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

Repealing Boeing’s big tax break could be a bumpy ride

It will be ended to avoid a trade dispute. But workers want Boeing to make changes if it’s later restored.

Mystery mailer opposes possible Everett pot shop increase

The city is considering allowing three more cannabis stores, with would-be owners ready and waiting.

Boeing didn’t perform full test of its astronaut capsule

A Dec. 20 mission missed critical maneuvers and flew into the incorrect orbit.

Inslee gets involved in contract talks between Swedish, SEIU

The governor is orchestrating a four-day bargaining session with both sides led by an MIT professor.

This Boeing deal could have ‘clawbacks’ in the ‘snap-back’

The company wants a tax break temporarily repealed. Some don’t want to give it back without new conditions.

Paid family leave claims are triple what was anticipated

It’s taking up to 10 weeks to process payments from the new state program.

Boeing’s drought ends: ANA of Japan orders a dozen 787s

In January, the company marked an all-time low with zero new orders.

Port of Moses Lake, Boeing in talks to extend 737 Max leases

Boeing is currently storing more than 250 Max airplanes at Grant County International Airport.

Kin Cheung / AP file
                                FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2015, file photo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Bob Chapek poses with Minnie Mouse during a ceremony at the Hong Kong Disneyland in 2015 as they celebrate Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th anniversary.
Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down in surprise announcement

He will remain executive chairman through the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.

Most Read