Jumbo jet with 20 people aboard takes off with missing and damaged window panes in latest runway bungle

Originally published at: Jumbo jet with 20 people aboard takes off with missing and damaged window panes in latest runway bungle | Boing Boing


It’s sheer good fortune that this flight had a load master and an engineer on board.


But alas, the engineer’s duct tape was in the cargo hold, so no east in-flight fix. /silly


A little Flex Seal should take care of that problem. And since when has the Airbus A321 ever been considered a jumbo jet?



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“The investigation has not yet established the
reason for the specified minimum distance from the object to be illuminated.”

But the anecdotal evidence is looking convincing…


What the hell kind of lighting would melt window seals?? The same kind that can give people sunburned eyes?


I was once on a flight that was waiting forever to leave the gate. The captain made an announcement about a maintenance issue. A teenager sitting a few rows behind me made a loud crack about how they need to find the duct tape. A minute later a maintenance guy walks down the aisle holding a huge roll of duct tape, and the entire plane starts laughing at him. Poor guy.

It’s usually not, since it’s not a widebody. But it has roughly the same capacity as a 767-200, which I think most people would say is a jumbo.


Obviously the pressurization pumps were keeping up so the pressure looked ok. But I’m wondering if there is any other cockpit instrumentation that could have indicated a larger than normal work load on the pumps?


Intense halogen lights used for filming placed too close to the aircraft for too long caused weakening of the silicone seals holding the window panes in place.

A 60W bulb in your ceiling light isn’t terribly bright but in an easy-bake oven where it is held next to the baking pan it will cook brownies


Not at that altitude. They didn’t get much higher that 14,000 feet and that wouldn’t cause any warning conditions. That’s the altitude that freefall skydivers use. No additional oxygen required.

Pressure falls off quicker above 18,000 feet. At that altitude the pressure is only around 9psi and the cabin pressure sensors would definitely measure that.


It’s “speed tape” and is routinely used for temporary minor surface repairs.



'Jumbo jet? C’mon there is only one Jumbo jet and that is the Boeing 747. The A321 is a minnow in comparison - and nowhere near as pretty.

Still, at least it was identified before anything bad happened - it’s not like someone fitted too short bolts to the cockpit windows and then took off:


Considered how those panes were attached to the fuselage I doubt they made part of the pressure vessel. Probably the plane would hold pressurization just fine, but it would definitely disturb the airflow and expose the inner, more critical panes, to wind and temperatures that ultimately they are not designed for. Turning back was obviously the right choice, but I don’t think the situation was as dangerous as it looks.

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I seem to recall private pilots of light aircraft are supposed to do a walk-round inspection before taking off.
Don’t commercial pilots do the same? That picture seemed to suggest anyone doing so would have seen missing windows before the engines were even fired up!


The outer panes are used to maintain pressure. The inner plastic is just there to prevent passengers from whacking the outer pane. This was a pretty dangerous situation. At the time there was no telling what the true extent of the damage was.


The pilots are inspecting the control surfaces, landing gear and the engines during the walk-around. I wouldnt expect them to be looking at windows. Also it isn’t clear how obvious the damage was before takeoff. Keep in mind too that commercial aircraft are very large and the windows are relatively high up and aren’t easily inspectable from the ground.


Sure, but that picture looks like it was taken from the ground. A glance alone might have drawn some attention to the issue. Though, yeah, maybe it was more obvious afterwards if the actual flying was what made the panes slip once the seals were compromised.


Yes I expect that was the case. Loose things tend not to stay put for long in the slipstream.


I’ve definitely seen commercial pilots do walkarounds before flights. But it’s not clear they would have noticed the melted seals. It seems the panes may have fallen off after the plane departed (they found one shattered on a taxiway and the report suggests the other two were simply missing).