Plane forced to dump fuel over Lake Michigan

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DETROIT (AP) — A Delta Air Lines spokesman says a flight on its way to Seoul, South Korea, had to dump fuel and return to Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a cockpit light showed there was possibly an open maintenance panel on the outside of the aircraft.

The Detroit Free Press reports that spokesman Trebor Banstetter said Flight 159 took off from Detroit at 4:48 p.m. Saturday and that the indicator light came on about 30 minutes later.

Banstetter said the aircraft circled Lake Michigan and dumped fuel for about an hour to help ensure a safe landing. He said the plane, which had 375 passengers on board, landed “safely without incident” shortly before 7 p.m.

He added that maintenance staff would look at the plane and the Atlanta-based airline would accommodate passengers.

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    • Citizen1

      What the article fails to provide is the altitude. Fuel dumps must occur above 5,000ft, which minimizes the amount of fuel that ever reaches the ground, due to evaporation. This plane left at 4:48pm and reached an altitude of 28,000ft by 5:07pm. It remained at this altitude during the dump and only started dropping altitude at 6:24pm. The plane landed at 6:53pm. It was well above the altitude required to ensure evaporation of fluid. The real question should be about environmental concerns to the air, not necessarily Lake Michigan, as there was likely no fuel that ever made it that far. Times and altitudes were provided by flightaware.