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Thomas Cook cracked Windshield A320 - Full emergency at BRS 9/2/09

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Thomas Cook cracked Windshield A320 - Full emergency at BRS 9/2/09

Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:27
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Thomas Cook cracked Windshield A320 - Full emergency at BRS 9/2/09

I was on the ground when a TCX A320 came into BRS declaring a full emergency (i think) We heard on the radio that it had a cracked windshield....Any ideas as to what happened and was everyone ok?

I'd imagine that would imply a rapid/explosive decompression?
Sorry for all the questions! I'm just curious to see if everything is/was ok!
It did land safely though!

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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:35
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Airliner windshields are made from composite layers of glass and acrylic (plastic). Generally one of the glass inner layers shatters, which makes it difficult to see anything through the window, but it stays in place and the pressurisation stress is maintained by the acrylic layer. No depresurisation, no emergency.
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:35
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Bird probably hit the windshield. Usually not a serious emergency, but i think that the problems really start if the crack develops into the 2nd layer of glass
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:42
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I have had several windscreens crack in my flying career and absolutely none of them were caused by birds.

Neither have any of them occasioned a "full emergency" (whatever that might be).

Nor would I imagine that a rapid decompression was caused. It would simply mean that the remainder of the flight would be completed at a lower altitude in order to reduce the DP.
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:52
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Temperature Regulator Failure

I had one shatter due to failure of the temperature regulator in the heater circuit. Temp got too hot and the whole thing shattered. Couldn't see a thing through it but it stayed structurally intact.
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:54
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Sorry aviatordom, but from the benefit of your 14 years of life, you were way out of line there. Windscreens invariably fail spontaneously, only one layer goes, no depressurisation, absolutely no emergency, and no birdies deceased! Can't think of any incident where a cracked windscreen has spread into another layer either! Good to be interested, but those that don't know are better off not answering queries!
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 16:57
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declaring a full emergency
As Flt Crew, we do not tend to declare "full" or "partial" emergencies, rather either "No" to declaring an Emergency, or Pan or Mayday...

I am led to believe that a "Full Emergency" might be an ATC term...

As stated above, a "cracked windscreen" from the Flt Crew / safety point of view is usually a non-event, but might require an airborne return.

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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:04
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Cracked windscreen and return?
Seen three occurences like this in the past few years, all aircraft returned safely no major crisis.
All aircraft were different types (146, DH-8, Saab 2000), and if I had been at work today, this would have made number four!

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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:07
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BRS is CAT111 so assume the landing wasn't really an issue, given that the other screen was probably intact.
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:12
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BRS is CAT111 so assume the landing wasn't really an issue
I would doubt, unless really necessary, either the Flt Crew or ATC wanting to go through the hassle of setting up / enforcing LVPs for a cracked windscreen

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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:15
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but in this case IF the windshield did shatter and the pilots lost control, it would then be an emergency!
A windscreen on one side probably crazed over when a layer cracked. It is insulated from at least one more layer from another load bearing layer, happy to carry full load itself. Unknown for both, or more, layers to 'shatter'. So, the windows on one side had restricted vision- good idea not to continue. Absolutely not an emergency, and no implications for a more serious failure. It is a frequent occurence, and happens because of the stresses in manufacture, and in electrical heating. These things are not like car windscreens, and cost horribly too. Not a problem.

Why would the pilots lose control? Are you talking.....about......their...er........bowels? Why?
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:16
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I was under the impression laminated windshields are designed not to shatter into pieces but retain their shape and strength to a degree, unlike the old toughened windscreens they used to use in cars.
Any Autoglass expert out there!
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:21
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Autoglass know nothing about these babies! There are usually about 5 layers, 2 or 3 of which are full load bearing, the remainder plastic. They have all sorts of weird treatment in manufacture, and looking through them with polaroid glasses is a totally surreal experience. They are usually at leaast 2 inches thick (alright then.....5 cms), sometimes more. I have never heard of total failure. Even that awful image of the Pan Am nose lying in the Lockerbie field- the windscreen was still complete and unbroken. The windscreen is far, far stronger than the fuselage. If a large bird is going to hit the plane, I would rather it impaled itself on the windscreen and not the fuselage. Stop freaking folks- it is a common occurence! And this is a Professional Pilots website- if you want hysteria, go where the professional pilots are not!
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:43
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How about this then ...

Getting both windscreens full of sea spray, which then dried - our view totally obscured and then flying an extra 20 minutes to go through the only cloud in Scotland so we could see slightly better!

All in a turboprop with none of this fancy autoland business
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 17:48
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[QUOTE]the only cloud in Scotland[QUOTE]


yea right.......
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 18:05
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Full Emergency

I used to work for the ambulance service and "full emergency" was a term we were familiar with from ATC when attending aircraft incidents, as opposed to "aircraft accident" or "aircraft accident imminent" or "local standby" etc. Obviously most other pprune members would know whether its a term more widely recognised in the aviation industry, but it certainly is used in the emergency services. (In the UK)

Last edited by telster; 11th Feb 2009 at 18:06. Reason: Adding UK
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 18:19
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Rainboe
The windscreen is far, far stronger than the fuselage. If a large bird is going to hit the plane, I would rather it impaled itself on the windscreen and not the fuselage.
That might be true now with heated glass and all but it wasn't true in the DC-3 days! I know of at least one fatality caused by.....you guessed it.....a darned Canada goose!
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 19:23
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I think the DC3 had 8mm glass windscreens. But it flew so slow, are you sure the goose didn't strike the DC3 and come in through the tail from behind?

I got struck by the world's most stupid pigeon. After landing and taxiing back towards the apron at Gatwick, I saw it flying straight at me from the side, and thump into the fuselage under the pilots window. Quite some feat- fly into a 737! I think pigeons must have their own version of the Darwin Awards. I have to confess I was too embarrassed to put a 'bird strike on the ground' entry into the Tech Log.
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 19:28
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I think the DC3 had 8mm glass windscreens. But it flew so slow, are you sure the goose didn't strike the DC3 and come in through the tail from behind?
Nope.....right through the right front windshield. Killed the Co-Pilot on a North Central (Wisconsin Central) DC-3. Don't ask me dates/times/places, as I don't know. Sometime in the early 50's probably as I heard about it when I first started out at their Base.
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 19:40
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But it flew so slow, are you sure the goose didn't strike the DC3 and come in through the tail from behind?
The old ones are the best init?

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