Airplane Wing DamAAge – Looks Worse than it Is

Here's an

interesting article and amazing picture
of what American Airlines
politely describes as 'some de-lamination on the plane's right wing'.

Apparently an AA 757 on a short flight from
Miami to Orlando had one of the front 'slats' on its right wing
progressively break up during the flight, and of course there was a
person seated by the wing with a camera who took photos of the damage as
it was occuring.

While the damage looks serious, it isn't
really.  As

this picture
shows, the rear end ('trailing edge') of the slat is a
honeycombed piece of material that is connected to the somewhat more
solid front ('leading edge') of the slat.  Damage to the rear end
is unlikely to propagate forward to the stronger leading edge, and the
damage on the trailing edge does not seriously affect the plane's

Nonetheless, a scary thing to watch out the
window as your flight proceeds, particularly if you don't know that the
rear part of the slat is constructed differently to the front part.

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