Mystery of a plane bent out of shape on rough landing

An ANA Boeing 767 bounces around enough that the fuselage just in front of the wings bends like a yoga instructor's hips. An airline rep says the plane may never return to service.

Kyodo News Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I don't appreciate turbulence in the air.

However, a rough landing once in a while can be quite entertaining. For example, there is always something special about landing in Gibraltar, as the pilots have to brake violently in order to avoid hitting, well, Gibraltar.

I'm not sure how it would feel, though, if the plane simply bent during landing. Which is what this Boeing 767-300 managed to do.

I am grateful to the Daily Mail for first affecting my digestion by unearthing this footage from Kyodo News.

It shows an ANA 767 coming into land at Tokyo's Narita Airport on Wednesday -- during what was reportedly a windy day.



Though the plane bounced twice, the landing didn't seem entirely unusual.

But then the footage shows how the plane's aluminum skin was bent, presumably by the impact.

It resembles nothing more than a Chevy Camaro that has been in a difficult shunt on the highway, after its driver has had one too many tequilas.

I am sure that everyone with a mathematical bent will feel confident about the stress levels which a plane's body can withstand. One is always being reassured that planes can tolerate huge forces.

But I am not content to simply hear talk of fine aluminum alloys. What do the experts say? Despite the winds, could this have been a plane that hadn't been sufficiently well maintained or could it have been pilot error?

Flightglobal, a serious aviation site, says that an investigation is taking place into what really caused the bumpiness of the landing and the subsequent damage to the plane.

It's clear from the video that the plane comes down heavily twice -- the second time more heavily than the first. Why might that be?

The Japanese Transport and Safety Board is now examining the plane and the circumstances surrounding the landing.

Though no one was injured in this event, an ANA rep told Flightglobal: "It is not yet decided whether we will return the aircraft to service."

At all? You mean you can't just take a 767 to a body shop for a little repair?

 

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