Virgin Atlantic Flight Canceled After Passenger Notices Missing Bolts On Airbus A330

Screenshot: New York Post via YouTube
Screenshot: New York Post via YouTube

A Virgin Atlantic flight bound for New York City was canceled right before it was set to take off on January 15 after a passenger noticed that several screws were missing from the Airbus A330’s wing. Phil Hardy, a British traveler, was sitting onboard Virgin Flight 127 at Manchester Airport in England when he noticed four missing fasteners during the flight’s safety briefing, according to the New York Post. That’s when he decided to let the cabin crew know.

Engineers were quickly called out to check on the widebody jet before taking off for JFK Airport, Virgin Atlantic reps told The Post. That’s when the 41-year-old saw engineers climb onto the plane’s wing and use a screwdriver to tighten down some fasteners. Both Virgin and Airbus said there was no impact to the safety of the aircraft despite the missing screws.

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Anyway, the Virgin flight was eventually scrapped to “provide time for precautionary additional engineering maintenance checks, which allowed our team the maximum time to complete their inspections. God damn, everyone is on edge. It’s just a couple of screws at 37,000 feet, folks.

Here’s why the missing screws weren’t life-threatening, according to an Airbus engineer who spoke with The Post:

Neil Firth, the Airbus local chief wing engineer for A330, added that the affected panel was a secondary structure used to improve the aerodynamics of the plane.

“Each of these panels has 119 fasteners, so there was no impact to the structural integrity or load capability of the wing, and the aircraft was safe to operate,” he said.

“As a precautionary measure, the aircraft underwent an additional maintenance check, and the fasteners were replaced.”

It’s going to be a while before anyone believes me, but friends, I promise that your plane isn’t going to fall out of the sky just because a few screws are missing. It’s really okay.

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