Don’t Fly Your Airbus Into A Hailstorm

Megalith

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To clarify, the pilot wasn’t insane; he actually got caught in a rapidly developing storm as he attempted to avoid another. I guess this guy is a hero for managing to land a plane with a ruined windshield.

This was the second Delta aircraft to be seriously damaged in flight by hail in the past few months. In May, a Delta flight from Detroit to Seoul was denied permission from Chinese air traffic controllers to change course around a thunderstorm, and incurred major damage from large hail. That plane, a Boeing 747, also had its nosecone dented. The 747 was subsequently written off and sold for spare parts.
 

Lith1um

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Pretty wild how hail could beat in the nose cone / radome, conical structures are fairly strong typically. I guess a thousand 650 mph hail balls would slowly work the surface like a thousand ball peen hammer blows.
 

Betaboy1983

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Indeed! The engines as well. A loose nut gets sucked into an engine and it's wrecked. The engine heat would help with hail, but still. I can see some serious dings!
 

Spidey329

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Pretty wild how hail could beat in the nose cone / radome, conical structures are fairly strong typically. I guess a thousand 650 mph hail balls would slowly work the surface like a thousand ball peen hammer blows.

The fact they wrote off a 747 for nose cone damage I find fascinating.
 
D

Deleted member 108676

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Indeed! The engines as well. A loose nut gets sucked into an engine and it's wrecked. The engine heat would help with hail, but still. I can see some serious dings!

Lol wut?

Again, another aircraft thread where suddenly everyone is an expert!

My credentials: F15 crew chief for 9 years...but I want to see what you all have to say!!!
 
D

Deleted member 108676

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Lol wut?

Again, another aircraft thread where suddenly everyone is an expert!

My credentials: F15 crew chief for 9 years...but I want to see what you all have to say!!!

This is mostly directed to your engine heat comment.
 

Mohonri

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This is mostly directed to your engine heat comment.

Now you've got me curious--how *does* an engine deal with hail? Are the compressor/stator blades simply strong enough to grind them up?
 

Jim Kim

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Now you've got me curious--how *does* an engine deal with hail? Are the compressor/stator blades simply strong enough to grind them up?

The way the Wright brother explained it to me is that it's very similar to making snow cones. Hail goes in and melted steamy slushy goes out. They also used the whole oat groat analogy, first blade cuts the groat in 2 or 3 pieces making stone cut oats, the next blade ...:D
 

Betaboy1983

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Lol wut?

Again, another aircraft thread where suddenly everyone is an expert!

My credentials: F15 crew chief for 9 years...but I want to see what you all have to say!!!

Never said I was an expert. Next time I feel I am, I will add that the beginning of my post. Oddly enough, a buddy of mine is a an AF Crew Chief for F15's too. What's your opinion on bolts getting sucked into an engine? I take it from your lack of attacking retort, you can at least agree with me on that. I never talked to him about hail before so I don't know, that why I was making a presumption. What is your expert opinion then, since you had nothing to add to what I had said?

When I get hail at my house, hail melts very rapidly on a small pool of water collected in my sidewalk. I only thought that a jet engine would have enough heat so that it might melt/warm the ice to be at least a soft enough to not damage any parts to cause an engine failure, but thousands of pieces of hail moving at that speed, I can still see there being some damage.

That is my personal; not a jet engine expert clarification of ignorance.

Better?
 

Sly

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Saw this reference on a previous incident

In May, a Delta flight from Detroit to Seoul was denied permission from Chinese air traffic controllers to change course around a thunderstorm, and incurred major damage from large hail.

Say what??? Bad luck is one thing, intentionally flying a plane through that should count as homicidal.
 

Betaboy1983

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The way the Wright brother explained it to me is that it's very similar to making snow cones. Hail goes in and melted steamy slushy goes out. They also used the whole oat groat analogy, first blade cuts the groat in 2 or 3 pieces making stone cut oats, the next blade ...:D

Shoot, this would have saved me a lot of trouble with OEM!
 

swimming pool

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It kinda looks like there is a giant hailstone stuck in the nose?

I saw that the pilots used the planes autolanding feature to land the plane.
 

Formula.350

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I agree with OEM, and I'm NOT an expert, just someone whose dad worked as a Northwest Airlines 'Ramp Rat' for 30 years and so have at least flown twice a year.

Anyways first things to come to mind:
- No, they do NOT travel at 650MPH! The A320 has a cruising speed (at operating elevation) of 511MPH, a far far cry from 650 :p Nevertheless, the ballpeen hammer analogy is, IMO, still sound.

- Turbofan engines are almost no longer at risk of being brought down by birds being sucked through them. Their composite blades are not only strong, but incredibly flexible. Don't quote me on this, but I believe they now can handle an adult sized goose and not suffer engine failure.

