Friday, June 28, 2013

PHOTO: Passengers disembarked after HOLE noticed in American Airlines Boeing 777 wing

There are numerous ways an airplane can be impacted by bird strikes and airlines won’t always notice the damage straight away.

Earlier this week, for example, American Airlines was forced to delay a Frankfurt-bound flight at the last minute after a hole was noticed in the right hand wing of a Boeing 777-200.

The incident was reported by The Aviation Herald and I’ve included a passenger's photo of the damaged aircraft on this page – check out the leading edge of the right hand wing. The bird strike occurred on a previous flight.

Passengers had already boarded the airplane when the hole was noticed, but luckily the damage was spotted before the flight departed from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the United States.

American Airlines was fast to react, arranging a replacement Boeing 777, with passengers delayed by 2 hours and 45 minutes in total. The damaged plane, meanwhile, was grounded for around 30 hours while it was fixed.

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29 comments :

  1. Walkarounds, you're doing it wrong.

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    1. So what's the worry? The damage was detected before the flight, as it should be.

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    2. The worry is it should have been spotted a lot earlier on the Walk Around Check. Trouble is these day with EASA's new regulations no engineers attend an aircraft until something goes wrong. It's called Maintenance On demand or MOD. Thus removing yet another level of safety to enable airlines to employ cheap inexperienced labour. They furnish these inexperienced labour with 'A' licenses so that they can sign for maintenance that used to be done by highly trained and experienced engineers. Missing this type of damage only comes to the attention of the public because it is so visible. Imagine the stuff you can't see that gets missed. Good luck on your next flight. I'll take the train!

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  2. Sharath AiyangarJune 28, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    This might have happened due metal fatigue. Takeoff, landing and cruise level puts lots of stress. Maximum life of aircraft is 20 years, if I am not right correct me?

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    1. You are not correct. Planes last way longer than 20 years when properly maintained, and I can't see how that would be metal fatigue.

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    2. Maximum life of an aircraft is 20 years? LOL

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    3. Bird Strike hole is not fatigue fracture.

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    4. Shaune Michael BadenhorstJune 29, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      Aircraft life has nothing to do with years, it has to do with hours and cycles. There are life extension programs on aircraft that allow them to fly far longer. B747's have gone 30 years plus in passenger service. If you go unpressurized aircraft, there are some still flying built in the first world war. Example, Tigermoths.

      The engineer and pilot missed this on the walk around, I can understand why, but how he missed it while it was taxing in is strange, simply because of the viewing angle. This is really a minor problem, easily repaired or deferred.

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    5. Deferred ? I don't think so

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    6. Quality walkarounds matter. Also to add, the age of aircraft has no relation to safety if maintenance and flying is done as per procedures.

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    7. Some of Delta's DC-9's are approaching 40 years old. Most of them have over 100,00 cycles. it's all about maintenance and inspections on aging airframes.

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  3. I guess the post flight checklist didn't call for a walk-around - didn't notice who caught the error, but glad they did.

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    1. I can easily see how the flight crew missed this. Notice it's on the upper side of the leading edge. Hard to see from the ground. Also, leading edges are difficult to see from the cockpit. This doesn't look real serious, but it needs to be tended to immediately. Which AAL is doing.

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  4. I can hear the maintenance chief now on the phone to the boss: "Nothing to worry about, that'll buff right out."

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  5. Gilberto KrieserJune 29, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Thank you for share this news.

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  6. It seems that today's aircraft are made of lighter material, so a slight hit by an obstacle creates a very noticeable damage. Same with modern cars!

    Also same happened to the nose of one of Chinese airlines. I don't believe this was a birdstrike, more like being hit whilst being towed to the stand or similar.

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  7. This goes to show how critical a walk-around is!

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  8. "easily repaired or deferred" repaired yes deferred...don't think so

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  9. I don't think that this damage is deferrable, especially because it is on the leading edge....therefore too much turbulence and even further damage. I don't think that it can be missed on a walk-around inspection either....the damage can easily be seen if you are standing at the nose gear and the FO could also see it from the cockpit.....a clear miss...

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  10. Great at least some body saw it.

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  11. Who did the WAC? Pretty slack. Or is it operating under Maintenance On Demand(MOD). EASA sucks!

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  12. walk around check only see below of aircraft...a directive must isssued to see how to perform check in whole aircraft...technology should see closer from distance to surfaces and skin distorsion, leaks, stress failure, etc. from Jose Alvarado

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  13. Thomas SandersonJuly 1, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Not luck that it was noticed...that's what pre-flight walks are for. Had they taken off this way there would have been no threat to continued safe flight and landing but I probably would have been really loud and resulted in a turnback.

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  14. This is a perfect example of the importance of pre, thru, and post flight inspections. Had the inbound flight crew performed a proper walk around, prior to leaving the aircraft, the passengers would not have been affected, the airline could have recovered the flight earlier as well.

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  15. At least American Airlines is a responsible company and stopped the flight to prevent a disaster. I heard of companies that let the flight go regardless.

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  16. Oh my gosh, what the hell were the engineers doing, why didn't they notice this before?

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  17. Shit, i'll be flying AA 777 next month, gotta keep an eye on the wings!

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