Saturday, June 8, 2013

Shocking photo: What object caused this much damage to Air China's Boeing 757?

Damaged nose cone on Air China Boeing 757Here’s an interesting photo that been doing the rounds online, apparently taken after an Air China Boeing 757-200 was involved in a recent incident.

According to The Aviation Herald, the aircraft (registration B-2856) was performing flight CA-4307 from Chengdu to Guangzhou on 4th June 2013, when “a large bang was heard from the nose section of the aircraft and the aircraft performance worsened”.

The Boeing 757 was returned to Chengdu for safety reasons and post flight examinations confirmed that the aircraft collided with a foreign object… but what type of object would cause this much damage?

A bird strike has been ruled out (due to lack of blood, feathers or other remains) and theories about the object have ranged from a chunk of ice to UFOs… some have even suggested Iron Man was responsible.

VIDEO: Impact of severe turbulence filmed on Singapore Airlines flight

In all seriousness, what do you think could have caused this? Leave your comments below and check out more photos from the damaged aircraft on my Facebook page. Remember to like it and stay updated with the latest aviation stories, photos and videos! Click here to visit.

VIDEO: Impact of severe turbulence filmed on Singapore Airlines flight

73 comments :

  1. A chock of ice is the most viable choice... I hope.

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  2. Iron Man? LOL!

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  3. Bennett GraingerJune 8, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Well... its something circular or round that made that imprint. It cant be a square shape that hit it because of the imprint.

    Maybe... I really don't know but something imploded in the nose section... hahaha that's impossible. Very unlikely but a censor area from a weather balloon.

    Maybe parts from an orbiting satellite. The possibilities are endless!!! I'm just going to repost this on my aviation group to tr y and attract more responses!!

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  4. Not so bad as its probably just the Nose cone that's damaged and they are easily replaceable. But if its wiped out the radar system to stis in the nose then it could cost a fare bit to repair.

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  5. From a pilot friend that flies 777's- "notice the nose cone is not the same color. Consider possibly there was swap out for a less rigid cone and it collapsed from ram air".

    China Air dropped a few flap sections on rooftops near ATL recently, so their maintenance isn't in the highest regards.

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    Replies
    1. Don't confuse Air China with China Air.

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  6. Jeroen HartenbergJune 8, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    A bird at high speed...

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  7. Sharath AiyangarJune 8, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Bird hit.

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  8. Something with extremely greater force.

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  9. "Bowing 757 Knows Kone" knock-off picked up at a street market for real cheap.

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  10. surely some identifiable residue? if not... maybe just structurally failed from previous damage, defect.

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  11. It was from a UFO!!! A UFO was encircling the globe looking for places for habitation, when one alien fell ill and had to be ejected from the UFO. This alien hit the nose cone, while he was thrown out and the other aliens exploded him away with their death ray (set on low intensity) so there wont be any evidence!!!!

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  12. A ufo or bird? I think of this as a mystery.

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  13. Well, the only real damage is a ding in the nose cone. Which covers the weather radar and other electronics.

    What the cause was of the damage would be questionable. What altitude was the plane, when it was damaged? Speed? Location over the ground?

    I would say bird strike also. Unless they were well above bird altitudes. A lack of bird 'stuffings,' doesn't completely rule out the possibility.

    A large piece of hail could do that, if they were in proximity to a storm. Even a small meteorite could do that. But UFO's is a good fall back! Maybe the pilot rear ended another plane!

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    1. James, the plane was at 26k feet. That's what is so strange.

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  14. Iron man. That's a good one!

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  15. Iron Man? LMAO?!

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  16. Obviously not from a metallic object, at what FL DID THIS HAPPEN? The most probable is a weather/spy balloon, all plastic to avoid radar detection.

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  17. Crow or Duck sized bird - I think for a goose it´s too small?

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  18. This is a long haul flight deep into Chinese interior, about 774 DME at fl260, what you will find are weather balloons, no need to spy into your own interior, probably NOTAMS on balloon activity were unavailable to the crew, hence the probable collision.

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  19. Good article. Shame about some of the more inane comments on your site, but I guess you don't have any control over those.

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  20. My two cents says it was a delamination of the nose cone (water ingress) over time that finally collapsed. It gets quite soft.

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    1. But they said they heard a loud bang...so something hit the nose radome..

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  21. Robeel, after reading the article and examining what I see I have come to a conclusion to this case. Static discharge, if the aircraft was high enough in the atmosphere say...in the flight levels perhaps in somewhat of a thunderstorm, maybe a static discharge may have taken place in-flight. What I'm saying is a lightening strike "the pressure from the rapidly heated and expanded air had done the damage." :-)

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  22. Decompression inside of the plane,
    Sucked the nose inward.
    What kind of suction in the flight deck could cause this.
    :) LOL

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    1. The space inside the nose cone is not pressurized. What decomp? The front pressure bulkhead is just behind it.

