HAILSTONES shatter Airbus A380’s windscreen at 37,000 feet forcing the pilot to issue a mayday call 

HAILSTONES shatter an Airbus A380’s windscreen at 37,000ft, forcing the pilot to issue a mayday call

  • The China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou Baiyun International was en-route to Beijing International
  • The plane’s captain, He Xianghang issued a mayday call and rapidly descended down to 16,700 feet
  • He managed to land the plane safely 90 minutes later despite the cracked screen and no one was injured 

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Dramatic images have shown the shattered windscreen of an Airbus A380 that was struck by hailstones.

The China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou Baiyun International was at 37,000 feet and en-route to Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday morning when the glass cracked.

Following protocol, the plane’s captain, He Xianghang, issued a mayday call to air traffic control and he managed to land the plane safely around 90 minutes later in Beijing.

Dramatic images have shown the severely shattered windscreen of an Airbus A380 that was struck by a mid-air hailstorm. The China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou Baiyun International was en-route to Beijing Capital International Airport

The plane's captain, He Xianghang issued a mayday call to air traffic control and luckily he managed to landed the plane safely around 90 minutes later in Beijing

The plane’s captain, He Xianghang issued a mayday call to air traffic control and luckily he managed to landed the plane safely around 90 minutes later in Beijing 

Shocking images taken from inside the cockpit after the plane landed show both the front windscreen and side windows splintered due to the impact of the hail.

Another picture of the exterior of the super jumbo jet also shows paint missing from the nose of the aircraft. 

According to the AV Herald, the flight crew had to rapidly descend to 16,700 feet after the hail strike.    

In radio transmissions released online, Captain He can be heard telling the Beijing control tower he ‘can still see’ before he successfully brought the plane down.

China Southern Airlines confirmed nobody was injured during the hailstorm scare on flight CZ3101.

However, some passengers likened the turbulence after the severe weather to being on a ‘roller coaster’.

Although encounters with hail while flying are rare, retired captain and author Tom Bunn says it is possible for it to strike at high altitude.

He told Inverse: ‘A powerful updraft in a thunderstorm can kick hailstones out of the top into the clear air above the cloud.’

Shocking images taken from inside the cockpit after the plane landed show both the front windscreen and side windows splintered due to the impact of the hail

Another picture shows that there was paint also missing from the nose of the aircraft after it was pelted by icy drops

Shocking images taken from inside the cockpit after the plane landed show both the front windscreen and side windows splintered due to the impact of the hail (left). Another picture shows that there was paint also missing from the nose of the aircraft after it was pelted by icy drops (right)

Beijing International had to cancel 111 out of 436 scheduled flights yesterday due to heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.

The inclement weather also affected trains with services between Beijing and Tianjin put on speed restrictions.

China Southern Airlines is one of three major airlines in China alongside China Eastern Airlines and Air China.

It is the world’s seventh-largest airline in terms of the number of passengers carried and Asia’s largest airline by fleet size. 

MailOnline Travel has contacted the airline about the incident. 

In July 2016, China Southern Airlines was involved in a similar incident. AV Herald described the windshield of another aircraft as having become ‘basically opaque’ due to a hailstorm. This meant the pilots had to navigate using their instruments rather than by sight.


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