Cuban ATR-72 crash kills 68.

ATR-72 belonging to Air Dolomiti

(Picture insert shows an ATR-72 belonging to Air Dolomiti similar to the AeroCaribean flight 883 that crashed Thursday evening in Cuba killing all 68 on board)

Difficult times for general aviation. An ATR-72 belonging to AeroCaribean crashed late Thursday in Cuba killing all 68 passengers on board.AP reported that flight  883 is a twice weekly Port-au-Prince (Haiti)-Santiago-de-Cuba-Havana that had left Santiago-de-Cuba and was expected in Havana at 7:50 pm. The report indicates that the pilot’s last radio contact at 5:42 pm was declaring an emergency but no subsequent message was issued by the crew. the plane did crash  in a rural area 350 kilometers east of Havana and Cuban Civil Aviation officially confirmed the tragic death of 7 crew and 61 passengers including 28 foreigners.

The ATR-72 is built by the Franco-Italian plane manufacturer Avion de Transport Regional. The ATR-72 is a twin-turboprop regional short haul airliner with an existing cargo variant.The passenger version carries up to 78 passengers, but the -72 is derived from the similar looking shorter ATR-42 which can carry up to 50 passengers.AeroCaribean operated 5 ATR-72s, out of a total production list of around 950 delivered (including -42).

This is the deadliest crash involving an ATR-72 since the  crash of an American Eagle Airlines ATR-72 in Roselawn, Indiana on October 31st,1994.It is believed that the American Eagle Airlines plane became uncontrollable after ice built-up on the wings and crashed in a field also killing all 68 on board.

Qantas Airbus 380 in-flight emergency.

A Sydney bound Airbus 380 flight QF32 originating in London was forced to return to Singapore  Changi International Airport after experiencing troubles with engine number 2 just 15 minutes after having taken off from Changi International Airport. The brand new Airbus 380   delivered on  and carrying 433 passengers and 26 crew started to experience what passengers described as a sort of explosion emanating from under the left wing. Early reports have indicated that the aircraft had lost an engine cover. In facts residents of the Indonesian island of Batam whom the aircraft had overflown were gathering several pieces of debris lost from the aircraft showing Qantas logo. In preparation to the emergency landing at Changi international, it took up to two hours for the crew to complete the dumping of fuel procedure. The aircraft landed safely at Changi, however damages were visible on the aft of the number 2 engine’s nacelle. Darkened parts of the underbelly nearby also indicated some type of a fire.

The incident was taken very seriously by Qantas management. The airline immediately ordered the grounding of the entire A380 fleet ( 6 aircraft) pending full incident report regarding QF32. Other A380 operators ; Air France and Lufthansa announced that they would conduct A380 flights as planned. The world largest has had somewhat of difficult entry into service after the program ran into delays. To date 37 aircraft have been delivered and flying with 5 airlines from a total order book of 234. Although minor incidents have sporadically surface in the press since 2007, the giant aircraft had steadily began to influence air travel particularly on the high density kangaroo  routes where a fierce competition is raging with Singapore Airlines and its 11-strong A380 fleet.