The safest unsafe plane this week

And it isn’t the planes that landed on top of each other at a small airport outside of Dallas.

A Hawaiian Air flight returned to Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport on Friday after rivets popped out of a non-structural wing panel and a panel actually separated from the plane. One passenger claims to have seen the rivets pop (which I’m not so sure about since they would’ve been flying at ~500mph and the rivets are pretty small and would go pretty quickly). Other passengers claimed to hear popping sounds, which is much more likely.

Either way, the plane was completely safe, even though the panel popped off and there were a bunch of loose rivets, according to a Hawaiian Air spokesperson. I’m not sure how they figure that, other than the “it is safe until it has crashed” theory of aircraft maintenance, so that’s definitely an interesting view. At least this one turned back, unlike the AA flight a couple weeks ago, so there won’t be a cat-fight between the pilots and flight attendants about the decision of whether to fly or not.

At least the airline is admitting that the situation is “highly unusual.”

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.