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Airline experts explain why some planes appear to have duct tape on the wings

Airline experts explain why some planes appear to have duct tape on the wings

It's definitely an unnerving sight to spot on a plane

Experts with knowledge of the aviation industry have, thankfully, given an explanation for why some planes appear to be held together with duct tape.

If there's a mode of transport out there that you really want to be in tip-top shape, it's an aeroplane.

As passengers, we don't have any control over where the plane ends up, and it's not exactly like you can pull over into the sky's hard-shoulder if something starts to go wrong.

With that in mind, it's unsurprising that alarm bells would start ringing at the sight of duct tape on a plane. And we're not talking a bit of tape over a ripped seat, but actually on the wing of a plane. You know, the things that help them fly.

An image of one such sight went viral recently after being shared by Australian opera singer David Wakeham, who posted a picture of a plane wing covered in tape and wrote: "When choosing your favourite airline, choose wisely. Profits before safety."

Now, I know that duct tape is strong, but I probably wouldn't trust it against the strength of the wind when you're powering through the sky.

Thankfully, however, it turns out we don't have to be quite as concerned as you might initially think.

Factcheckers CheckMate, from RMIT FactLab, determined that the plane was likely a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and pointed to a document issued by the US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in which Boeing explained that certain model 787 jets were 'prone to paint adhesion failures due to Ultra Violet (UV) ray damage'.

In layman's terms, this means the paint was peeling, and the tape visible in the image was likely 'speed tape' - which is regularly used in the aviation industry - to cover up the cosmetic issue.

The document explained that the issue could cause a risk to airline personnel using 'vacuum-type fall arrest protection systems', but it didn't warn of any risk to passenger safety.

A spokesperson for Boeing has described the peeling paint as a 'cosmetic issue only' to aviation industry publication Simple Flying, adding: "[T]he peeling does not affect the structural integrity of the wing, and does not affect the safety of flight."

The safety of the planes was further reiterated by a spokesperson for Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), who told CheckMate it was 'aware of paint peeling or being removed on some aircraft for various reasons', and explained: "Any repairs, including temporary tape repairs, must be made in accordance with approved maintenance instructions.

"Approved temporary repairs do not pose a safety risk to passengers."

So there you have it. If you see a bit of duct tape flying through the air while on your way to a relaxing weekend getaway, don't panic that the wing is about to fall off.

UNILAD has reached out to Boeing for a comment.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: @wakehamdavid/Twitter/Bailey-Cooper Photography/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Travel, Viral