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Plane wars: Qantas 747 engine blows Virgin pilot away… seriously

The global financial crisis has hit airlines hard, but the biffo between carriers just got nasty. Last week at Brisbane International Airport on the east coast of Australia, a Virgin Australia pilot was literally blown away by the thrust of a Qantas Boeing 747-400.

The victim was doing pre-flight checks on a Pacific Blue Boeing 737 about to head to Bali (a subsidiary of Virgin Australia) when the Qantas 747 (QF8 flying to Sydney from Dallas-Forth Worth via Brisbane) passed by at close range while taxiing. An unfortunately timed burst of thrust sent the Virgin pilot flying off the aluminum stairs he was standing on and crashing to the ground. He suffered a fractured arm and leg. Shock bloody horror, both airlines were quick to point fingers.

“Our plane was in the right place at the right time,” a Virgin spokeswoman said. “The one dynamic which was different was the thrust level of the Qantas plane, which caused the stairs to blow over.”

Qantas, in the meantime, has denied wrong doing in a boring statement jammed somewhere in between cursing their employee unions and defending the transition of jobs to Asia.

In related trivia news, the QF7/8 service (SYD-DFW-BNE-SYD) includes the longest non-stop 747 sector in the world in the Sydney to Dallas-Fort Worth section. It takes over 15 hours if the modified 747-400ER makes it there without having to land somewhere in between to fill-up, which it often does. The stop in Brisbane on the way back is because the plane can’t make the return leg without running dry.

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