On the 27th of July, there were four incidents of minor damage to aircraft in and around the Turkish capital of Istanbul, caused by a heavy hail storm. The hail storm was part of a weather supercell, formed by a 10°C drop in temperature.
One of the first reported incidents, around 15:00 UTC, was damage to Kalitta Air Boeing 747-481F N403KZ (MSN 34018). The aircraft was operating for Turkish Airlines, and had arrived at Istanbul-Atatürk Int’l Airport from Frankfurt earlier that day, as TK6404 (callsign THY6404). She was parked on the southern cargo apron.
During the storm, rain, hail and strong wind gusts were reported. A cargo loading vehicle was blown across the apron and impacted the fuselage of the aircraft just to the right of the nose landing gear. The impact punctured a hole in fuselage.
Another incident, reported around 15:00 UTC, involved Turkish Airlines Airbus A321-231 TC-JRD (MSN 3015). The aircraft was operating flight TK969 (callsign THY9PY) from Tymvou Ercan Int’l to Istanbul-Atatürk.
THY9PY was descending for landing at Atatürk’s Runway 04, when it flew directly through the hailstorm, causing damage to the nose radome and right hand side cockpit window. The radome was slightly dented, and some of the paint was knocked off.
Due to the situation, the flight crew decided to divert to Canakkale Airport in Turkey, where the aircraft made a safe landing on Runway 04. At the time of writing, TC-JRD is still at Canakkale Airport.
A third incident, occurring around 15:40 UTC, involved Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-82R(WL) TC-AHP (MSN 40721). The aircraft was operating flight PC909 (callsign PGT37R) from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Vienna Schwechat.
The aircraft was climbing out of Sabiha Gökçen Airport when it flew directly through the hail storm. Damaged was sustained to the nose radome and the leading edges of the wings and horizontal stabilisers.
Due to the damage sustained, the flight crew made the decision to return to Sabiha Gökçen Airport for a safe landing on Runway 24. A replacement 737 reached Vienna with a delay of nearly 7 hours.
The last reported incident, and possibly the worst, involved Atlasglobal Ukraine Airbus A320-232 UR-AJC (MSN 1663). The aircraft was operating flight KK101 (callsign KKK4LC), on behalf of Atlasglobal, from Istanbul-Atatürk to Tymvou Ercan.
The aircraft departed Atatürk Airport and flew directly through the hailstorm, causing severe damage to the nose radome. The cockpit windows were cracked so badly that they became opaque.
The crew diverted back to Istanbul-Atatürk and made a safe landing on Runway 35L.