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A useful little quirk about the 747 is that it can ferry a fifth engine on the wing, for when another aircraft is stranded somewhere in the world.

enter image description here Does the A380 have the same capability? If not, how would an airline manage an aircraft needing a new engine whilst away from a maintenance base?

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Two documents mention ferrying (on 3 engines: 3EFF): type certificate and Operational Suitability Data (OSD) for the Airbus A380 Family - A380-800, so I guess it's allowed. No info on ferrying with 4 engines. – mins Jan 6 at 7:04
@mins, ferrying an airplane with one engine inoperative and ferrying a fifth engine on an airplane are two rather different things (and ferrying might not be the appropriate search term for the later). – Jan Hudec Jan 6 at 9:04
To be more specific about the special conditions that apply when ferrying an engine on the A380, see requirements "G-06 SC: Ferrying one engine unserviceable" page 297 of Explanatory Note to TCDS EASA.A.110–Airbus 380. Those conditions were the base for delivering the type certificate. – mins Jan 6 at 18:34
I just saw in the news that a Quatas B747 with Registration VH-OHS just did an engine ferry for another 747 today. qantasnewsroom.com.au/roo-tales/… – SMS von der Tann Jan 6 at 21:56
up vote 37 down vote accepted

One of the main reasons the 747 was given the ability to ferry an engine was due to the lack of large cargo aircraft available at the time.

Don't forget the 747 was a major game changer when it came out, it was designed to replace the 707/DC-8, and was almost twice the size of these aircraft. As a result, there just wasn't anything available to transport a 747 engine by air if needed.

This was a major problem that had the potential to affect sales of the aircraft, and so they had to find a solution to this. It wasn't until the 747 began to be introduced as a cargo carrier that it was possible to transport these engines by air, in the hold of an aircraft.

With the introduction of the A380, there was no need to add engine ferry capabilities, as large cargo aircraft were common enough to transport them.

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Manager: We need the ability to move engines not in use. Engineer: How do we carry the engines that are in use? Manager: On the wing. Engineer: put it on the wing then. Manager: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – corsiKa Jan 6 at 16:45

The A380 does not appear to have the capability to transport an extra engine under the wing. Higher engine reliability combined with widespread availability of air cargo transport makes this option redundant in modern jets.

In case engines are needed for an A380, they can be transported in a 747-400 Freighter* or the aircraft can be flown with three engines.

*Trent 900 can be transported in a 747-400F without disassembling. For Engine Alliance GP7000, you'll need an An-124.

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I'd disagree with the "The aircraft can be flown with three engines" which suggests the flight would be conducted with a failed engine. That wouldn't happen: your source describes an engine failure in flight, which is a very different scenario to your suggestion that it would take off with an inoperative engine. – Jon Story Jan 6 at 14:39
@JonStory A380 can takeoff with three engines- see mins comment above in the question. – aeroalias Jan 6 at 15:01
It's physically possible, sure, and I didn't disagree with that.... but it's not acceptable procedure. It can take off on 3 engines if one fails after V1. That doesn't mean an A380 would ever deliberately take off on 3 engines in normal use. The pilot who did that, wouldn't be a pilot for very long. The A380 is designed to take off with one engine out for safety reasons if the engine fails during takeoff: but if you try to take off on 3 engines, you no longer have that safety margin if another engine fails. An A380 would never attempt a takeoff knowing one engine was inoperative. – Jon Story Jan 6 at 15:18
@JonStory I'm not sure about the A380, but I do seem to recall Terry stating that there were approved procedures on the 747 for repositioning flights with one engine inop. I would assume that said procedures involved an empty aircraft with much lower than normal takeoff weights. Remember that the normal single engine failure on takeoff requirements are assuming MTOW. – reirab Jan 6 at 17:37
@JonStory Oh, yeah, agreed on that. Sorry, I missed the "normal use" part there. I assumed that the answer was referring to flying the aircraft on three engines on a non-rev ferry flight for the purposes of getting the 4th engine replaced. – reirab Jan 6 at 17:41

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