washingtonflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:45 pm

Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:41 am

Havent seen this posted elsewhere....

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/unknown-object-strikes-colombian-a320-in-cruise-421008/
 
chrisp390
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 6:37 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:46 am

Could it be a drone maybe?
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:24 am

Quoting chrisp390 (Reply 1):
Could it be a drone maybe?

Or maybe a piece of ice that broke off an aircraft at a higher altitude?

And various parts have fallen off aircraft over the years. Related 2013 news item from the UK.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/avia...eak-off-aeroplanes-mid-flight.html
 
copter808
Posts: 1384
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 1:14 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:24 am

I suppose at this point it's a UFO then.
 
OMP777X
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:10 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:26 am

Http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...s-colombian-a320-in-cruise-421008/

Quoting chrisp390 (Reply 1):
Could it be a drone maybe?

It sounds like if it were a drone it would've had to only have hit its wingtip for it to have left only a 20cm depression on the A320. I wonder what sort of substance it left behind? (e.g. paint, or hydraulic fluid)

Best,

OMP777X
"Happy Flighting!"
 
User avatar
Siren
Posts: 774
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:50 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:29 am

The Flightglobal article mentioned that there was residue left in the dent in the fuselage. My vote is for a meteorite... it's only a matter of time before one strikes a plane mid-flight and causes a major accident. The chances are one in the hundreds of millions, but the estimates are that roughly 20,000-80,000 meteorites per year actually survive the atmospheric entry and make it to the ground.

If anyone remembers the big event in Chelyabinsk in 2013 - I consider it nothing short of a miracle there wasn't a commercial airplane in the air at cruise altitude in the area and time this happened. Otherwise, there's a very good chance it would've taken down the plane...

[Edited 2016-01-20 21:29:54]
 
OMP777X
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:10 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:48 am

Quoting Siren (Reply 5):
The Flightglobal article mentioned that there was residue left in the dent in the fuselage. My vote is for a meteorite...

Now that's a type of residue that I had not considered.

Quoting Siren (Reply 5):
Otherwise, there's a very good chance it would've taken down the plane...

In that case a commercial airliner wouldn't stand a chance. Let's hope that one of that magnitude never makes contact with any kind of a plane. (knocks on wood)   
"Happy Flighting!"
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:50 am

What about a radiosonde, the piece of equipment carried by a weather balloon, falling back to earth, especially if the small parachute used to slow their descent didn't open properly.

Related from 2007.
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/?n=features_radiosondelanding
 
LovesCoffee
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 4:07 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:48 am

My vote is a bird strike. The 'residue' is blood, etc. from the unfortunate bird.

From another thread here at a.net.

quote: "There is an F.A.A file that mentions an aircraft striking a bearded vulture at 37,000 feet over Ivory Coast."

found here.
Life is too short for cheap coffee.
 
User avatar
fr8mech
Posts: 7801
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:53 am

Quoting chrisp390 (Reply 1):
Could it be a drone maybe?

At 35,000 FT?

A couple of decades ago we had a B747 return due to a bird strike at cruise altitude. Bounced off the fuselage, below and aft of L2 and tore through the landing lights. What a mess.

Analysis revealed a Canada goose.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
Unless it's expressly prohibited, it's allowed.
You are not entitled to a public safe space.
Ego Bibere Capulus, Ut Aliis Sit Vivere
 
User avatar
N14AZ
Posts: 3841
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:19 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:03 am

Quoting Siren (Reply 5):
it's only a matter of time before one strikes a plane mid-flight and causes a major accident. The chances are one in the hundreds of millions, but the estimates are that roughly 20,000-80,000 meteorites per year actually survive the atmospheric entry and make it to the ground.

That's what I thought as well, when I saw the thread title. As per Murphy's law, it will happen (or maybe it happened already, Itair DC9 over the Mediteranean Sea?). It was also in South America, where a LAN-crew observed a meteorite about 10km ahead of them.

Then again, even a small meteorite, entering the atmosphere with whatever Speed, would it cause a dent only?

Space debris might be an option as well.

From the article:

Quote:
Investigators also state that there were visual indications of a substance of unclear origin, and that a sample is being studied to determine its composition.

I guess they will find out what it was.
 
steman
Posts: 1575
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2000 4:55 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:16 am

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 10):
(or maybe it happened already, Itair DC9 over the Mediteranean Sea?)

The Itavia DC9 has been shot down by a missile, not a meteorite. It´s common knowledge. But you won´t get any official confirmation about it. It´s going to stay a secret like Kennedy´s assasination for at least many more decades.
 
OMP777X
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:10 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:34 am

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 9):

Quoting chrisp390 (Reply 1):
Could it be a drone maybe?

At 35,000 FT?

Turboprop drones can get to 50,000' and the jet powered military drones have an even higher ceiling than that. It could have been a drone, a goose, a vulture, or worse yet... a vulture riding atop of a drone.   

Luckily for everyone, whatever it was didn't take out a wing, or do worse damage than it did.
"Happy Flighting!"
 
User avatar
VCEflyboy
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:23 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:39 am

An air China 737 was hit pretty bad. It was a while ago. Did they find the cause?
 
User avatar
FredrikHAD
Posts: 443
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:44 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:53 am

We also have the CRJ200PF that came down very suddenly from FL330 in Sweden with only a (short?) mayday call, nothing else:

West Air CRJ Crashed in Northern Sweden (by BMcD Jan 7 2016 in Civil Aviation)

We still have no clue as to the cause of the crash, but may IMHO well have been a meteorite as is speculated here. On the other hand, the Colombian A320 was hit in the nose section, apparently flying into something slower, so here I'd guess birdstrike.

