Mexican Boeing 737 jet damaged in possible drone hit

Images on local media showed considerable damage to the nose of the passenger plane.

By Andrea Navarro and Alan Levin / Bloomberg

Grupo Aeromexico is investigating whether a drone slammed into a Boeing 737 jetliner as the aircraft approached its destination in Tijuana, Mexico, on the U.S. border.

Images on local media showed considerable damage to the nose of the 737-800, which was operating Wednesday as Flight 773 from Guadalajara. In a cabin recording, crew members can be heard saying they heard a “pretty loud bang” and asking the control tower to check if the nose was damaged. The collision happened shortly before landing.

“The exact cause is still being investigated,” Aeromexico said in a statement. “The aircraft landed normally and the passengers’ safety was never compromised.”

The potential drone strike stoked fears that the rising use of uncrewed aircraft will endanger planes filled with passengers. While most nations prohibit drones from flying in pathways reserved for airliners, the millions of small consumer devices that have been purchased around the world can’t be tracked on radar, making it difficult for authorities to enforce the rules. In addition, many users don’t know the rules or don’t follow them.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has logged a dramatic increase in the number of safety reports involving drones in recent years and air-carrier industry groups earlier this year called on the government to tighten regulations after a video was released purporting to show a drone flying just feet away from an airliner near Las Vegas. There have been about 6,000 drone sightings by pilots — some of them by airline crews — through June, according to FAA data.

So far, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has investigated one confirmed midair collision involving a drone. An Army helicopter hit the small hobbyist device near Staten Island, New York, in September 2017, causing relatively minor damage.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board concluded that a small drone struck a turboprop carrying six passengers near Quebec on Oct. 12, 2017. The drone caused a dent in one wing and the commercial flight was able to land safely, investigators said in a report.

A helicopter crash-landed in Charleston, South Carolina, in February after the pilot attempted to evade a drone, according to a police report.

In a 2017 study based on computerized models, the FAA concluded that drones would cause more damage than birds of a similar size because they contain metal parts. Significant damage to windshields, wings and tail surfaces of aircraft was possible, the study found. But the damage a small consumer drone could cause was unlikely to prove catastrophic, the study found.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Commercial Aircraft Interiors General Manager James Barnett stands in a warehouse aisle of 777 overhead bins at the company's new building on Monday, May 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
12 Snohomish County aero firms get $19M for job protection

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection grants could save 2,280 Washington jobs for up to six months.

FILE - The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Despite the pandemic's damage to air travel, Boeing says it's optimistic about long-term demand for airplanes. Boeing said Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 that it expects the aerospace market to be worth $9 trillion over the next decade. That includes planes for airlines and military uses and other aerospace products and services. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
Pandemic hasn’t dimmed Boeing’s rosy prediction for planes

The company is bullishly predicting a $9 trillion market over the next decade.

Washington August jobless rate was 5.1%; 16,800 jobs added

August’s rate was the same as July’s rate, and increased even as COVID-19 cases surge.

Boeing moving 150 jobs from Washington and California to Texas

The affected jobs are in the company’s global parts distribution unit.

School-age lead Emilee Swenson pulls kids around in a wagon at Tomorrow’s Hope child care center on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 in Everett, Washington. A shortage of child care workers prompted HopeWorks, a nonprofit, to expand its job training programs. Typically, the programs help people with little or no work experience find a job. The new job training program is for people interested in becoming child care workers. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
HopeWorks to offer career training for child care workers

The Everett nonprofit hopes to train workers as child care centers struggle to hire staff.

Genna Martin / The Herald
David Barney, owner of Barney's Pastrami on Evergreen, has changed the last names of the dozens of celebrities who's photos hang on the wall of his restaurant to Barney.  The newly named celebrities include Humphrey Barney, Uma Barney, Marilyn Barney, Olivia Newton-Barney and Stevie Ray Barney.  
Photo taken 11252014
Where’s Barney? His pastrami shop has served its last hoagie

Even the Evergreen Way deli’s landlord is looking for him. David Barney has vanished.

Tasty and healthy asian food - spicy ramen with wheat noodle, meat, eggs and onion in white pot with chopsticks. Vector illustration of traditional korean cuisine for menu, recipe books or printing
You voted: The best Vietnamese food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, folks still have their favorites.

‘Fulfillment center’ proposed along Bothell Everett Highway

Amazon denies that it’s involved in the project. But permitting documents include the company name.

A drawing of the giant Funko Pop! balloon depicting Baby Yoda, which will wind through the streets of New York during this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Funko) 20210912
It’s OK to Pop! this balloon: Funko to join the Macy’s parade

Funko’s incarnation of Baby Yoda will float by in this year’s Thanksgiving Day event.

Most Read