A wide-body jet flying from Italy to the United States stayed in the air for only 90 minutes before returning to the departure airport, including some tennis-sized hail that hit its cockpit, nose cone and wings.
Emirates did not report any injuries during its flight on July 13, but photos taken on the ground showed that the cockpit windows were broken, the nose was punched, and the fuselage was full of holes. Some influences support the conclusion that hail is at least 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
According to the Milan airport authorities, the pilots reported encountering hail at 15,000 feet above the Italian and Swiss Alps. According to reports, severe thunderstorms occurred throughout Northern Europe at that time. “About 97 minutes after takeoff [the plane] Return to Malpensa,” the agency said.
The Emirates flight will be a transatlantic journey, which means that the aircraft has a full tank of fuel. If hail damages the flaps or landing gear, standard practice is to burn most of the extra fuel in a wait mode to limit the possibility of an explosive landing.
Airport officials said that strong winds continue to cause problems for flights, making it difficult for the aircraft to land and it takes two attempts to land safely.
The next day, the passengers were transferred to a different flight.
After a long pause in the pandemic, Emirates restarted flights to New York in June, and flights to the United States every day in July.
Due to gravity, the hail on the ground is like a downpour, just like rain. But in the sky, hail can erupt in multiple directions at the same time-high-speed impact can be as dangerous as other solid projectiles.
The cockpit windshield of Boeing and Airbus aircraft consists of two layers, which means that if the inner windshield remains intact, the pilot can fly the plane with cracks in the outer panel. But according to the Flight Safety Foundation, it still causes visibility problems.
The storm may also damage the aircraft’s radome, which protects the radar equipment that is usually located under the nose cone. The foundation stated that although a damaged radar antenna will present a challenge to pilots, it is not inherently dangerous.
If hail enters the aircraft’s engine during flight, it may bend or damage the compressor blades. But jet engines are built to withstand high-speed impacts from larger objects, including live birds.
This story is provided by Newsweek Zenger News.