Air China Plane Struck by Unknown Object and Forced to ReturnBack to Forum
Anonymous7 Jun 2013
The following comment is made on the link giving by LuganoPirate
“I had exactly the same thing happen to me on a flight out of LHR to YYZ on a 747-400. What caused it was a static discharge while climbing through snow showers at about 6000 feet on departure. There was a huge bang and flash followed by the wx radar failing. We leveled off at 10,000 feet and accelerated to 300 knots to see if there was any adverse effect. Since the aircraft felt perfectly normal we carried on to Toronto. As we approached the gate, the ramp hands were pointing at the nose. When we got off we saw that the radome was pushed in as if a huge fist had punched it in the nose. As it turned out the pressure from the rapidly heated and expnded air had done the damage. The radar antenna had jammed.”
In the absence of any other explanation at this stage this seem the most credible explanation.8 Jun 2013
This could easily have been caused by a large bird and the height record for a bird strike is 37,000 (a griffon.)
Here are some photographs of the damage caused by bird strikes
Remember that an airliner at 26,500 feet (8,000 metres) will probably be flying quite fast and the damage more severe than if it was manouevering at lower level and lower speed, thus whilst the damage looks huge, the radome is not a strong structure and a vulture/eagle could easily cause such a bump.9 Jun 2013
Is that universally true, Craig?
It is often the case, I’d agree, but in this instance the radome does note seem to have been punctured and the high speed of the encounter could have scourged the external evidence. I’ve seen the aftermath of two bird strikes, one had obvious blood and feathers, the other did not.
On the other hand, this damage could also have been caused by some other impact.9 Jun 2013