An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER was forced to return to Milan Malpensa Airport after encountering severe hail on departure. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, including shattered two windshields. The 777 landed safely 90 minutes after departure, and no passengers or crew were injured.
According to JACDEC, the incident occurred on Emirates flight EK205 from Milan Malpensa to New York JFK on Tuesday, July 13. The Boeing 777-300ER took off from Milan at 4:23 p.m. local time, a few minutes late. However, the weather conditions on departure were far from ideal and the aircraft quickly encountered problems.
A few minutes after takeoff, the flight encountered severe hail. While the aircraft can generally handle adverse weather events, the hailstorm caused significant damage to the 777. The incident occurred just five minutes after the start of the flight, with the pilots quickly turning around for a landing emergency.
However, landing a fully loaded 777 with fuel and passengers is not straightforward. To avoid a hard landing, the pilots were forced to enter a holding pattern above Milan airport for an hour and a half. It was not until enough fuel had been consumed that the aircraft landed again. The flight maintained a relatively low altitude during the hold, flying at 11,000 feet and later about 5,000 feet.
Flight EK205 touched down again in Milan Malpensa at 18:04 local time, just over an hour and 40 minutes after departure. The aircraft landed safely, and no passengers or crew were injured.
Flying in heavy hail meant that the aircraft sustained significant damage. Two pilot windshields were shattered by the hail, while several parts of the fuselage had their paint peeling. The 777’s nose was also damaged, including a crack on the leading edge.
Overall, the aircraft will require essential repairs before returning to the skies in the near future. Images of the aircraft after landing can be seen below.
ð¨ ð½ððð¼ðððð ðððð ð¨
Emirates 777-300ER damaged after encountering a hailstorm departing Milan. Photos of VolaMalpensa. ð«ð¤ªð¤¯
ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢ð¢#aviation lover #aeronautical photography #aviationdaily #aviationgeek#aviation pic.twitter.com/c4oSrPcjR2
– Extreme Avia (@AviaExtreme) July 13, 2021
At the time of writing, the 777-300ER remains on the ground in Milan. It will likely be some time before teams from Emirates can come and make the necessary repairs to the plane. For now, the carrier will have one less aircraft in active service.
The plane involved in the incident is one of Emirates’ oldest. The 777-300ER carries the registration A6-ECF and was delivered in January 2008 to the Dubai-based airline. At 13.5 years old, the plane is far older than the Emirates fleet’s average age of 7.9 years. However, the aircraft still has several years to go before its retirement and replacement with the new 777X.
Yesterday’s flight operated one of Emirates’ fifth freedom services between Milan and New York JFK. The flight departed from Dubai before stopping in Milan to pick up new passengers and continue its journey to the United States. The only route resumed on June 1 after a one-year hiatus due to travel restrictions and low demand.
Have you experienced hail while flying? Tell us about your experience in the comments!