A China Southern A380 on route from Guangzhou to Beijing was severely battered by hail at 37,000 feet Sunday.
The aircraft windscreens were all severely damaged and the aircraft nose also heavily impacted.
The turbulence was described as “like being on a roller coaster”.
The captain landed the aircraft safely despite the problems.
It’s rare to have hail at that height, but a combination of factors contributed.
Heavy pollution creates dust particles, which permit ice crystals to form more quickly over China’s major industrial areas. Add that to strong winds and temperature changes in updrafts, and it throws the hail upward into higher altitudes, where the cold air allows them to stick together into clumps of ice.
In any event it’s a testament to the build of the A380 and the pilots skill that everyone was landed without incident.