Four Months After Hard Landing at JFK, Crippled RAM 767 Nearly Repaired
Despite what was surely a very bumpy ride, the crew maintained control through the rollout. She exited the runway, taxied to the gate, deplaned her passengers and underwent normal post-flight procedures. Although the flight crew almost certainly must have known that the landing was out of the ordinary, nothing was ever reported to the tower or ground, some say because they were “shy.”
Move forward a few hours to preparations for Royal Air Maroc Flight 201, the return leg which is normally operated by the same aircraft. After crews had moved the plane from a hardstand to the gate, loading it with cargo and catering and commencing boarding, the First Officer trudged out into the still pouring rain and continued high winds to perform his pre-flight walk around. And that’s when he noticed something wasn’t right: A blemish in the outer skin, at roughly the same time passengers noticed water running down the side panels of the cabin. Closer inspection revealed that 767′s outer skin was seriously compromised. Needless to say, thankfully RAM 201 never left the gate that night.
The plane was moved to a hangar where she could be inspected to ascertain the entire scope of the damage. It was dramatic: Multiple joints, ribbing and fasteners were either crushed or shattered like glass. The nose gear area suffered internal damage, and the outer skin was split open so much in some spots it was easy to see to the sky from the inside of the plane.
A team lead by Boeing with assistance from Delta Tech Ops was tasked with the repair. For four months she has remained at JFK, during which she’s been stripped down to her skeleton, her outer skin removed removed in damaged areas. The Boeing techs went to work essentially rebuilding these sections from scratch at an estimated cost of $11 million.
Today CN-RNT is being tested to take to the skies again where she’ll be flown to a paint facility, repainted and then put back into commercial service. Some question the reliability of the repairs but having interacted with many professionals from the Boeing Company I’d would gladly buy a seat on this bird.