Published on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Near disaster as jet flipped over by wake of A380

An incident in which an executive jet was flipped on its back, rolled over and plunged 10,000 feet after hitting turbulence caused by an A380 is being investigated by aviation safety authorities.

The near-disaster, which happened over the Arabian Sea, has accelerated moves by regulators to counter the danger caused by the wakes of larger aircraft, including the Airbus superjumbo.

The medium-sized business jet, a Challenger 604, was carrying 11 passengers and crew and flying at 34,000 feet when it passed below an A380, which is believed to have been an Emirates flight travelling in the opposite direction from Dubai to Sydney.

The Challenger was caught in its wake, flipped upside down and performed up to five rolls as it plunged towards the sea.

The pilot managed to steady the aircraft and it landed in Muscat, with several injured passengers. The jet, owned by Germany-based MHS Aviation, was damaged beyond repair.

The incident, which is being investigated by the German air accident agency, has also raised concerns that the double-deck A380 causes more danger than had previously been considered with its wake turbulence — vortices generated at aircraft wingtips, which can act like horizontal tornadoes.

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