What Caused This Plane’s Windshield To Shatter While In Flight?

After the plane’s windshield shattered mid-flight, a Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to Washington made an emergency landing in Denver on Thursday.

A statement provided by Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson, Melissa B. Long said that The Boeing 757, carrying 198 passengers made a safe emergency landing in Denver at around 11:35 a.m. on Thursday “after the crew declared an emergency due to a cracked windshield.”

One of the passengers aboard the flight told KUTV, a CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City, that an announcement was made around 90 minutes after takeoff that the jet would be landing in Denver.

“They came on the loudspeaker saying that the windshield had shattered, and we were diverting to Denver in about 10 minutes,” the passenger, Rachel Wright said. “I was sure I had misheard them, but I hadn’t.”

She said that the crew asked the passengers to remain calm while they rerouted.

“They kept coming on saying for everyone to stay calm, to be calm, and we were calm, so being told to stay calm while we were calm made us feel a little panicky,” Ms. Wright continued.

A photo of a cockpit posted on Twitter shows a windshield lined with multiple fractures and cracks but still held in its frame.

On Saturday, Ms. Long said in a statement:

“Out of an abundance of caution, the flight crew diverted into Denver and the plane landed routinely,”

“Our team worked quickly to accommodate customers on a new plane, and we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans.”

In 2019, John Cox, a former US Airways captain, noted in a USA Today editorial on aircraft that cockpit windshields typically have two panes of thick glass with a plastic layer in between for heating as well as anti-ice and anti-fog devices. In the event of shattering or rupturing, he claims that either glass pane can sustain full pressure if the other is lost or broken.

Airplanes are designed to remain safe if a windshield or cabin window cracks, he said. “While this does happen occasionally,” Mr. Cox wrote in USA Today, “it is infrequent.” Most pilots will descend to reduce the pressure and plan on a diversion if necessary.

Sources: Dailywire, Theguardian, Reuters