0 min left

Scotch Tape on a Cracked Plane Window. Should You Worry?

SpiceJet has responded to a concerned customer after it was tweeted that a crack in one of its aircraft windows was held together by cello tape.

On a flight from Mumbai to Delhi, passenger Hariharan Sankaran posted a picture of the window to Twitter with the caption, “Spicejet flight SG8152 (VT-SYG) Mumbai to Delhi flying (5 Nov 2019) with a broken window stuck with cello tape. Isn’t it a major safety concern? Anyone listening?”

One person responded to the tweet suggesting that if cello tape was applied to the crack, then the airline must be aware of the issue. SpiceJet responded to Mr. Sankaran’s tweet, “Hi Hariharan, at SpiceJet, safety is our utmost concern and at no point in time does the airline compromise on the same. We shall surely convey this to the concerned head for necessary action. The inconvenience caused is regretted.”

News outlets cited this incident as “a major safety event,” prompting Twitter users to voice concerns as if this was a life-threatening issue. One person said, “we should wait for someone to be sucked out of the window, then there will be an action.. sab kutch chalega!” However, SpiceJet quickly shut those comments down. They wrote, “we would like to update you that the crack was on the inner flexi pane and was fixed the same day. The purpose of the inner pane is to protect the window from scratches. The inner pane doesn’t carry structural pressurization loads. Please be assured that at no point in time was safety compromised.”

In 2018, a woman was partially sucked out of a Southwest Airlines aircraft window following the explosion of one its engines, so the SpiceJet crack is an understandable concern.

[Image: Twitter/ Hariharan Sankaran]

Comments are Closed.
wringme November 15, 2019

Most of what is stated here is accurate - if not entirely correct. The 'window' in question, if on a commercial aircraft, is manufactured from either cast acrylic (Mil-P-5425) or a polycarbonate material - brand name 'Lexan' for instance. The purpose of this 'dust cover', or 'acoustic pane' is to protect the window assembly, which is entirely different from the pane being referenced. The assembly is actually composed of two individual windows held in place by a rubber gasket material. The material is a stretched acrylic Mil-P-8184 and both these windows will not crack. The inner window of the assembly (generally 187" - .220") s protection in case the outer windows is fails. Despite the thin gauge, it would be extremely difficult to break this. The material will not crack and even if subject to heavy attack, will likely survive. This inner window has a small hole drilled in it at the very bottom. This whole allows internal pressurization to reach the outer window and 'push the window against the fuselage. These are quite expensive windows so, as stated, the dust cover serves a function by not letting camera lenses or sharp objects to damage it. The outer window, generally .300" -. 500" depending on design, is open to the atmosphere. These windows are exposed to very significant external temperatures during the take off and landing cycles. They fly at very high altitudes with extremely cold temperatures and then, within a relatively short period, can be on a tarmac at 100 + degrees. These windows are very tough! They are subject to environmental conditions and will, if left in place too long (more than a D-check) often show signs of craze. Craze is chemical attack and will cause the index of refraction on the surface of the window to degrade. Sometimes, the window will appear to be covered with small cracks or scratches. These are not physical scratches but just the way the light is reflected off the change in molecular alignment. If you observe closely, you will see that these 'scratches' begin in the center of the outer windows because this is the area where the pressurization if most impactful. As the craze develops, the appearance will slowly, over months, move away from the center, where the stress is the greatest, At times, these windows can be ground and polished and returned to service without any loss of structural integrity. Do not worry about being sucked through an aircraft window unless you notice a large fragment of titanium enter the cabin from an exterior explosion of an engine. Then again, if you do experience this 1 in a billion occurrence, remember, it is not the window manufacturers fault!

tod701 November 15, 2019

As noted, this pane has no structural function. You can break it by hand when holding it if you wanted to. While protecting the actual window pane from passenger related damage is a secondary function, the primary reason for this part is to provide a thermal barrier. The surface of the actual window pane at cruise can be between -30F to -60F.

Danwriter November 15, 2019

"In 2018, a woman was partially sucked out of a Southwest Airlines aircraft window following the explosion of one its engines, so the SpiceJet crack is an understandable concern." Knowing that the interior window cover is not part of the pressure hull of the A/C, this statement is astoundingly inane.

GulkanaAlaska November 12, 2019

ayrshiredude is correct. If you look closely you'll see that the crack runs to the edge of the inside window "frame". This window pane is made of plastic and is there to keep folks from damaging the pressure window (on the outside) that is made of glass. Someone had to really pound on that inside plastic window to break it,

ayrshiredude November 11, 2019

Although the photo isn't that clear I am assuming the tape is on the inside which is not the main window but a cover. There is no way the outside window would be held by sticky tape when the plane is pressurised. So ultimately not a safety issue.