After flying from Dallas-Fort Worth to Brussels on February 26th, a Singapore Airlines 747-400F was found to have damage to its body during a post-flight inspection. Images posted to Twitter show that the metal skin of the jumbo jet had been punctured, forming multiple holes. The largest of these holes looks to be at least 20 inches in diameter.
After completing an uneventful flight
According to The Aviation Herald, the Singapore Airlines 747-400 freighter was performing flight SQ7951 from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Brussels (BRU). The jumbo jet took off from Dallas’ runway 36R and completed an uneventful flight, which lasted just under nine hours, according to RadarBox.com data.
After landing at Brussels on February 26th at 16:20 on runway 25R, the jet vacated the runway via high-speed turnoff A6, taxiing to the apron.
It was only during a post-flight inspection that the damage to the aircraft’s skin was discovered. The photos below show that the area around the right-hand gear had been damaged, with at least four distinct holes.
Singapore Cargo Boeing 747-400F (9V-SFO, built 2004) received major impact damage to its right body gear door. The damage was detected at Brussels (EBBR), Belgium after the acft had flown SIN-HKG-ANC-LAX-DFW-BRU. https://t.co/R2hML3yF1z pic.twitter.com/94Tez07z7B
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) February 27, 2021
So what happened?
Sources report that there is yet to be any verifiable information available as to the cause of the damage. However, initial information suggests that stones may have fallen out of a truck that was being used for construction work at Brussels airport. The truck carrying the stones had been crossing the runway. These stones were then thrown upwards by the aircraft wheels as it touched down at high speed.
The Aviation Herald goes on to say that no runway or taxiway excursions were visible in Dallas or Brussels, according to ADS-B data transmitted by the aircraft. Furthermore, there were no NOTAMs (notice to airmen) issued regarding taxiway A6 or runway 07L/25R.
About the aircraft
The Boeing 747-400F operated by Singapore Airlines is registered as 9V-SFO and has been flying with SIA since it was delivered from Boeing in 2004. The jet, MSN 32900 and Line No. 1349, is just over 16 and a half years of age.
Prior to the damage discovery, the aircraft had been flying an extensive round-the-world itinerary. The 747 departed Singapore Changi on February 21st and had continued on to the following destinations: HKG-ANC-LAX-DFW-BRU.
Flight data shows that the aircraft remains on the ground in Brussels – at least at the time of writing- approximately 36 hours after landing.
Data from Planespotters.net indicates that Singapore Airlines has seven 747-400 freighters flying for its cargo division. Collectively, the aircraft have an average age of 17.3 years, with the youngest at 15 years and the oldest at 20.5 years. The airline has no other dedicated, permanent freighters in its fleet.
What do you think happened here? Could it be anything other than the Brussels truck explanation? Let us know in the comments.
Simple Flying reached out to Brussels Airport for a comment on the issue. At the time of publication, no response was received.