November 19th, 2010
09:19 AM ET

Passenger on windshield crack: How can it happen?

On a Delta flight from Atlanta, Georgia to Orange County, California the captain came on the loud-speaker saying there was a problem in the cockpit – the cockpit windshield had cracked - and they needed to make an emergency landing in Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Passenger Mike Fleming was on the flight, updating his Facebook status while it was happening and took a photo of the damaged windshield. Fleming  spoke to American Morning’s Kiran Chetry about the sudden emergency situation at 34,000 feet mid-air.

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soundoff (411 Responses)
  1. JT

    Good thing it didn't break. There was an episode of National Geographic's "Air Crash Investigation," in which the windshield did come off, and the pilot was caught outside of the plane. This incident happened on a British Airways flight going from the UK to Spain.

    November 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chuck

    Hey, isnt that the pilot...that guy out there on the wing!

    November 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Greg

    I prefer to ready actual NTSB incidents although I have't flown in years:

    November 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SpecialEdPilot

    Given my many years of flight experience, I will offer a possible explanation. Although highly improbable, the cracked windshield could have been the result of an impact with a very small but solid object moving at high closing velocity. Specifically, a frozen chunk of Canadian Goose poop. You laugh, but it can happen. Canadian Geese have been known to fly over 25,000 ft ASL during their semi-annual migrations.

    November 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Name*Michael

    It happens when morons are using their mobile devices illegally fir Internet during a flight!!!

    November 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GAPeach

    The same thing happened on a Delta flight I was on a few years ago and we had to turn around and go back to Atlanta. I don't think this is big news. The only thing that made it news was the guy on facebook.

    November 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hez

    Cracks in windshields are quite common in aviation. happens all the time on commercial aircraft, several times a week across the globe. check an aviation site and you will usually find a daily list of aircraft incidents and among those is generally a cracked windshield.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. giggity

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.......

    November 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SwordofPerseus

      Doctor: "We'll have to get them to a hospital right away."
      Stewardess: "Why? What is it?"
      Doctor: "It's a big white building with doctors and nurses and beds, but that's not important right now!"

      November 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter E

    The pilots reacted correctly to a potentially grave threat to the plane and landed safely. End of story.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john dopper

    heh, heh, heh he said crack...Beavis

    November 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. billshut

    It was probably one of those big Airbus jets in front of it, missing a mud flap, that tossed a pebble back into the 737's windshield. Darn buses & trucks are always doing that to smaller vehicles!!

    November 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Art

    I once stayed at a Holiday Express!!! Can I be a pilot too???

    November 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    As mentioned in several comments, this is not a rare occurrence. I have over 10,000 hrs. flying as crew and have seen many cracked windshields. Airline windshields are made with at least two layers and can be up to an inch thick in order to mitigate any damage that may occur to a the windshield. A cracked windshield is cause for concern, but not an emergency situation unless the integrity of all layers has been compromised. Descending below 10,000 ft as soon as possible decreases the pressure differential between the interior of the aircraft and the outside, thus decreasing the chances of the crack getting any worse.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mister_Moose

    This is NO BIG DEAL. I worked on Grumman A6 aircraft in the Marine Corps. Cracked windshields happen from time to time. You simply land, put in a maintenance request, the windshield gets replaced, and the plane flies again. This truly is not news worthy, simply here for ratings, scaring, whatever CNN's intent?

    November 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Probably a piece of gravel from a dumptruck. And don't even bother complaining to them- they're "not responsible for broken windshields". Like they're not the ones dropping rocks onto the Highway at 65 mph. Good luck Delta, that windshield is on you.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
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