Boeing 747's Remarkable Journey from Tail Strike to Transatlantic Flight

By Ivan PetrenkoFeb 23, 2024 04:33 AMNews
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Boeing 747 in the air
Boeing 747 in the air. Source: unsplash

In a striking testament to aviation resilience and expertise, an Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-400F recently completed a transatlantic flight to the United States after experiencing a tail strike at Frankfurt Hahn Airport. This incident, which occurred on November 29, 2023, led to the aircraft being grounded in the US for extensive repairs before resuming its operations.

Incident at Frankfurt Hahn

The tail strike, classified as serious by the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU), occurred during the aircraft's takeoff roll. Triggered by a stall warning, the pilots adjusted the pitch angle, successfully continuing their ascent and completing the flight to Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport, South Carolina. Despite the initial dip in altitude, the Boeing 747-400F maintained a normal climb, reaching a cruising altitude of 34,000 feet.

Aftermath and Repairs

Upon landing, the significant damage to the fuselage from the tail contact with the runway was evident, necessitating over a month of grounding for repairs. The aircraft was subsequently flown to Marana Pinal Airport for maintenance, a facility known for its expertise in heavy maintenance on Boeing aircraft.

Resumption of Operations

After its period of maintenance, the Boeing 747-400F resumed service, initially returning to Greenville–Spartanburg before embarking on a flight to Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport. The aircraft has since been operating flights on behalf of SAUDIA and its cargo subsidiary, SAUDIA Cargo, marking a swift return to its logistical duties across the globe.

SAUDIA Cargo's Boeing Fleet

SAUDIA Cargo's decision to wet-lease two Boeing 747-400F aircraft from Air Atlanta Europe, alongside the operational support from Air Atlanta Icelandic and Air Atlanta Europe's fleet, underscores the strategic partnership between the airlines. This collaboration facilitates SAUDIA Cargo's commitment to providing robust cargo services worldwide, with the Boeing 747-400F playing a pivotal role in their operations.

This episode highlights the challenges and complexities of modern air travel, showcasing the aviation industry's capacity to address technical difficulties swiftly and efficiently. The successful return of the Boeing 747-400F to service after such an incident is a testament to the high standards of aircraft maintenance and operational safety within the sector.

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