Wing panel falls off Japanese prime minister's jumbo

From Reuters - January 11, 2018

TOKYO (Reuters) - A panel the size of a laptop computer fell off one of the Japanese prime ministers jumbo jets, the defense force said on Friday, a potentially embarrassing mishap amid concern over the dangers posed by parts falling off U.S. military aircraft based in Japan.

Officials noticed the panel was missing from the Boeing 747, one of two jetliners used by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for foreign trips, after it flew from Tokyo to its base on the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, a spokesman for the Japan Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.

The part, measuring 38 cm (15 inches) by 20 cm, has not been found. It is an access panel near the pylon connecting one of the engines to the right wing.

There was no sign of it on the runways so its going to be very difficult to locate, the spokesman said.

A recent string of incidents involving U.S. aircraft based on Japans southern island of Okinawa prompted Japans Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera on Tuesday to ask his U.S. counterpart James Mattis to implement measures that would prevent any recurrences.


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