Changes to patch up the wing rib cracks in Airbus A380s already in service will begin in the first quarter of 2013. For in-production aircraft scheduled to be delivered from 2014, the composite material at the root of the problem will no longer be used.
The cracks resulted from a carbon fibre-aluminium material known as 7449. This material, used in the construction of A380 wing rib feet, was chosen because it is lightweight and strong. But now it is now known that it becomes brittle during the production process.
Airbus says that a demonstrator aircraft with the new modifications will start flights in the third quarter of 2012, while airlines will be able to get their A380s retrofitted from early 2013.
[image courtesy Airbus]