- Regarding Heat? I suck at math, but we'll still do a math-like equation. The plane is traveling at 500+ MPH, meaning you'd be experiencing wind speeds of no less than 450MPH (assuming one helluva tail wind). You're flying at 35,000-37,000 feet in the air, which is 6.6 to 7 miles high, providing for a crisp (roughly) -45F air temp. (In addition to that you have windchill, but since I don't know if that factors in here I'll leave it out.) That leaves us with traveling REALLY fast in REALLY cold temps, and if your love for computers tells you anything, it's that any heat the engines are producing isn't going to radiate anywhere because all the metal surfaces are cold as hell and you have an insane amount of air traveling by is going to prevent it from extending in front of the engine. (Also something to consider: The fuel is stored in each wing of the plane, and if the engines were producing enough heat to melt ice in front of the engine, that'd pose a sizable risk to the fuel stored a few feet from it)
TL;DR - There isn't any heat to melt the hail.

- Low (well, "no") visibility windscreen's impact on landing: minimal to nil. Why? They do have 2 angled windows they can still see out of, if needed, but that's more an 'aside' if anything. Main reason is because of all the fancy avionics planes come packed with these days! Realistically, these things can pretty much fly themselves, capable of holding a course on their own, probably taking off on their own, but definitely landing on their and in harsh weather conditions as well (such as a white-out snow condition where a windscreen wouldn't serve much purpose anyway lol)


That all being said, personally I enjoy turbulence, it makes a flight far less dull! Then again, I like fast cars and roller-coasters. If the little bit of turbulence you experience in a full-size airliner disturbs you, I suggest NEVER booking a flight on a small Turboprop plane like these DeHavilland "Dash-8", they'll make you wish your seat was equipped with a 5-point harness ;)
 

Formula.350

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Wee, guess that took me an hour to post!

To follow-up, since Betaboy posted...
It might be fair to clarify that there are a few types of engine styles used in modern aviation: Propeller powered by some form of piston-driven engine (sorta like your car), Propeller powered by a turbine-jet engine (aka Turbo-Prop), a giant "Fan" powered by a turbine-jet (aka Turbofan), and Jet.

Piston-Propeller: Piston compresses fuel, fuel gets ignited (generally by a spark), power is generated which turns the propeller, which pushes air back causing you to go forward.

Jet engine: Multiple stages of multi-fin turbines are packed into a housing, sucking in air, compressing it, adding fuel, which as a result of the compression and heat combusts, which turns exhaust turbines to power those front turbines which repeat the process. The thrust comes in the form of the funneled, high speed exhaust gasses

TurboFan: All of the above occurs but on a scale configured for a different end result, where on the front of the engine is a giant scaled up turbine (the "fan"), but instead of being inside the Jet housing, a good bit is pushing air through and out of the engine ducting, which produces the thrust.

TurboProp: Same principal except instead of a giant turbine "fan" you have a conventional propeller.


Bonus Fun Facts: Helicopters and even the Abrahms Tanks use a jet to generate power. Jaguar also toyed with a concept similar, but the jet was something small, like a Harier Jump-jet front-lift engine, and hooked up to a generator which created electricity to drive electric motors... That's right, it was a Jet-Hybrid! lol Finally... someone also has taken one of those Harrier lift-jets and, in true [H] fashion... affixed it to a GO-KART!
 

Synful Serenity

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Spidey329 said:
The fact they wrote off a 747 for nose cone damage I find fascinating.

It probably had high cycles and was due for a D check anyway.....Many times airlines will write off rather than repair planes they already knew wouldn't figure in their long-term plans, or a type they're already in the process of phasing out. I doubt that particular 747 was new or would have remained in the fleet beyond the next few years anyway.
 

Kueller

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Bonus Fun Facts: Helicopters and even the Abrahms Tanks use a jet to generate power. Jaguar also toyed with a concept similar, but the jet was something small, like a Harier Jump-jet front-lift engine, and hooked up to a generator which created electricity to drive electric motors... That's right, it was a Jet-Hybrid! lol Finally... someone also has taken one of those Harrier lift-jets and, in true [H] fashion... affixed it to a GO-KART!
Yeah and Walmart has a turbine powered hybrid truck.
https://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/03/26/walmart-debuts-futuristic-truck
 

Spire3660

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The fact they wrote off a 747 for nose cone damage I find fascinating.

