According to the latest news out of the US, a China Eastern Boeing 777 had to return to JFK after take off. According to passenger reports, a portion of the aircraft’s wing came off during the initial departure from JFK. A photo shared on social media supports this.
Aircraft are built to withstand some huge forces. With this in mind, you can imagine the passengers’ surprise when they looked out of the left window. A section of wing maybe half a meter by half a meter had come off at the base of one of the speed brakes. As a precaution, the pilot decided to return to the point of origin so the problem could be resolved without developing further.
China Eastern flight MU588 is the carrier’s flight connection between New York and Shanghai. The flight is scheduled daily and continues on to Fuzhou on the same flight number from Shanghai.
Usually operated by a Boeing 777 aircraft, the flight is scheduled to take 15 hours. This means a departure from New York at 16:25 local time. The aircraft then touches down in Shanghai at 19:25 the next day after a 7,400-mile flight as the crow flies.
According to data from Flight Radar 24, the aircraft took off at around 19:00 local time, already around two and a half hours late. The aircraft departed New York to the North, climbing to 23,000ft. However, the aircraft soon started flying circles above where the States of New York, Massachusets, and New Hampshire meet. It is unknown whether the aircraft was dumping fuel at this time.
A 2.5-hour flight
After around two and a half hours, the Boeing 777 touched back down in New York. AirFleets.net reports that the aircraft is 4.7 years old having been delivered to the airline in 2014. The aircraft is fitted with 6 first-class seats, 52 business seats, and 258 economy seats. It is currently unclear how many people were on board the aircraft.
Why return to New York?
The aircraft needed to return to New York for a technical problem, however, photos on social media appear to show that a portion of the wing was missing. Specifically, an L-shaped chunk right around where the left speed brake is attached to the wing.
China Eastern MU588 (JFK-PVG) returned to JFK reporting metal fell off from left wing. pic.twitter.com/k3ih9fR2cY
— ChinaAviationReview (@ChinaAvReview) August 13, 2019
Thankfully, it seemed as though the incident wasn’t too drastic as the aircraft was able to land without further incident, although the damage did look rather alarming. The aircraft has remained on the ground since the incident.
It looks like it could be a fairly lengthy fix, although, according to Flight Radar 24, the aircraft is currently scheduled to fly from Shanghai to Toronto on Thursday. It does, however, need to get back to Shanghai first. Simple Flying attempted to contact an airline representative.
Were you onboard MU588? Let us know your experience in the comments!