Delta Air Lines Flight is Forced to Return to JFK After Emergency Slide Detaches During Climb-Out

by Anthony Losanno
Delta 767-300

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Delta Air Lines flight DL520 was forced to return to New York John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) after an emergency exit slide detached as the plane was climbing out. The flight crew quickly noticed an alert and made the decision to return.


The aircraft landed safely without any injuries for the 176 passengers and seven crew members. The 33-year-old Boeing 767-300ER was taken out of service. Passengers were accommodated with a replacement Boeing 767. They will reach Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) about 3.5 hours delayed.

FlightAware DL52

NPR reports that a “flight deck indication related to the right wing emergency exit slide, as well as a sound from near the right wing” were observed (according to a statement from Delta). The plane circled a bit before returning.

Delta’s Statement continued:

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 aircraft involved in this incident is around 34 years old according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is not the first incident that has caused issues. Last June, the same aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) after another technical problem surfaced. Prior to that, it was hit by a bird strike in 2016 and a cracked windshield in 2014.

Anthony’s Take: This aircraft is a little long in the tooth and should be close to its retirement age. Thankfully, this incident led to no further issues for any of the passengers or crew.

(Featured Image Credit: Delta Air Lines and FlightAware.)

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