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  23. A meteorite maybe?

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  24. Abdulhameed AlsaghairJune 9, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Hahaaaa, iron man!! One time I had a bird strike on G-1159 ( G-III) @ 18,000 feet and the fuselage was full of blood. The question is how did the bird get to this level??

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    1. Geese can occasionally fly as high as 30,000 feet. Their lungs are quite different from our own.

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  25. This type of failure is attributed to a repair to the cone. Supports on the inside of the cone are improperly or insecurely placed and between the ram air and pressure differentials during flight, the cone will collapse with no external signs of impact at all. I've been told it makes one heck of a bang too! I am an old China airline rep and we saw this a few times. This was confirmed by the airframe rep on site.

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    1. Henning HeinemannJune 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      That makes sense, shoddy workmanship...sigh.

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    2. Dan I am sure you are correct. See my reply a bit further up re delamination.

      The height and position position of the collapse does not encourage close inspection I have seen radomes soft enough to be able to deform.

      The shape of he concavity matches in invert of the original cone.

      All the rest is the usual idle speculation.

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  26. Henning HeinemannJune 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Since bird has been ruled out, most likely an instrument package from a weather balloon. Although if he flew through rain getting down, I wouldn't be so fast to rule out bird strike.

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  27. Silvio Teani Comenho JrJune 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    The plane was crising 26000FT so I belive it wasn't hit by a Crow or Duck, any ideas?

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  28. Rajendra BhaduriJune 9, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Seems like material failure of the nose cone. It has collapsed inwards, it does not look like an impact damage!

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  29. I have seen this sort of damage from a large bird - a goose. It doesn't take much when you're traveling at speed.

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  30. A meteor, maybe?

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  31. Perhaps a piece of metorite/comet or aged parts of falling space pollution. There's a lot of craft up there deterriorating.

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  32. I'd say lighting burned a hole and the air pressure destroyed it by venture effect past the hole. Just a guess...

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  33. Birds are known to migrate at such heights, specially the long distance migrants and many a bird strike happen with no tell tale signs. It could have been a large bird+high TAs at that height. I've seen some which were worse in my days as a fast jet pilot.
    Although I wont discount the theory of the cone radome giving way, in which case it would be a reason for worry not only for the airline (very little schedule maintenance can do), but a greater worry about design defect / deficiency for the OEM. Other operators of the B-757 need to watch out.

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  34. I would be checking the maintenance record on the dome. Could be an improper repair. Impact would have been seen by the crew if it was a daytime incident. I am sure there also would have been collateral damage towards the rear of the aircraft (wings and tail).

    I would like to see the inner structure. Most likely if the core was replaced the replacement core was not spliced correctly, may have not been the correct core, improper laminate, improper placement schedule, lack of adhesive or inadequate curing (lack of pressure or improper temperature/time to cure).

    Seen lots of this in the field. Again without seeing the backside its hard to tell.

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    1. I agree with your explantion. A poor previous repair or an indiscovered previous damage/impact made the material very soft to a point that can not take the air loads sound as a very good and reasonable explation.
      Cheers

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  35. A journalist with a hammer,trying to get some coverage.Or more likely a bird strike (a heron?)

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  36. Alex MartichuskiJune 10, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    I'll go with a chunk of ice.

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  37. I have seen worse - normally due to ice / blue ice or hail.

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  38. Otto Willum NielsenJune 10, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Nose cone is made from composite and very thin it would fracture easy in impacted with a object such as a large bird.

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  39. Hard to tell from that angle but it could be a structural collapse of the Honeycomb structure, especially looking at the symmetrical shape. Impact damage of some sorts would leave some kind of penetration especially at that speed at FL260.

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    1. Heiko I agree. interesting structural failure. yet wouldn't others of this Type have some indication of same? Do you agree that.heat could be involved...dome radiation issue?

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  40. Aboobacker Moidu (Airline,Aviation Consultant)June 11, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    It could be a bird strike or hit on to a snow cloud?

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  41. Looks like a tire tread scrape on the nose. I would say it was hit on the ground by a jet way, belt loader or some other ground service machine and then the crease caused on the ground made the nose cone "folded" in flight.

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  42. Quite possible some hail storm,its worth checking the weather report.

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  43. Sunil Zephaniah KanaparthiJune 12, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    I remember an incident in Indian Airlines when the aircraft was hit by a bird and the wind shield was sheered off. The commander of the flight brought the aircraft to her destination without any further damage. It is only providence. Perhaps this is one such incident.

