The Need to Evacuate Airplanes During a Powerful Typhoon

In the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly (Goni) today, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was not only emptied of passengers, crew, and airport personnel. Airplanes were also evacuated also as this is part of aviation safety standards.

Based on these standards, airlines should implement preemptive aircraft evacuation from the affected airport if surface wind speed reaches 50 knots or 92kph. Typhoon Rolly (International name Goni) was forecasted to pack winds of 215kph and gustiness of up to 295kph as of this writing.

An airplane is made to ride along the wind, hence, despite their size and weight, powerful winds can easily move and carry them. In 2014, a powerful typhoon named Glenda (international codename Rammasun) battered the Philippines and directly hit Metro Manila. 

The typhoon winds were very powerful that a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 with registry 9V-SRJ parked at NAIA was dragged about 5 meters away, causing it to hit an aerobridge. The engine and left wing suffered damages. No crew and passengers were on board that time. Typhoon Glenda packed winds of 165kph to 260kph. To think, this 777 was already anchored by its brakes. 

Also at NAIA during the onslaught of Glenda, a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 737-800 was dragged by strong winds, causing it to hit a mobile service stairs, resulting to huge damages.

Hence as a preemptive safety measure in anticipation of a powerful typhoon, airplanes are evacuated from the affected airport as not for it to be dragged which may cause more damage to the aircraft itself, to airport equipment, and to any structure.

Powerful winds have the capability to drag airplanes, not even an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 747 are spared.

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