Airbus A340 Flies with Broken Wing

November 4, 2007, London- Wow! That was an exciting headline. The trick was that the SriLankan Airlines Airbus took of after it had clipped the wing of a 747 during taxi at Heathrow Airport. No biggie.

The British Airways 747 came off the loser in the mishap and sustained more damage. The Sirilakans merely removed the winglet and certified the aircraft for flight.

That’s the British 747 on the right.
When the same passengers reboarded the aircraft the next day some of them noticed about five feet missing from the right wing. When the aircrew admitted that the right winglet was missing, some of the passengers balked. There was about a two hour delay as their baggage was off loaded. The Airbus then completed its 10 hour flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The winglets on modern aircraft are there to increase fuel efficiency by redirecting air flow coming off the wings. They are not part of the control systems nor do they provide lift as the wings do. The removal of the winglet, while unusual, did not pose a safety risk to flight.

If you were a passenger on this flight,what would you have done?