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Joined: Mon Jun 14, 1999 7:12 am

Damaged AFR 747-400 Yesterday

Sat Jul 17, 1999 9:46 pm

Yesterday, July 16, 1999, while in Mexico City(MEX), i observed an Air France B747-428(SCD) F-GISE in a quite unusual situation. The aircraft arrived, and departed with only one winglet!!! It took quite a few doubletakes, and binoculars to confirm my original vision. The left wingtip was simply gone. The hole where it should have been attached was quite evident. THe opposite side was normal. I would think that this would cause asymetrical flight and handeling difficulties, but no attention was paid to the wing during the aircraft's apx 2 hr stay at MEX. Does anyone know what happened, or how this type of incident affects flight characteristics?
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RE: Damaged AFR 747-400 Yesterday

Sun Jul 18, 1999 12:27 am

A year ago or so a CX A330 landed at Kai Tak with only one winglet, too. The other one was "lost" inflight.
Appearently, there is no stability problem or anything like that in the very rare occasion when this happens...

RE: Damaged AFR 747-400 Yesterday

Sun Jul 18, 1999 1:01 am

I saw a BA 744 at Houston Intercontinental which had the same problem. I did appear to be a "clean break" however. There was no twisted or damaged metal, and actually it looked as if a mechanic had just removed it from the wingtip.
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RE: Damaged AFR 747-400 Yesterday

Sun Jul 18, 1999 1:06 am

May be these are isolated incidents, but it seems this happens too much. I don't know how I'd feel if one minute the winglet was there and the next it was gone.
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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RE: Damaged AFR 747-400 Yesterday

Sun Jul 18, 1999 1:33 am

Airplanes have something called a CDL (Configuration Deviation List) This is a list of things that can be missing from an aircraft and the penalty in performance that must be taken into account.

For instance on the DC8 if a aileron fiaring is missing all performance calculations must be for a plane that weighs 5000 pounds heavier than it actually is. And fuel burn calculations are inreased 2%.

A winglet is simply an aerodynamic aid and not part of the primary lifting surface. I'm sure a high penalty would be paid to operate the aircraft in such a condition.