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Plane Returns To Airport It Departed From After Nine Hour Flight When Windshield Cracks

Plane Returns To Airport It Departed From After Nine Hour Flight When Windshield Cracks

The bang caused by the crack could be heard in the passengers' cabin

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

A Boxing Day flight from the Netherlands to Brazil was forced to abort its journey and return after the windscreen cracked.

The KLM flight KL705 left Amsterdam Schiphol at 10.41am and was due to land in Rio de Janeiro at 18.20pm - local times.

But about a third of the way into the 12-hour trip the pilots were forced to turn the aircraft around when they realised that the outer pane of the windshield was cracked.

According to reports, the sound of the break in the glass was so loud that it would be heard in the passengers' cabin.

The plane returned to Amsterdam around nine hours and 10 minutes after it had originally departed.

The flight turned around over four hours into the journey.

A spokesperson for the airline told the Independent that passengers were safe and well, and were boarded onto another flight.

They said: "After 4.5 hours of flight it was decided to return to Amsterdam to repair a technical issue. The safety of passengers was not at risk.

"The plane landed safely at Schiphol at about 8pm local time.

"Passengers got on board a new aircraft and continued their journey at 8.30pm local time."

But while a broken windshield might sound scary, it might not actually be as dangerous as you would think.

John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways, and in an article for USA Today, revealed how aircrafts are designed to be able to continue their course even if one of the two layers of a windscreen is damaged.

He said: "Cockpit windshields contain two panes of thick glass with a plastic layer in between for heating.

Passengers were boarded onto another flight to complete their journey.

"Either pane is capable of holding full pressure if the other is lost. Typically, a heating problem will cause the outer pane to crack, and the spiderweb will progress.

"The side windows in the flight deck are similar to the windshields. While not quite as thick, either pane can hold pressure if necessary.

"In my experience, windshields are more likely to crack while climbing than in other phases of flight. However, I know several pilots who have experience cracked windshields at cruising altitude.

"Cabin windows are a bit different. They are plastic and not subject to air or structural loading. While there is an inner pane, it is thinner and not as strong. Consequently, they are not as robust.

"On the upside, window cracks typically do not progress like they do on windshields."

Adding: "Airplanes are designed to remain safe if a windshield or cabin window cracks. While this does happen occasionally, it is infrequent. Pilots will descend to reduce the pressure and plan on a diversion if necessary."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, US News, travel, Technology, Brazil