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. sandra eckstein

    Silly, you can't use duck tape – that will draw ducks to the enging

    November 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Reddog

    Confucius said: "Woman who flies upside down in airplane has crack up".

    November 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. herr_howard

    This is bad, yes. But it could have been worse. These guys almost didn't make it down safely...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Transat_Flight_236

    November 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gary

    Not a big deal, it happens frequently. Aircraft windshields are made of many layers. The layer that provides heat occasionally goes bad causing the outer layers to freeze and crack (spider web). The inner layer is the structural layer and generally isn't affected. Put the jet on the ground as a precaution, but there is no danger. As far as comments about BA 5390, that was not the fault of the windshield. This is only news because the media makes it news. It really isn't a big deal.

    November 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vonexus

    He updated his facebook while it was happening? So does mean I really can use my cell phone on airplanes?

    November 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tim

    My butt had a crack in it, so I had to get a new one.

    November 19, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DallasTex

    ...and this is a new story, why? Must be a slow news day. One of the reasons I don't watch cable news anymore.

    November 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    inflight Wifi
    it uses micro Wireless base stations on the plane as a backbone.. it is 3G technology (based on WCDMA) and add to it a wifi switch on the plane..
    Aircell are the providers of this service in the US

    Guess this report is part a marketing campaign for inflight wifi

    November 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A tiny bubble of air

    These windshields are built with mutiple layers and include among them defrosters to keep the trasparency of the glass. In the construction process a lot of care is taken to elliminate all trapped air bubbles because any air trapped reduces the strengh of the windshield. At 34K feet a.s.l. the pressure differential between the inside and the outside puts enormous toll on the glass: the cabin pressure tends to push the glass outwards (a similar effect in the opposite direction is seen in a submarin window deep under the sea) and wihout much outside resistance the glass would bend outwards up to point where it will start cracking. The craking will beging in the weakest point and it only takes a tiny bubble of air, a tenth the size of a pinhead to dangerously degrade the strengh of the windshield and crack it. Once it begins, the crack will keep growing in all directions untill it blows away and we all know the dangers of a sudden decompressioon at 34K feet, right?..

    November 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MickeyMudTurtle

    You're all a bunch of dummies. 'Media' is the PLURAL of 'medium' — duh!

    November 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Petes

    Chuck Norris 1
    Airplane 0

    November 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Captain Dan

    The windshield expands and contracts with the change in temperature. The window inside has minature heating elements. For flights doing multiple takeoffs and landings per day in various climate zones, turning on and off the window heat can cause the window to crack or even blow out operating in various temperatures. It is advised not to turn the heat on and off during flight.

    November 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Qman

    Updating your Facebook status at 34,000 feet? As I recall, failing to follow the flight attendant's instructions is a federal crime....

    November 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Petes

      Oh, you must mean the one where the flight attendant says "you are now allowed to use all portable electronic devices..." ?

      November 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. InTears

    Thank you all for the entertainment from those making sarcastic comments to those who let their buttons get pushed and took it all way to serious...I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time!

    November 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pete Rose

    what a doofus passenger.

    November 19, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
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