Emergency Exit Slide Detaches As Delta Flight Takes Off, Forces Return to New York JFK

Delta Air Lines flight 520 from New York JFK to Los Angeles had a piece of the aircraft fall off during climb out this morning, with emergency equipment meeting the flight on arrival. Delta substituted another Boeing 767, and passengers were sent on their way – expected to land in Los Angeles three and a half hours late.

I understand that crew received a flight deck notification for a problem with the emergency exit slide on the right wing, and heard a sound coming from the area by the right wing. They declared an emergency and air traffic control gave them priority back to the airport. The plane returned to the gate under its own power.

Here’s what the aircraft looked like on the ground:

All 176 customers and 7 crewmembers on board the Boeing 767-300ER were fine. According to a Delta Air Lines spokesperson,

As nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people, Delta flight crews enacted their extensive training and followed procedures to return to JFK. We appreciate their professionalism and our customers’ patience for the delay in their travels.

The 33 year old aircraft, registration N176DN, has in the past had engine problems, a cracked windshield, smoke in the cockpit, and a bird strike.

(HT: Todd B)

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  1. Yikes! This is the most premium route in the country. Any delays here affect the schedules of VIPs. Airlines should be flying the newest, most pored over planes on this route.

  2. Hopefully, Delta Air Lines ordered the premium emergency exit slide for this Boeing 767aircraft.
    Inquiring minds want to know where the detached exit slide landed.

  3. Don’t know how I missed that here. I check out this blog almost religiously. Will go back and check it out.

  4. DL better get ready for oversight like UA. . .this is the 2nd or 3rd escape slide and those 767 need to go. . .should have kept the NWA 787 order.

  5. @GUWonder: Maybe Delta Air Lines would let her fly as a lap child, but she would not earn any valuable Sky Miles.

  6. Should Pothole Pete put his years of “transportation expertise” into practice so planes don’t fall apart in flight?

  7. I fly this route on a semi frequent basis, and always pick the flights that use the new 330neo. Those old 767s are trash. Delta can’t replace them fast enough.

  8. “The 33 year old aircraft, registration N176DN…”

    Delta needs to retire these ancient 767-300 birds asap, some with nearly 150,000 flight hours! With their outdated interiors…I’ve always avoided them as they lacked wifi well into the mid 2010s.

    Keeping these in the fleet another day dilutes the brand, which is now known for its new A321s and A330s & 350s.

  9. Got prove it but I read a few years ago DL has the oldest aircraft on average. This plane is 30 years old. Are we now going to have to check an aircraft’s age before boarding or booking if possible? DL does pride itself on its superior level of aircraft maintenance.

  10. Delta really should retire the 763 fleet asap and just take the short-term hit on capacity. Those planes are such trash and mishaps like this are bound to continue when you fly such ancient planes.

  11. UA’s average fleet age is about 2 years older than DL’s.
    DL and UA’s 767 fleets – of both the -300ER and 400s – is about the same age.

    DL says the -300ERs will come off of international routes by 2028 and be retired by 2030.

    DL is retiring several -300ERs this year and several more of the oldest 767s are likely to be retired in the next couple year; another group will probably be retired in the 2026-28 time frame.

    The 767-300ER provides flex capacity for peak summer traffic and operates the majority of JFK-LAX and eastern US to Hawaii capacity.
    DL is still the largest passenger operator of the 757 and 767 in the world. Given that the 767 is Boeing’s only remaining widebody model at DL, we can hope Boeing will get itself sorted out and Delta will order a new Boeing widebody model before the 767 is retired.

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