Hail Encounter

Severely damaged by hail, a Citation seeks renewal. But can it be fixed?

Last year when a Citation II on approach to Amsterdam flew through tennis-ball sized hail at 10,000 feet and 250 knots, it emerged, as one might guess, far worse for the wear. As you can see here, the encounter caused heavy damage to the airplane's nose, wiping out the radome. Also visible on the nose and in the background is damage to the airplane's skins, especially to the wing leading edges and vertical and horizontal tail surfaces. Furthermore, the wingtips, pitot tubes and antennas were all heavily damaged. Thankfully, the nightmare was over in about 15 seconds, and the crew was able to land the airplane safely.

You might guess that, after incurring such damage, the airplane would be bound for the scrap pile, but you'd be wrong. Workers at Jet Aviation's facility in Saarbrucken, Germany, were able to resurrect the Citation. After a ferry flight back from Amsterdam (for which we wouldn't have volunteered) the folks at Jet Aviation got to work on the Citation, replacing the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, re-skinning the leading edges and replacing the turbofans' air inlets, as well as the cabin and baggage doors. A new paint job (for obvious reasons) and an interior refurbishment (for reasons we can only guess) finished off the project. In all, it took close to six months, 3,000 hours of labor and an undisclosed but certainly sizable chunk of change to make this Citation airworthy again.