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  44. Fake or improperly fixed nose cone.

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  45. It looks that it was something really solid...to be honest...no idea. Anyway...IT WAS THERE...........

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  46. Air China said it was a bird strike accident, not an angry little bird but a big fat bird! P.S. I do not believe it.

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  47. That's a slow impact dent. It probably happend on the ground. Nobody wanted to lose face, so they let her fly, and then reported a UFO !

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  48. Genaro Donato C. CodizalJune 13, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    I'm sure nothing did hit this nose radome during flight...Probably it started from small area of outer skin disbonded from honeycomb core & mislooked by a line inspector and became bigger this area of disbond/ delamination of honeycomb sandwich until it collapsed caused by air speed during flight.

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  49. Zafar Ghadialy (Nexus)June 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    It can also be the TOILET BLUE WATER that is pumped out of an aircraft when its toilet sump gets full, the exited water due to altitude get frozen and is without edges.

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  50. Torben Finn LaursenJune 15, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    This is probably a defect in the nose cone. Something similar happened many years ago on a 747 where the pressure cone in the tail of the plane collapsed because of an incorrect repair...

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  51. Sure this is a very interesting issue to follow-up with? Love to hear more about the investigation outcome?

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  52. Any other damage on the "bird"?

    I've seen the results of a plane flying thru hail storm...However the leading edge of the entire and looked like a golf ball....

    So I'm thinking a very brief hail storm...

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  53. Could it be an implode of the nose-cone/radome instead of a mid-air strike?

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  54. Yikes! For the record, I was nowhere near China when this happened...so it's not my fault!!! Regards, The Other Iron Man.

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  55. My guess is that this is indeed some kind of implosion, probably caused by ram-air, in conjunction with a weak area in the nose-section. ( for example corrosion on the stringers/stiffners, cracks in the stringers/stiffners and so on...). The Ram air hitting the nose section has a huge impact, and the impact force has enough power to create a grow of the size of a small crack. In the worst case this can cause a mailfunction of the part (like a stringer or stifner), so the only material left on the nose-section, will be the skin, wich can bend easily by ram-air, if it is not supported by an intact stringer.
    Another thing i was reading in the responds of people: the space behind the cone is not pressurized, wich is true, so impacting (imploding, folding, collapsing, whatever how you prefer to call it), is very easy with an impact force of the ram-air during flight.
    And one thing is sure: an imploded area of this size WILL affect your flight behaviour because of the aerodynamic loss on this area.
    The larger and/or deeper your dent, the worse your flight behaviour will be.

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  56. and no one has suggested santa or rudolf yet ? smh...
    Seriously, it DOES look like an implosion - a weakness that caused it to collapse upon itself.

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  57. How about a weather balloon strike? Otherwise the folks who know about interior strut placement and incorrect maintenance of the cone structure sounds most appropriate.

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  58. It was swamp gas...

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  59. Providing there is no bird potae evidence, and or sharp dents etc.yes as stated above a few times check the maintenance history. My speculation would be DELAMINATION.Although I would not rule out an improperly done repair but repairs to radomes are generally small areas or could even be multiple areas. A repair that shows signs of delamination or improper fiber weave layups IE: improper 90 and or 45 deg fiber weave layup or improperly mixed resin or curing procedures per repair manual. Now lets say there were no repairs to the radome confirmed from aircraft records history. Delamination in this area would be a major factor to consider mixed with aircraft speed. The radome imploded inward to structure that was not delaminated. I would suspect the fiber weave if done properly held the structure from opening up.And yes the implosion would make a noise. Of course there are other factors to consider such as wind speed aircraft speed whether the aircraft experienced any weather while in flight or someone just pencil wipped the regular scheduled maintenance check on the dome or there are no regular maintenance checks scheduled into the maintenance program for the radome or the interval for the checks on the radome are insuffcient to save money. Quality dept will be busy thats for certain

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  60. Either improper maintenance,inspection or a bad previous repair. I am a jet mechanic with over twenty seven years experience. I have seen this type of damage before. I believe that, the honeycomb structure of the airplanes radome failed, due to a bad previous repair, or moisture intrusion into the honeycomb structure, which was undetected for some time and caused the eventual failure at altitude and speed.I would not rule out ground equipment or ground damage, that was undetected or reported and caused the eventual failure as well. Without actually seeing or looking at the aircraft, that is my best determination as to why the radome failed.

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  61. I am not great with flying and this really doesn't help!!

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  62. You don't need to hit anything to cause this. That nose cone has tens of thousands of pounds of force on it in flight just from the airflow. If the supporting structure partially collapses, this would be the result.

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