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. opinionguru

    ....Please VERIFY your stories BEFORE you run them. Cracked windshields are not that uncommon. This story ranks up there with "Balloon Boy". CNN loses more credibility every day.

    November 20, 2010 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    I bet Pelosi pulled out here slingshot again and caused this problem. Sort of like the same chaos she caused all of us with this communist healthcare reform BS !

    November 20, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. My name is Crack Windshield

    Once upon a time, I knew somone who's car windshield was crack in several different places. It was never reported on CNN, guess it wasnt too news worthy. On another note..guess how thick an airliner's windshield is...also guess how many test were done on cracked flight deck windows by the aircrafts manufacturer. And guess what...that Delta plane landed safely in Dallas....GO cracked airplane windshields!

    November 20, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. mohan9048

    This is no news. No news is good news. So this is good news!

    November 20, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. jesse

    While I've never seen this on commercial flights, I've herd rumors of this happening in the air force. Thought it was just a rumor though. Guess someone has to roll snake eyes some time. :/

    November 20, 2010 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • ryanWI

      It's not uncommon. The most common cause for flight deck windows cracking is when pilots accidently leave the window heaters running. The windows are electrically heated and when on the ground, without the constant blow of cold air across them, will get extremely hot to the touch. I've been in the flight deck on the ground and had windows crack in front of me. Although it requires an emergency landing when it happens in-flight, it isn't a serious problem. The flight deck windows are among the strongest parts of the entire airframe. (They are a pain in the butt to replace though.)

      November 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    I rode on the first leg of that flight from IAD to Atlanta.
    Three weeks ago, different Delta flight. tires blow on takeoff roll.
    Stop trying to kill me, man ! ! !
    I'm stsrting to feel like I should write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line.

    November 20, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. pdx

    Maybe it cracked because he was using the Internet while in flight, which can cause frequency scrambles!

    November 20, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. saftgek

    One must suspect Mike Fleming of narcissism, profound insecurity, and a "me, too" mindset. He is, however, apperently quite persuasive – as he convinced CNN's staff to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    A crack in a windshield of an aircraft is not an "Oh, My God" event. Such occurrences are unfortunate, but they do happen. Commercial pilots are well-trained – initially and repeatedly. When an untoward event takes place, they respond according to their training and discipline.

    It is unfortunate CNN and its staff were so reactionary, failing to engage an informed and logical brain amongst themselves. Sadly, they took the nonsense from an unfortunate – say 'pitiful' – citizen who had and has no clue as to the "The Sky Is Falling" position he took.

    Wouldn't it be great if CNN – and other organizations – would remember the "Ready, Aim, Fire" sequence v. "Ready, Fire, Aim."

    November 20, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    Former USAF crew chief here. The actual windshield structure is more than likely very strong and thick bonded layers of polycarbonate with a very thin outer glass ply that was cracked. The reason the exterior layer is glass, is because it doesn't scratch or pit as easily when cleaned or deiced. Sometimes the outer glass ply breaks or shatters, with the only concern inflight being slightly compromised visibility for the aircrew. Zero loss of structural integrity and no chance of cabin pressurization problems. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    November 20, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BiteMe

    Bite Me

    November 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. McDuck

    I pooped my pants.

    November 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Don

    We had the same thing happened on a flight from Toronto to Las Vegas this past Monday (Nov.15 Air Canada 591) and diverted to Minneapolis. The cracks in our plane's windshield were actually worst than the ones in the pictures from the Delta flight. The descent and landing were uneventful. I don't think this is that uncommon. They sent another plane to pick us up and continue the flight. Don

    November 21, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. brad

    As far as the story being newsworthy. I don't have an issue with the news media overdramatizing a non-event like this. the media is representative of Joe Public, and the public is not very well educated. So it is valid to cover this and make people aware that this happens from time to time. What I do have an issue with is when the media goes through the rolodex to find someone wacky enough to make outrageous unsubstantiated comments under the guise of showing the other side of the story rather than sticking to facts. That said I am driving a 90's Subaru with a cracked winshield if CNN would like to contact me.

    November 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. lino veegee

    Conclusion...The winshield cracked after being hit by suicidal Canadian Geese that had been trained in terroist acts somewhere in Pakistan.(The geese were born and raised in Peshwar and brought over to Canada)
    Mike..go goose a geese!

    November 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike in Denver

    How was he updating his Facebook page while it was happening. I thought it was a violation of Federal Law to operate electronic communications once the jet leaves the gate. Since the only method of electronic communications approved for use on an aircraft, the seat-back air phone, do not have an ability to connect to the internet, how was this Facebook page updated without violating Federal Law? IMO, Mr. Facebook should be arrested and charged with violation of Federal Law about using electronic communications devices on a commercial jet.

    November 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |

      Actually many airliners now have wifi service on their aircraft. The airlines encourage the traveler to purchase the service and update away!

      November 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
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