Qantas Flight 74 (QF74, QFA74) was a regularly scheduled passenger flight between San Francisco, California, USA (SFO/KSFO) and Sydney, Australia ( (SYD/YSSY). On August 30, 2010, the flight, operated by a Boeing 747-400, suffered an engine malfunction at 10,000 feet (FL300). QF74 dumped fuel and returned to San Francisco International Airport for an uneventful landing. None of the 212 people on board were injured.<ref name="theage-atc-recording"/>
Approximately 20 minutes after take-off, QF74 was climbing through 30,000 feet (FL300). The #4 engine (right outboard) had an unknown malfunction which caused a hole to be ripped in the engine's external casing, or cowling on the outboard side. If containment failure had occurred on the other side there may have been damage to the other right side engine or to the main fuselage.
After the incident, the pilots made a decision to return to San Francisco International. Strangely the crew decided not to declare an emergency (pan-pan) until after they had dumped fuel.<ref name="aviationanswers"/> The landing was accomplished on Runway 28R at SFO at approximately 00:00 PST (08:00 UTC). There were 212 passengers and 19 crew on board, and none were injured.<ref name="australian-report"/>
The incident is being investigated by the US National Transportation Safety Board, and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority had also been informed.
Safety bulletins had been issued in the US, EU, and Australia two weeks prior for the engine type, Rolls-Royce RB211, fitted to this aircraft. Qantas has confirmed that the engine had not been inspected since the bulletin was issued as it was not due for its regular service.<ref name="smh-safety-bulletin"/>