Air France A380 Engine Cowling blows over Atlantic; lands safely

An Air France A380, operating between Paris & Los Angeles as AF66 had an uncontained engine damage while flying over the Atlantic last evening. Pictures clicked by the passengers on board the plane show how the entire Engine Cowling came off. There was a lout thud reported on the plane, however, the plane stabilised shortly after the incident.

The engine was reportedly shut off by the pilot within 30 seconds of the incident, and they declared a mayday and headed to divert to Canada where they landed at the Goose Bay Airport. Here is the FlightAware record of the flight.

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According to a former aeroplane mechanic on the plane, he figured it was a fan blowout on the plane. A video of the plane landing shows an inoperative Engine 4 at the time of landing.

While it was a mayday situation, the pilots seemed very confident and the passengers very calm till the landing worked out.


Here is an in-flight video.

Air France has told NBC News the plane was too high for a bird strike, so reasons are unknown currently for what could be the cause of the engine cowling blowing out.

Air France has pressed relief measures in place. As per AF,

Air France confirms that the crew of flight AF 066 operated by A380 from Paris-CDG to Los Angeles decided to divert to Goose Bay airport (Canada) following serious damage to one of its four engines.

Air France has immediately decided to make arrangements for two flights from Goose Bay (Canada) to Los Angeles in an effort to get the 497 passengers of Flight AF066 to their destination as quickly as possible.
For now, the two flights are scheduled to leave Goose Bay at 04h15 (local time). One flight will be aboard an Air France B777-300, and the other aboard a B737, an aircraft specially chartered by Air France.
Flight AF066 landed safely at the Goose Bay (Canada) airport ‪at 15h42(UT). The regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled the incident perfectly.
The passengers are now in the care of airline staff.

Apparently, the people are finally off the plane after 23-hours of being on the plane. Goose Bay regularly receives aircraft diversions but they did not have a ladder high enough to get people out of the A380.

Air France cancelled a scheduled Montreal – Paris flight and moved the B77W to operate the relief flight onwards to Los Angeles.

Of course, this is not done yet. The full cause of this explosion would need to be found out, but I’m proud of the entire Aviation community who managed it so professionally to get the plane on the ground with no lives hurt and no significant damage to the plane as well.

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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