In the Air Crash Investigation episode, “Titanic In The Sky”, a Quantas Airbus A380 suffers an uncontained engine failure which partially cripples the plane. In the investigation part of the episode, an “ATSB Investigator” says that:

[…] the fragments [from the rupture of the fanblade] are released with an infinite energy, which means that there's nothing that can stop the engine pieces¹.

Did he forget to add virtually, or is the ATSB just not very accurate when they talk about these incidents on TV? Or is this terminology actually used in aviation contexts?

If you accelerate an engine blade to have infinite energy, hydraulic failures would be the least of your worries².

It should be noted that I cannot find unlimited or infinite in the preliminary ATSB report.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I believe that was either a paraphrase of the report for dramatic effect, or a quote from an unofficial source, rather than the actual report. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Aug 21, 2016 at 19:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Us Aussies are prone to exaggeration ;) $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Aug 21, 2016 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


You are correct in that this is not a quote of the report -- the final report does not use that phraseology either. What the investigator means is that the energy is effectively infinite, as it is impossible to stop something with that much kinetic energy within the mass budget of an airplane engine cowling.


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