Topic Author
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:55 am

Hail damage on parked aircraft

Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:24 am

Dear all,

Following a number of quite heavy thunderstorms recently in our area, causing damages to parked cars and other less rugged surfaces, I wonder what negative effect hail can have on parked airliners.
I know that hail can cause quite severe damage to airliners in flight - scattered flight deck windows, crushed nose cones, deformed leading edges of wings and engine nacelles...

But, can hail also cause damages on aircraft while parked on the ground? Or are the paint, metal structure, composite parts and windows strong enough to withstand these impacts?

Best regards,
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Re: Hail damage on parked aircraft

Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:33 am

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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:05 am

Re: Hail damage on parked aircraft

Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:18 pm

hitower3 wrote:

Can hail also cause damages on aircraft while parked on the ground? Or are the paint, metal structure, composite parts and windows strong enough to withstand these impacts?

Absoultely, in fact I've seen the tops of the fuselage and elevators come in looking like a golf ball, makes dent logging suck. I was told of one plane that had such a big hailstone hit it went through the skin, can't verify it but I believe it.
We have to keep planes airworthy. That doesn't mean they have to fly.
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:01 pm

Re: Hail damage on parked aircraft

Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:46 pm

I work as a structures tech and have seen many hail damaged ships over the years. Hail can most certainly do damage to a plane that is parked on the ramp. Years ago, I was sent to St. Louis to inspect a MD10 that was caught outside when a super cell storm passed through. There were so many dents on the flight controls, leading edge slats, and engine cowl top surfaces that it was impossible to inspect and map out all the damage on the plane. When you have hail damage on a parked plane, it is usually worst on the leading edge slat composite trailing edges, the wing upper aft trailing edge panels, spoiler top surfaces, flap composite and metal top skins, ailerons, elevators, and areas such as these. A lot of these surfaces are just three to five layers of fabric over a honeycomb core. It is usually the honeycomb core that gets dented down with the skin attached. Severe cases can have skin to core delamination. What you have to do is check all the dents and consult the structural repair manual (SRM) for damage limits. The limits are based on the dents depth and width. Also, is it over or near any fasteners or underlying structure and if there is any delaminations. Some damage can be permissable for service, some can have a temporary time limited repair (must be permanently repaired later at a certain number of fight hours or cycles) or it must be permanently repaired before continued service. If a part such as a slat or flap has a lot of out-of-limits damage, it may be faster to replace the entire part. The criteria for metal parts is the same. Hail damage can take a ship out of service for quite a while and be very expensive to fix.
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Re: Hail damage on parked aircraft

Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:50 pm

SAA had an episode in the 70's and our B747's were badly damaged, especially all the fibreglass panels on top of the wings as well as flaps. The repair was so big a job that they sent out a Boeing team to repair the aircraft.
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (retired).

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