Thursday, May 08, 2008

American Airlines Jet Loses Fuselage Panel, Continues from Dallas to Paris

Another airliner lost a chunk off its fuselage, this one an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Paris on April 20, it was learned today.

Shortly after the 767 took off from DFW, there was a loud noise that sounded like an explosion in the belly of the plane, a flight attendant said in an e-mail obtained by WFAA TV in Dallas, which broke the story.

Despite the first jolt and a subsequent one, the pilot continued on to Paris, nine hours away. American Airlines said the pilot acted properly. Some safety experts disagree, as you can see in the WFAA report. (Ignore the description of the 767 as a "jumbo jet," of course. It's just an older widebody.)

When the plane landed in Paris, a 2-by-3 foot panel was found to be missing from its belly.

This is the second time in six weeks that an airliner has been reported to have lost a piece of its fuselage in flight. See my post on March 28 about a US Airways 757 that lost a 5-by-7 foot panel that flew off the left wing and slammed into the fuselage at 27,000 feet, cracking an outer window, before landing safely (though with what the FAA later called significant damage), in Philadelphia.


1 comment:

SWComposites said...

Oh cripes - "airline analyst, Denny Kelly" has no idea what he is talking about. The panel is a underwing fairing panel that carries no significant load, is not part of the pressure hull of the fuselage, and its loss causes no safety risk. No, it should not fail and fal off, but its not a big deal. The pilots made the correct decisions. The media should stop asking uninformed fools for opinions.

Aircraft Structures Engineer
(no - I don't work for an airline, but I do fly alot)