An Airbus A380 'flew 14 hours' with hole in side. Expert explains how

The passengers were never in danger throughout the flight.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Airbus A380 of Emirates AirlineJetlinerimages/iStock

It's a common fear. Getting on an airplane and having something go terribly wrong. 

This week an Airbus A380 managed to fly for 14 hours with a large hole in its side in a situation experts call ‘one in a million case’, according to Euronews Travel. The specific craft was an Emirates plane flying from Dubai to Brisbane.

A giant gaping hole

The airline later revealed a giant gaping hole when one of the Airbus A380’s 22 tires burst shortly after take-off. However, luckily no passengers were injured, and flight EK430 was able to fly safely to its destination as planned.

Dr Johannes Boroh, a former commercial pilot and senior lecturer in aviation studies at London’s Kingston University, told Euronews Travel that this type of situation is extremely uncommon. 

“It’s a one in a million case probably. It’s something that we don't see every day.”

One passenger claimed that he heard a loud bang and felt the damage through the floor but that the cabin crew remained calm, stopped the food service, got on the phone, and checked the wings and engines.

“If you hear a loud bang as a pilot, first things first, the cabin crew will stop and inspect, taking a look outside the aircraft,” explained Boroh. In this particular incident, “Of course [they couldn’t] see anything because the hole was underneath them.”

Planes don't have sensors or cameras on the area where the hole occurred, so the pilots remained reassured that there was nothing wrong.

Experts indicated that the pilots might have also run a third check by contacting Dubai Airport to see if any part of the plane was lost during take-off. However, the runway was clear of debris, indicating once more that there was nothing to worry about.

And indeed, it seems there wasn't.

Passengers never in danger

Emirates would later state that the passengers were never in danger. “At no point did it have any impact on the fuselage, frame, or structure of the aircraft,” Emirates said.

Boroh further explained that the pilots couldn't do much if no' indications' showed up on the system. In this case, the damage was restricted to part of the plane’s aerodynamic fairing (the outer panel or ‘skin’ of the aircraft), meaning the rest of the plane was safe to travel.

This, however did not stop passengers from being scared. Some took to Twitter to express their feelings.

"Was absolutely terrifying at first, and the cabin crew knew something serious may have happened - were immediately in contact with the cockpit," tweeted Andrew Morris, an English professor at the UK's Loughborough University.

"Shortly after, they resumed as normal. Their calm demeanor was reassuring -- they knew it was not catastrophic." 

IE reached out for comment to Emirates but has not received a response as of yet.
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