On May 28th at approximately 3:57pm local time, a Lufthansa Boeing 747 had a hard landing incident at Philadelphia International Airport. According to aviation website AeroInside, ground observers report that a “chunk of the engine came off on touch down”.
The specific aircraft in this incident was a Boeing 747-400 with registration D-ABVU performing flight LH-426 from Frankfurt (FRA) to Philadelphia (PHIL). It landed on Philadelphia’s runway 27R.
Immediately after the landing, the control tower advised the flight that they received reports of a piece having come off the aircraft upon landing. One observer reports that the piece came off of the left outboard engine (CF6).
The FAA are reporting that when the 747 had made a hard landing “plexiglass came off the left engine cowling”. Several sources are reporting that the occurrence happened on April 28th 2019. However, this is deemed inaccurate – the correct date is May 28th.
Still on the ground
As a result of the incident, the return flight, LH-427 was cancelled. The aircraft involved is still on the ground in Philadelphia while damage is being assessed. At the time of writing, no further information has come in regarding the status of the aircraft.
Severe weather in the region
Specific circumstances leading up to the hard landing are still unknown. However, local news sites are reporting that the Philadelphia region was experiencing severe weather that day. This weather included “quarter-sized hail” and thunderstorms as well as “unusual cloud formations”.
In fact, slightly further north of Philadelphia’s surrounding suburbs, a tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service. Below is a comparison of flight paths of LH-426. The first is from the day of the incident while the second is from a flight two days prior, on May 26th.
Notable hard landings
On 14 March 2015 a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330, (registration 9M-MTA), began its approach to Melbourne (Tullamarine) from Kuala Lumpur. According to Aviation Week, the aircraft’s landing was so hard that the result was a replacement of the aircraft’s main landing gear. However, there were no reported injuries resulting from the incident.
In 2012, an ANA flight made a hard landing in strong gusty cross winds. The airplane touched down on its right hand main landing gear. According to an Aviation Safety Network report, the plane then bounced back up. The nose landing gear then contacted the runway at considerable force. According to Wikipedia, the result was “a large crease formed in the aircraft’s skin.”
More about the aircraft
D-ABVU is a 20.5 year old 747-400, according to Airfleets.net. The plane has been with Lufthansa since December 1998 as is powered by 4x GE CF-6 engines. Based in Frankfurt, the aircraft had previously made trips to Detroit (DTW), Vancouver (YVR), and Seoul (ICN).
We have reached out to Lufthansa for comment on the incident. However, no response was received at the time of publishing this article.