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AA 37 (MAD-DFW) Diverted to LHR for cracked windshield 23 Mar 2019

AA 37 (MAD-DFW) Diverted to LHR for cracked windshield 23 Mar 2019

Old Mar 23, 19, 8:44 am
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AA 37 (MAD-DFW) Diverted to LHR for cracked windshield 23 Mar 2019

A couple hours out of Madrid, the cockpit windshield appears to have developed a crack. Plane diverted to Heathrow, flying at 300 knots and 10k feet.

On ground at LHR now.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post
A couple hours out of Madrid, the cockpit windshield appears to have developed a crack. Plane diverted to Heathrow, flying at 300 knots and 10k feet.

On ground at LHR now.
On that flight, I managed to take a photo of a photo of the cockpit windshield
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Old Mar 23, 19, 1:47 pm
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Wow, that's seems like a major crack. Although I don't know in reality how severe a crack like that is. It would make me nervous. Did they announce the issue during flight?
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Old Mar 23, 19, 2:36 pm
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Last month at ORD I spied an AA 787 with tape along the bottom edge of the windshield.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Last month at ORD I spied an AA 787 with tape along the bottom edge of the windshield.
It was left over tape from holding up oasisified overhead bins.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
It was left over tape from holding up oasisified overhead bins.
Bins were securely attached by zip ties! Don’t you doubt AA safety
enviroian and jtav559 like this.
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Old Mar 23, 19, 11:38 pm
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How urgent of a situation is this? Meaning, is it ‘get on the ground immediately as the plane is in imminent danger’, or ‘find the nearest large oneworld hub to track down a spare part?’
After looking at the path, it seems like they could have diverted to Portugal or back to Madrid but instead flew a fairly significant distance up to London. Just wondering...
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Old Mar 24, 19, 1:19 am
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Originally Posted by joeyE View Post
How urgent of a situation is this? Meaning, is it ‘get on the ground immediately as the plane is in imminent danger’, or ‘find the nearest large oneworld hub to track down a spare part?’
After looking at the path, it seems like they could have diverted to Portugal or back to Madrid but instead flew a fairly significant distance up to London. Just wondering...
Madrid probably doesn’t have a spare part cuz IB has Airbus fleet. Plus rebooking is easier in LHR.
But tbh I would not like to be in the air for a long time at 10000 feet.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
Wow, that's seems like a major crack. Although I don't know in reality how severe a crack like that is. It would make me nervous. Did they announce the issue during flight?
The pilot did indeed announce it. We descended to 10000 ft and turned around at a slow 300 knots to land in LHR. It was much calmer than I would have ever thought...
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Old Mar 24, 19, 6:35 am
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Originally Posted by joeyE View Post
How urgent of a situation is this? Meaning, is it ‘get on the ground immediately as the plane is in imminent danger’, or ‘find the nearest large oneworld hub to track down a spare part?’
After looking at the path, it seems like they could have diverted to Portugal or back to Madrid but instead flew a fairly significant distance up to London. Just wondering...
Clearly the pilot, after discussing the situation with the co-pilot and perhaps someone on the ground, made the determination that it was safe enough to continue to LHR at a reduced altitude and speed. They have zero incentive to take unnecessary risks just to get easier access to a spare part, or make passenger re-accommodation easier.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 8:16 am
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The announcement indicated that there was a crack in the cockpit windshield and they were losing pressure. I assumed it was a much smaller crack than what was actually present. The whole thing was pretty uneventful. The pilots seem to have handled the situation properly.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by joeyE View Post
How urgent of a situation is this? Meaning, is it ‘get on the ground immediately as the plane is in imminent danger’, or ‘find the nearest large oneworld hub to track down a spare part?’
After looking at the path, it seems like they could have diverted to Portugal or back to Madrid but instead flew a fairly significant distance up to London. Just wondering...
Plane seems NOT to have been in imminent danger if it descended to 10,000 MSL or below and proceeded to LHR, bypassing fields with long runways that could take a nearly fully laden and fueled 777. (It’s possible they’d have had to circle and dump fuel for some time to land at some nearer airports.)

Civil aviation requirements include supplemental oxygen on unpressurized aircraft above 10,000 feet. So, it appears the pilots descended and depressurized (normal pressurized cabin altitude for a 777 is ~8,000 feet MSL) and proceeded to a major airport where passengers could be rerouted and that had both engineers / mechanics and parts to address this.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 12:48 pm
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To the glass itself,

Aviation glass (windshields in particular) are pretty thick and safety laminated so that the glass holds together even if there is a crack. Similar to the windshield on your car if you have ever seen the aftermath of debris striking it. And depending on where the crack was in the glass - imagine looking at the profile of a Big-Mac, many layers put together, same concept on this glass - it could "look" a lot worse than it actually is.

That said, descending to FL100 and a slow cruise on over to LHR eliminated most of the pressure differential between cabin and atmosphere, leaving just wind resistance as the main force on the comprised glass surface.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
Wow, that's seems like a major crack. Although I don't know in reality how severe a crack like that is. It would make me nervous. Did they announce the issue during flight?

they did, crew were seated for the remainder of the flight, basically.
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