Aviation today: plane part falls onto parking lot in Miami


Before you read the article, think of this: what would you do if a part of one of the flaps fell off during approach? How would it affect the maneuverability of the aircraft? Would you proceed to land anyway or would you perferm a missed approach? Why?

Now read the article and practice paraphrasing (giving the same information using different words). Here’s a link to another article on the same topic.

After reading, read the questions below the text.

Plane panel falls onto US mall parking lot

taken from here

2010/02/06

MIAMI, Sat: A car-sized panel from a cargo jet fell out of the sky Friday and crashed into a mall parking lot in the US state of Florida, startling shoppers but causing no injuries or damage, the airline said. Federal authorities and Atlas Air Inc were investigating why the 68kg canoe-shaped fairing detached from the wing of a Boeing 747 cargo plane as it approached Miami International Airport at the end of a flight from Santiago, Chile.

The plane had no problems landing, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said. And while no one was injured in the incident, it could have been deadly.

“We’ll look into every aspect of this situation to determine why it happened,” FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. “We’ll examine the part, the aircraft and its maintenance records.”

The Atlas jet was about 4km from the airport at an altitude of 1,500 feet (450 meters) when the fiberglass panel fell from the plane’s flap assembly at about 11.35am. Flaps, when extended, help a plane slow down.

The panel crashed to the ground between two empty parking spaces at the Miami International Mall in Doral.

“The plane landed safely at MIA and we understand no one was injured and that there was no property damage,” Atlas, one of the world’s largest freight transport companies, said in a statement.  “Atlas is grateful that no one was injured and is investigating the matter further.”

Pieces rarely fall off flying jets, but such incidents do happen.

On July 25, 2000 a strip of metal fell from a Continental plane onto the runway at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Shortly afterward an Air France supersonic Concorde jet rolled over the part, ruptured a fuel tank and burst into flames, killing all 109 people on board and four workers on the ground. – AFP

Questions:

What might have caused this accident? How might it have been avoided?

These are topics that can be part of your ICAO test (Santos Dumont English Assessment). How comfortable are you to discuss them in English?

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