The whole plane suffered damage. Every antenna, every leading surface, every fan blade would have to have been inspected. THE hail wrecked a hell of a lot more than the nosecone, you just cant see it.
 

daglesj

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It probably had high cycles and was due for a D check anyway.....Many times airlines will write off rather than repair planes they already knew wouldn't figure in their long-term plans, or a type they're already in the process of phasing out. I doubt that particular 747 was new or would have remained in the fleet beyond the next few years anyway.


Most airlines are using any excuse to retire their 747s. Just not as cost efficient as other aircraft. Boneyards are full of old to virtually band new 747s. Sad but that's progress.
 
D

Deleted member 108676

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Now you've got me curious--how *does* an engine deal with hail? Are the compressor/stator blades simply strong enough to grind them up?

An engine doesn't deal with hail, the engine takes it, and hopefully it isn't enough damage to send a blade down the engine.

Engine heat only stops ice from forming on the blades and a couple other places in the cowl depending on the model of engine. Its not enough to instantly melt hail as it goes in.
 
D

Deleted member 108676

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Never said I was an expert. Next time I feel I am, I will add that the beginning of my post. Oddly enough, a buddy of mine is a an AF Crew Chief for F15's too. What's your opinion on bolts getting sucked into an engine? I take it from your lack of attacking retort, you can at least agree with me on that. I never talked to him about hail before so I don't know, that why I was making a presumption. What is your expert opinion then, since you had nothing to add to what I had said?

When I get hail at my house, hail melts very rapidly on a small pool of water collected in my sidewalk. I only thought that a jet engine would have enough heat so that it might melt/warm the ice to be at least a soft enough to not damage any parts to cause an engine failure, but thousands of pieces of hail moving at that speed, I can still see there being some damage.

That is my personal; not a jet engine expert clarification of ignorance.

Better?

Sure, a bolt will destroy an engine. But I've also seen a screw driver go down an intake and the person in the seat not know because the indications didn't show anything was wrong. The engine wouldn't start back up, but it survived the screw driver long enough to get everything shut down.

I've also seen a HUGE bird down an engine from flight...the pilots had no idea they hit a bird. They said the engines seemed to have full power (they were on approach, so they weren't hot rodding it) and they had no indication to suggest otherwise. Again, the engine wouldn't start back up, but engines are stout.

Engine heat simply prevents ice forming on the blades, and, depending on the model, a couple of other places. Engine heat will NOT melt hail as it hits a blade.
 

Formula.350

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I thought for a moment that was going to be a troll response hahaha

That's pretty cool, at least from a technological standpoint, the tractor is kind dopey looking though :p Reminds me of the Goblin Shark (albeit, an upside down one).

Step 1, Turbine powered.
Step 2, Nuclear powered. (I know, we've been there already, Ford Nucleon or whatever it was called)
Step 3, Fallout 3
Step 4, ???
Step 5, PROFIT!
:cool:
 

Kaitian

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Airbus? Ah yes, Airbus manufactures the Queen of the Sky.

Also if anyone does not know, the Chinese have a huge reputation for changing air space usage ALL the time because the airspace over China is still heavily regulated by the Chinese military. The flight path you flew on today may be shut off the next day and it's completely random. A lot of PAX airplanes have almost run out of fuel due to this crap and they squawk bingo fuel very often in order to get permission to land immediately.
 

Mohonri

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That all being said, personally I enjoy turbulence, it makes a flight far less dull! Then again, I like fast cars and roller-coasters. If the little bit of turbulence you experience in a full-size airliner disturbs you, I suggest NEVER booking a flight on a small Turboprop plane like these DeHavilland "Dash-8", they'll make you wish your seat was equipped with a 5-point harness ;)
Dash-8's are fun--I got to fly in one several times a few years ago. It was awesome to see the spirals of condensation behind the props on a cool, humid day.

But I gotta give props to the Twin Otter I got to ride once. The pre-flight was given by the copilot, who just twisted around in his seat to talk to us, and there was no cockpit door--I could see right out the cockpit windows during final approach and see exactly how much crosswind we were dealing with :) Crazy short takeoff roll, too. "What, we're off the ground already?!"
 

yomike007

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The whole plane suffered damage. Every antenna, every leading surface, every fan blade would have to have been inspected. THE hail wrecked a hell of a lot more than the nosecone, you just cant see it.


This. The plane is done. There's much more damage than can be seen in the pic. Simple insurance 101, if it costs more to fix than to sell, sell it.
 

LigTasm

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You're an insurance adjuster on airplanes now?

I've never seen a plane written off for hail, but I just had one I worked on written off for corrosion inside one of the stringers under the cockpit, the company would rather buy a new one than pay a few million $$ to tear the skin open and fix it and then have to recertify.
 
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This. The plane is done. There's much more damage than can be seen in the pic. Simple insurance 101, if it costs more to fix than to sell, sell it.