Does anyone with local knowledge have any more info? Surely there must be local newspapers that have pictures or have written an article about the incident?

/Fredrik
 
User avatar
N14AZ
Posts: 3841
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:19 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:12 am

Quoting steman (Reply 11):
(or maybe it happened already, Itair DC9 over the Mediteranean Sea?)
The Itavia DC9 has been shot down by a missile, not a meteorite.

OK, in this case it was not a good example.
 
AR385
Posts: 6927
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:42 am

In my opinion, it was either a very, very small meteorite, or a piece of space junk.
 
User avatar
Quantos
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:29 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:20 pm

Quoting FredrikHAD (Reply 14):
We also have the CRJ200PF that came down very suddenly from FL330 in Sweden with only a (short?) mayday call, nothing else:

West Air CRJ Crashed in Northern Sweden (by BMcD Jan 7 2016 in Civil Aviation)

We still have no clue as to the cause of the crash, but may IMHO well have been a meteorite as is speculated here.

The odds of a meteorite bringing down a plane are infinitesimally small compared to almost every other possible cause. For a plane crash about which we know very little, odds are much more higher of an equipment or crew failure of some kind.
Quantos,

I maintain the Airbus A220 (formerly Bombardier C Series) Aircraft Status sheet: https://goo.gl/HZshto
Feel free to comment on the sheet with any improvement suggestions and data update requests! Thanks to Paolo92 for his advice!
 
User avatar
mbmbos
Posts: 2857
Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 4:16 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:56 pm

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 9):
At 35,000 FT?

Just recently, I learned this little factoid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_by_flight_heights

I had no idea how high birds could fly.
"If I don't manage to fly, someone else will. The spirit wants only for there to be flying. As for who happens to do it, in that he has only a passing interest."
- R.M. Rilke
 
S75752
Posts: 1465
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:38 pm

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:24 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):


What about a radiosonde, the piece of equipment carried by a weather balloon, falling back to earth, especially if the small parachute used to slow their descent didn't open properly.

Surely there is coordination between those launching the balloon and the ATC to avoid that possibility...

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 2):

Or maybe a piece of ice that broke off an aircraft at a higher altitude?

Surely this would have also been a quick realization based on radar and ATC data.

Quoting copter808 (Reply 3):
I suppose at this point it's a UFO then.

Best of both worlds; an alien drone.
 
User avatar
mikelive
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:45 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:04 pm

Quoting mbmbos (Reply 18):
I had no idea how high birds could fly.

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."


  
 
User avatar
CaptSkibi
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat May 01, 2004 7:15 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:33 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
What about a radiosonde, the piece of equipment carried by a weather balloon, falling back to earth, especially if the small parachute used to slow their descent didn't open properly.

Anyone know what time the incident took place? Unless there's significant weather, radiosondes are generally only launched at 1100Z (US) or 1130-1215Z worldwide, or 2300Z vs. 2330-0015Z. They generally come down about 90-120 min after launch.

Also, radiosondes are small by design, ranging from about 220 grams through around 400 grams. At aircraft cruise altitude, they're going up around 5 m/s (1000 ft/min) or going down with the parachute around 10-15 m/s. Double the velocity without the chute, as the balloon remnants act as a streamer.

Usually the only coordination w ATC is for launch (except for Australia). They're very rarely flown w radar reflectors. Unless the sonde is a GPS sonde and the user is in constant contact w ATC, ATC will have no idea where the radiosonde is. They wouldn't even consider it.

The airplane's relative velocity to the radiosondes would make a far greater difference to impact severity versus the chute opening properly.

[Edited 2016-01-21 15:35:37]
Private Pilot, Airplane Single Engine Land / former frequent flyer with 9 straight years being elite on NW/DL
 
ThirtyEcho
Posts: 1411
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 1:21 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:27 am

Don't discount a large insect. Convective currents can lift them to absurd altitudes, for which I can personally attest. I hit a big grasshopper at 13500 in an Aero Commander and had to squint through frozen green bug guts the rest of the trip. Made quite a loud whack when it hit, too.
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 21591
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:36 am

Quoting mbmbos (Reply 18):

I had no idea how high birds could fly.

I think we can exclude a drone. Cruise altitudes FL 300 and greater are really accessible only to either large piston engines or turbines, with some experimental all-solar UAVs run by electric props. Any UAV massive enough to incorporate such a propulsion system would do more than dent an aircraft in a mid-air at cruise speeds.

It could be a bird, although one would think that something as large as a vulture might have been spotted before they hit it, even if it was too fast to evade.

Part of a weather balloon.

Part of an aircraft overflying that fell off just at the right time.

Meteorite, either natural or artificial (space junk).

Deity trolling all of us.  
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
OMP777X
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:10 am

RE: Foreign Object Strikes A320 At Cruise

Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:44 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 23):

I think we can exclude a drone. Cruise altitudes FL 300 and greater are really accessible only to either large piston engines or turbines, with some experimental all-solar UAVs run by electric props. Any UAV massive enough to incorporate such a propulsion system would do more than dent an aircraft in a mid-air at cruise speeds.

Some of the newest solar drones can operate at up to 90,000'. If they clipped the wingtip of a solar powered surveillance drone then a 20cm dent could be possible. I guess we'll all know when the test results of the residue come back.

http://dronecenter.bard.edu/high-altitude-drones/
"Happy Flighting!"

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos