A Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to Washington made an emergency landing in Denver on Thursday after the plane’s windshield shattered in mid-air.
After the crew of Delta Flight 760 “declared an emergency due to a cracked windshield,” the flight landed safely at Denver International Airport around 11:15 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. communicated. The cause of the windshield crack is still undetermined, but the FAA said it will investigate.
Delta spokeswoman Melissa B. Long confirmed the plane, a Boeing 757, had a “mid-flight maintenance issue.” but did not provide information on when the windshield began to crack or why.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the flight crew diverted to Denver and the aircraft landed smoothly,” Ms. Long said in a statement on Saturday. “Our team worked quickly to accommodate customers on a new aircraft, and we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans.”
A photo of a cockpit posted on Twitter shows a windshield lined with multiple fractures and cracks but still kept within its framework.
According to KUTV, a CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City, one of the 198 passengers on board the flight said that about 90 minutes after takeoff, an announcement was made that the plane would land in Denver.
“They came on the speakerphone saying the windshield had shattered and we were heading to Denver in about 10 minutes,” passenger Rachel Wright told KUTV. “I was sure I had heard them wrong, but that was not the case.”
She said the crew asked passengers to remain calm during their diversion.
“They kept telling everyone to keep calm, be calm, and we were calm, so being told to keep calm while we were calm made us feel a little panicked,” he said. Mrs. Wright at KUTV.
Cockpit windshields typically contain two panes of thick glass with a plastic layer in between for heating as well as anti-icing and anti-fog systems, wrote John Cox, a former US Airways captain, in a USA Today column on airplanes in 2019. He said that in the event of a burst or break, either pane is capable of withstanding full pressure if the other is lost or broken.
He added that heating issues are usually the cause when the outermost pane of a cockpit windscreen cracks, forming cobweb-like patterns on the glass. Windshields are more likely to crack while a plane is climbing than during other phases of a flight, Cox says, but he’s heard of several pilots who have had cracked windshields in the air. cruising altitude.
Planes are designed to stay safe if a windshield or cabin window cracks, he said. “Although it happens occasionally,” Mr. Cox wrote in USA Today, “it is infrequent.” Most pilots will descend to reduce pressure and plan a diversion if necessary.