Delta’s Boeing 767 evacuation slide drops from sky, lands in yard

Markus Schmal /

A Delta Air Lines flight from Paris (France) experienced an unusual incident on December 1, 2019, when it lost an aircraft part on approach to Boston (U.S.). The incident was perhaps more unusual for those who found the plane’s massive evacuation slide dropped in the front yard. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now reportedly investigating how the aircraft part could have fallen off Delta’s Boeing 767 mid-flight, landing in a residential area.

Delta Air Lines Flight DL405, operated on a Boeing 767-300 (registration N1607B), took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on December 1, 2019, headed for Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), where it was scheduled to land at around noon. According to the FAA, as cited by The Boston Globe, upon approach to the airport, the pilot reported a “loud noise”. After the aircraft had landed safely, it was discovered that the right rear evacuation slide was missing.

The evacuation slide reportedly inflated in-flight and was ripped off the aircraft by the airstream, falling to the ground. The slide landed in a homeowner’s front yard in Milton, a town located around 10 miles south of Boston in the state of Massachusetts. After the slide was found, Milton police alerted the Massachusetts State Police at Boston Logan Airport and the FAA, which has opened an investigation into the incident. Fortunately, there were no injuries or damage to property, as reports indicate.

Delta Air Lines has also opened an investigation into the incident and said that maintenance crews were inspecting the airplane. “Delta is investigating an inflatable over-wing slide that was retrieved following an aircraft’s landing into Boston’s Logan Airport,” the airline said in a statement as quoted by the Boston Globe. “The flight landed without incident and taxied to the gate under its own power.” The Boeing 767-300 involved in the incident is 19.7 of age, according to data. The airline still operates both the ageing 767-300 and 767-400 variants.

Apparently, such instances of airplane parts detaching and falling to the ground are not an uncommon occurrence, so much so, that the industry even has an acronym for such cases – PDA, which stands for “Parts Departing Airplanes”, as the Boston Herald points out. In fact, these occurrences are increasing globally, particularly in Europe and the U.S., according to a recent study by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Just two weeks ago, on November 19, 2019, a large piece of an Airbus test aircraft was found by an inhabitant of the village of Daux, near Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS), France. “We confirm an aircraft part has been found and we are investigating the issue internally,” Airbus told AeroTime.


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