“Jet cockpit window smashed at 35000 ft” – SriLankan Airlines clarified
Published: 05 Jan 2014
SriLankan Airlines issued a media release clarifying a recent media article published on Friday 2nd January in the Sun newspaper , based in London ,under the heading of “Jet cockpit window smashed at 35,000ft” and the releasestates that the report is completely misleading the general public. The Airline clarified that at no point the window of the aircraft was smashed or was taped up and glued up as mentioned in the article.
The statement issued by SriLankan is as follows:-
1st of January at 1435hrs SriLankan flight UL 503 departed Colombo, for London Heathrow Airport. Approximately 45 minutes after the take-off, the cockpit crew observed a crack in the windshield. SriLankan wishes to state that the windshield is a "fail safe" design and it is made of three glass plies out of which two are structural glass plies and the third a protective outer glass ply. It was the centre-layer which had developed the crack.
Windshields are designed to withstand four times the maximum deferential pressure and the fail safe design enables even with one structural ply cracked to sustain two times the maximum differential pressure. Hence, SriLankann categorically states that the safety of the passengers was never compromised and there was no life –threatening danger whatsoever posing passengers. As per the manufacturers’ recommended procedure the pilots descended the aircraft to 10,000ft as a precautionary measure to minimize the differential pressure on the windshield. Therefore, in the interest of the passengers’ safety and the aircraft, the pilots decided to return to Colombo for the replacement of the windshield.
Accordingly, the flight UL 503 returned to Bandaranaike International Airport at 1630hrs without incident. SriLankan wishes to emphasise that it is the standard procedure for any airline to descend to 10, 000 ft to prevent the differential pressure on the windshield and at no stage the aircraft or the passengers’ safety was compromised.
With regard to the statement “ the window of aircraft was taped up and glued up back in because it was already cracked” SriLankan wishes to clarify that the windshield of the particular flight was replaced due to a windshield defect experienced in the previous flight. The windshield was bolted on to the structure and was not glued as claimed in the article. After replacing a windshield a sealant is applied to make it aerodynamically smooth and to prevent moisture ingestion , however as this sealant has a curing time of approximately 24 hours a high speed tape was affixed on top to protect the sealant pending curing as standard practice to prevent the sealant been blown off; this tape is removed after the sealant is cured.
SriLankan already had commenced an investigation to look into the possible reasons for the crack. These kind of unexpected incidents are common occurrences in the industry and it is unfortunate that this one has been singled out and sensationalized to unnecessary proportions.
SriLankan wishes to reiterate that the Airline always maintains the highest safety standards the industry requires, and considers the well-being of the passengers its foremost priority which under no circumstance will be compromised.