If it was a domestic airport, I would guess they would get their asses sued off for being the "cause" of unwarranted damage. But seeings how its oversea's, theres no way you could enforce that, so I guess they get away with it?
 

null

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For anyone interested, the Air Crash Investigation series does an excellent job of revisiting unusual or catastrophic scenarios aircraft have encountered. Each episode provides a nice technical breakdown, but friendly enough for the everyday person to understand what happened.

I mention it b/c quite a few episodes cover plane damage or crashes due to aircraft flying through adverse weather conditions: storms, hail, micro bursts, St. Elmo's Fire, etc. They also get into some of the questions posed in this thread (e.g. how does an engine deal with hail, or how does the body of an aircraft handle this or that.).

It's an excellent series, I don't think I've watched an episode that wasn't interesting.
 

Betaboy1983

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Sure, a bolt will destroy an engine. But I've also seen a screw driver go down an intake and the person in the seat not know because the indications didn't show anything was wrong. The engine wouldn't start back up, but it survived the screw driver long enough to get everything shut down.

I've also seen a HUGE bird down an engine from flight...the pilots had no idea they hit a bird. They said the engines seemed to have full power (they were on approach, so they weren't hot rodding it) and they had no indication to suggest otherwise. Again, the engine wouldn't start back up, but engines are stout.

Engine heat simply prevents ice forming on the blades, and, depending on the model, a couple of other places. Engine heat will NOT melt hail as it hits a blade.

Interesting. But no so cool for the mechanics, eek!! (I've heard some horror stories) Thanks for your service and keeping our planes in tip top shape. No disrespect, just speaking my mind on a forum, like everyone does. :)
 

revenant

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Flying through severe weather really freaks me out.. Seems like the weather is getting more and more severe too. :eek:
 

c3141hf

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Now you've got me curious--how *does* an engine deal with hail? Are the compressor/stator blades simply strong enough to grind them up?

Pretty much any modern airliner is going to be designed to take some hail strikes; hail cores can rapidly develop without much warning so if a little bit of hail was enough to bring down an airliner, there would be a lot of crashes. Generally, SOP is to execute a climb when encountering hail.

As for the engines, the biggest danger is that hail can cause surging which can destroy the engines if action isn't taken to reduce the pressure build-up (e.g. reducing thrust). This is what happened to Southern Airways Flight 242.
 
D

Deleted member 108676

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Interesting. But no so cool for the mechanics, eek!! (I've heard some horror stories) Thanks for your service and keeping our planes in tip top shape. No disrespect, just speaking my mind on a forum, like everyone does. :)

No worries. Its just funny to see everyone become an expert when they read something on the news. It happens for any type of story...its just extra funny for me when its aircraft related, because, well...I worked on them for almost a decade.
 
D

Deleted member 108676

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Pretty much any modern airliner is going to be designed to take some hail strikes; hail cores can rapidly develop without much warning so if a little bit of hail was enough to bring down an airliner, there would be a lot of crashes. Generally, SOP is to execute a climb when encountering hail.

As for the engines, the biggest danger is that hail can cause surging which can destroy the engines if action isn't taken to reduce the pressure build-up (e.g. reducing thrust). This is what happened to Southern Airways Flight 242.

Stalls can still happen, but its such a rare occurrence that many pilots never experience them.

I was engine run certified on F-15's, and we had an emergency procedure for if we got a stall...but it never happened. The only time stalls happen is when you duplicate on a simulator to make sure the students know the procedures. I know people who have been running engines for 10 years and they've never had a stall...it just doesn't happen. Blowouts, sure, but stalls aren't a thing anymore.
 

Dan_D

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For anyone interested, the Air Crash Investigation series does an excellent job of revisiting unusual or catastrophic scenarios aircraft have encountered. Each episode provides a nice technical breakdown, but friendly enough for the everyday person to understand what happened.

I mention it b/c quite a few episodes cover plane damage or crashes due to aircraft flying through adverse weather conditions: storms, hail, micro bursts, St. Elmo's Fire, etc. They also get into some of the questions posed in this thread (e.g. how does an engine deal with hail, or how does the body of an aircraft handle this or that.).

It's an excellent series, I don't think I've watched an episode that wasn't interesting.

Are you talking about Air Disasters on Netflix?
 

null

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Are you talking about Air Disasters on Netflix?
Yes.

I had to look to be sure; apparently the same series has different names:
  • Air Disasters on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
  • Mayday in the UK
  • Air Crash Investigation on National Geographic
 

Dan_D

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Yes.

I had to look to be sure; apparently the same series has different names:
  • Air Disasters on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
  • Mayday in the UK
  • Air Crash Investigation on National Geographic

I love that show.
 
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