A German private jet was flipped on to its back, rolled and plunged 10,000 ft but did not crash after hitting turbulence caused by a superjumbo. The near-disaster, in which passengers were seriously injured and the Challenger aircraft damaged beyond repair, has accelerated moves by regulators to counter the danger caused by the wakes of big airliners.Bombardier Challenger 604 – the plane involved in the sensational near-crash.
The terrifying incident happened on January 7, when a Bombardier Challenger 604 business jet en route over the Arabian sea, about 630 nautical miles southeast of Muscat, Oman, flew 1,000ft below an Emirates Airbus A380-800 flying from Dubai to Sydney in the opposite direction.The jet fell into an uncontrollable spin.
Though the accident occurred two-and-a-half months ago, information of the incident was only recently revealed in a report by the Aviation Herald.
The wake turbulence caused by the superjumbo Airbus – the world’s largest passenger jet – was so powerful that about one minute after it passed by, G-force sent the Challenger, which was flying at 34,000 feet, into an uncontrolled roll that flipped the aircraft between three and five times.
Wake turbulence is formed behind an aircraft as it flies through the air, much like a boat creates a wake in the water.The luxury interior of the exclusive private jet. An aftermath image of the Bombardier Challenger with broken seats.
It is exacerbated by a pair of vortices - whirling masses of air - that spin from the wingtips. The vortices are mostly created when a plane is flying slow and the wings are working hardest to produce lift.
The bigger the plane, the bigger the wakes. The most virulent wakes leave smaller planes vulnerable if they run into one.
The near-crash, which is being investigated by the German air accident agency, has raised concerns about the Airbus 380, the world’s largest passenger jet. Industry experts are now calling for moves by regulators to counter the danger caused by the wakes of big airliners.
In September 2012, a Virgin Australia Boeing 737 hit wake turbulence made by an Emirates A380 near Bali. Both planes made it to their destinations safely. In 2011, an Air France Airbus A320 rolled left to an angle of 25-30 degrees after also hitting wake turbulence made by an Emirates A380. No one was injured.