China Southern flight CZ3101 from Guangzhou to Beijing operated by an Airbus A380 was forced to make a rapid descent from 37,000FT on the 26th of May 2019 after it encountered a hail storm causing damage to the aircraft.
The decision was made to make a rapid descent after the flight deck windshield became cracked. Although a flight deck windshield is made up of several layers of glass which can withstand being damage once the structure of the window has weakened, there is a risk of the windshield blowing out causing a decompression.
To avoid this, the flight crew will descend to a lower altitude (below 10,000FT) where pressurization is not required. This means that should the rare event of a complete windshield blow out occur it will not cause a decompression, and it also means that less pressure is pushing on the glass as the pressurization system is no longer push air into the aircraft and against the windows.
The aircraft was able to land safely after a total of 90 minutes in air from when the incident happened the flight landed safely at its destination airport of Beijing where passengers disembarked via jetways.
There was no report of any injuries to any passenger or crew on the flight. Upon landing the aircraft was inspected and found to be damaged in several areas most notably the radome (nose cone) the leading edge of the wing was also found to have dents and scratches alone it.
The aircraft registration B-6140 will be staying in Beijing until the repairs are carried out to ensure that it is fit to fly again. As a temporary measure to ensure no further damage occurs to any parts of the aircraft ground crews has covered up the damage parts with plastic sheets, the aircraft will be moved to a hanger to undergo the repair work.