposure to the wake vortex.”
Australian television presenter Eddie McGuire, who was on board the flight, said the incident had lasted about 10 seconds.
“It did have that feel of, you know when you go over the top of a rollercoaster and you just get a little bit of a feeling, and the plane did bank to port, to the left-hand side, a little bit,” he said on Channel 9.
“But it steadied up after about 10 seconds, and I have to say that what the most reassuring part of the situation was that the Qantas pilot came on immediately and said we’d gone in to the back of the turbulence of the Sydney plane.”
Qantas said it has notified the Australian Transport Safety Bureau of the incident.
An Airbus spokesman said Qantas had reported the incident to the manufacturer. “The situation was handled fully in accordance with procedures and the aircraft performed as designed,” he said.
In January 2017, wake turbulence behind an Emirates A380 sent a business jet into an uncontrolled descent, with the smaller airplane losing nearly 9,000 feet of altitude before the crew was able to gain control, according to an interim report by German investigators.


Judge may acquit women or call defense in Kim Jong Nam trial

This combination of the Oct. 2, 2017 file photos shows Indonesian Siti Aisyah, left, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, right, escorted by police as they leave a court hearing in Shah Alam, Malaysia, outside Kuala Lumpur. (AP)
Updated 1 min 56 sec ago
0

Judge may acquit women or call defense in Kim Jong Nam trial

  • Evidence has shown the women’s conduct before and after the killing was inconsistent with that of assassins
  • The women had “used their bodily power” to deliberately target the poison on his eyes and face for faster penetration

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Two Southeast Asian women on trial in Malaysia for the brazen assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother could be acquitted Thursday or called to enter their defense in a case that has gripped the world.
Indonesia’s Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnam’s Doan Thi Huong, 29, are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in a crowded airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13, 2017. The women have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a hidden-camera show.
They are the only two suspects in custody and face the death penalty if convicted. If the defense is called, the trial could take several more months.
If the women are acquitted, they may not be freed right away as prosecutors could still appeal the decision as well as push forward with separate charges for overstaying their visas.

Here’s a look at arguments that were raised during the trial:
THE PROSECUTION
Over the course of the six-month trial featuring testimony from 34 people, prosecutors laid out a bizarre murder plot they likened to something from a James Bond film.
They accused four North Koreans, suspected government agents with code names such as “Mr. Y” and “Grandpa” and later identified by police, of being the masterminds who recruited the women, trained them and provided them with VX. All four fled the country the same morning Kim was killed and none are in custody.
Airport security footage shown in court captured the moment of the attack and prosecutors said linked the women to the other suspects. Shortly after Kim arrived at the airport, Huong was seen approaching him, clasping her hands on his face from behind and then fleeing. Another blurred figure was also seen running away from Kim and a police investigator testified that it was Aisyah.
Investigators said the women were seen rushing to separate washrooms, each with their hands outstretched, before they fled the airport. Kim died within two hours of the attack.
A government chemist testified that the VX concentration found on Kim’s skin was 1.4 times greater than the lethal dosage. He said VX was found in Kim’s eyes, face, blood, urine and clothing, as well as on both women’s clothes and on Huong’s fingernail clippings.
In his closing arguments in June, prosecutor Wah Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the women must have been trained to use VX, a rare nerve agent developed as a chemical weapon. He said they had to know the best route for VX to enter the victim’s body and know that they must wash the nerve agent off themselves within 15 minutes to avoid being contaminated.
With Kim a tall and heavy man, the prosecutor said the women had “used their bodily power” to deliberately target the poison on his eyes and face for faster penetration. Despite their claim about a prank, he said their facial expressions and conduct during the attack didn’t reflect any humor.
“We expect that the defense will be called for a simple reason: They need to explain why VX was found on them,” Wan Shaharuddin told The Associated Press.

THE DEFENSE
Lawyers for the two women say their clients were simply pawns in a politically motivated killing with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
They say the prosecution’s case was too simplistic, handicapped by a sloppy investigation and failed to show any intention on the part of their clients to kill — key to establishing the women’s guilt.
The defense said evidence has shown the women’s conduct before and after the killing was inconsistent with that of assassins, pointing out that they didn’t wear gloves when applying VX, didn’t dispose of their tainted clothing and didn’t flee the country.
The real culprits, the defense argues, are the four North Korean suspects. The four were captured by airport security cameras discarding their belongings and changing their clothing after the attack.
The North Korean Embassy has also been implicated with an embassy official helping get flights out for the four men and using the name of one of its citizens to buy a car that was used to take the suspects to the airport.
Nevertheless, Pyongyang has denied accusations by South Korean and US officials that it was behind the killing. Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don’t want the trial politicized.
“The prosecution’s evidence is purely circumstantial,” Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said, noting that there was no proof that his client applied VX on Kim. He said his client’s DNA was not found on a shirt recovered by police.
Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said they have given prosecution “a good fight.”
“We are confident that justice will be served on Thursday and (Huong) will be acquitted,” he said.