The damage to the airplane is substantial but certainly not catastrophic. All damaged items are going to be replaced and as soon as the airplane is sort of airworthy(ish) it will be flown to EGSS to receive some TLC from FLS Aerospace. Looks like it will be out of service for in excess of 10 days with a probable spares cost tag in the region of 750K.
Hardly an outlier for hail damage. Looks well within the experience band. Unless other data is available, this may turn out to be more of an economic repair issue than a safety issue considering that it was able to fly home.
I wonder how many other flights tried to penetrate the same front/altitude.
This has happened a few times recently, it appears that the weather radar 'sees' moisture and rain very well, but when it freezes and becomes 'dry' it doesn't show as well. I have had massive returns from what was basically a summer shower and hardly anything out of the tops of a well developed mid atlantic CB.
is it me or does it seem like the engine circumference (for lack knowledge what u call it!) took a beasting but the fan blades seem in pretty good shape?
is this a safety design feature for exactly this sorta thing?
The fan blade design is sized for bird ingestion resistance and the resulting robustness easily accomodates up to 2 inch dia hailstones. This is less of a chalenge as the airspeed increases above takeoff (vector stuff).
Unfortunately increasing airspeed is worse for non-rotating structures like leading edges of wings and inlets. Typically major damage begins to show up at about 250 kts thus the need to slow down when entering a front if you want to avoid this kind of damage.
Even though, hailstones have a small surface area and hit at quite some speed so wouldn't a higher force of pressure be exerted at the point of impact?
Nope This is getting a little technical, but both bodies behave as fluid pressure sources and it takes a specific footprint vs mass to cause visible damage. Thus the bird resistance just about washes with the hail resistance at the same conditions and hail is even more easily resisted on spinning fan blades at the higher aircraft speeds associated with climb and descent.
matt, the "engine circumference" I believe is usually referred to as the nacelle/nose cowl and in addition to the answers already given, it is made of aluminium alloy whereas the fan blades are made of alloys that are a lot harder and tougher such as titanium/nimonic.
On one of the pictures that Landing-24R has put a link to, the is a clear image of the 737 tail section. Looking on the side of the fusilage just under the front of the tail plane is what looks like a slot with further back at about the midpoint, what could be a hing. Am I right in interpreting this as an all moving tail plane ? If so, I never realised that large transports had them . . .just little pipers.