Friday, July 25, 2008

Holy gaping hole Batman!


A Qantas 747 en route to Melbourne from London, makes an emergency landing in Manila after a "decompressive explosion" blew a hole in the side of the fuselage.

Bloomberg.

Yahoo.

Not to be missed: video a passenger shot on the plane after the oxygen masks had deployed. Everyone is quite calm. The flight attendants continue to serve/clear up meals. The landing is also shown.

The Times UK: "Damage, corrosion, or a bomb?"

The heads start chatting at the Airliners.net forums.

This is a highly unusual situation to say the least. And it goes to show, it's tough to bring a modern jetliner down in mid-flight. Of course it's possible, with the right amount of explosives (Remember AI182 Kanishka? Or Pan Am 183?) If this were a bomb, then it failed. Thank God! If due to metal fatigue, then thank God it wasn't in the passenger cabin itself. (Remember Aloha 243?)

And a quibble about the reporting. You'll see this phrase repeated, "the plane plunged 20,000 feet." Um. This is standard after a decompression at high altitudes. a) The air at 30,000+ feet is too think to breathe. Hence the oxygen masks. b) Ever notice outside temperatures on those monitors when you're flying? It's like -50C up there. One could die in seconds. A controlled emergency descent to 10,000 feet is the way pilots are trained to respond to such a scenario.

Thank goodness everyone is safe. I hope and pray that this wasn't due to terrorists.

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