After a freight trip from Melbourne to Los Angeles with four of its static ports taped over, Qantas was forced to alter its systems for parking and preparing its 787 Dreamliner fleet for flights.
The presence of the tape was missed during pre-flight inspections in Melbourne by both engineers and pilots, according to the final report collected by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and was later picked up after reaching at its destination.
The plane, VH-ZNJ, landed in Los Angeles on September 22, 2021, with all four static ports on the plane’s engine fan cowls still sealed in red “remove before flight” tape, according to a Qantas engineer.
Static ports, which can be located on the 787’s fuselage, vertical fin, and engine cowls, measure ambient air pressure and provide critical air pressure information to aircraft systems.
With the static ports taped over, the aircraft departed with “reduced redundancy to the engine electronic control system”, however, the flight was ultimately uneventful and there was “no adverse effect to aircraft or its engine systems”, the report stated.
The flight’s second officer, who completed an exterior check of VH-ZNJ before the flight, claimed that they were aware of the fan cowl ports, but not that they could be covered by tape, according to ATSB director transport safety Stuart Macleod.