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Travel Why Do Airplane Windows Keep Breaking?

17:26  17 may  2018
17:26  17 may  2018 Source:   cntraveler.com

Here's How Many American Travelers Flew in 2017

  Here's How Many American Travelers Flew in 2017 A total of 88 percent of survey respondents reported taking a commercial flight in their lifetime. In 2017, almost every age group and household income level reported taking more trips, especially the travelers earning $75,000-$99,999, who took an average of 5.1 trips in 2017, an increase from the average of 3.4 trips in 2016.As for those who flew in 2017, 71 percent of all trips were taken for personal reasons, an increase from both 2016 and 2015. Travelers credit an improving economy and the increasing availability of affordable airfare options for the jump.

Most of us probably don’t think much about airplane windows —aside from those moments when we’re whipping out our phone for that sweeping aerial shot. But a string of recent inflight incidents involving broken windows have caused alarm among many travelers

But a string of recent inflight incidents involving broken windows have caused alarm among many travelers. A WINDOW breaking on a plane mid-flight is the worst nightmare for many – so why does it keep happening? Why Do Airplane Windows Have Tiny Holes?

a view of a car window© Getty

Most of us probably don’t think much about airplane windows—aside from those moments when we’re whipping out our phone for that sweeping aerial shot.

But a string of recent inflight incidents involving broken windows have caused alarm among many travelers, to the point where at least one consumer survey shows that a few fliers are even avoiding window seat assignments. In the latest event, which occurred in China on Monday, one of the panes in the cockpit of a Sichuan Airlines Airbus 319 inexplicably shattered on a flight from Chongqing in southwest China, to Lhasa in Tibet. That caused the compartment to lose pressure, which in turn briefly sucked the first officer partially out of the plane. He was able to regain control and suffered only minor injuries, and the flight crew made an emergency landing.

What happens when a plane window is smashed?

  What happens when a plane window is smashed? A lack of oxygen above 10,000ft means cabins have to be pressurised to ensure everyone on board can keep breathing. When the seal is broken – such as by a smashed window – compressed air rushes out, as conditions inside and outside the aircraft equalise.Chartered aeronautical engineer Guy Gratton said plane windows are thick and strong but “like anything else, they’re capable of being broken”.He told the Press Association: “If you lose a window then you’ve punched a hole in the pressure vessel.“The air inside will try to escape.

Why do airplanes have windows ? Is it really necessary to turn your mobile phone off on a plane ? Why don't airplane windows open? Why do cabin crews insist on keeping window shades closed even at night and at cruise altitude? What would happen if a window broke in an airplane ?

But a string of recent inflight incidents involving broken windows have caused alarm among many travelers. A WINDOW breaking on a plane mid-flight is the worst nightmare for many – so why does it keep happening? Why Do Airplane Windows Have Tiny Holes?

Chinese aviation authorities are investigating the incident, with the help of experts from Airbus Industrie, and no cause has been identified yet. It was reportedly the sixth window-related scare aboard a plane in a month, beginning with the engine explosion on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 on April 17; in that case, shards of the engine flew into the fuselage and punctured a passenger window, killing a woman sitting in the adjacent seat, after she too was partially sucked out of the plane.

Between these two terrifying events there was another window scare, again involving a Southwest plane, which was forced to make an emergency landing in Cleveland on a Chicago-bound flight when a passenger window cracked. No one was hurt and the passengers were taken to another plane to continue their trip.

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After Sichuan Airlines co-pilot is nearly sucked out of the cockpit, why do plane windows keep breaking ? The aircraft 's' hero captain managed to land the Airbus manually. But we do know that outside a plane at cruising altitude, air pressure is two-and-a-half times lower than within the plane

So why do plane windows keep breaking ? It’s not yet been confirmed why the cockpit window on the Sichuan Airlines flight cracked. The aircraft 's' 'hero' captain managed to land the Airbus manually.

So are these events linked—suggesting a deeper problem with this aircraft component? Safety experts say, emphatically, no.

Damage to windows, even cockpit windows, “is normally not going to make a plane crash,” says John Goglia, a safety consultant and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board. "Back in the early days of jet travel, there were some pretty bad episodes with windows but even then airplanes did not crash."

Goglia says that cockpit windows in particular are very strong, designed to survive everything from bird strikes—as in Sully Sullenberger’s “Miracle on the Hudson” flight—to hailstorms. "The glass in the cockpit is like a sandwich. It is multiple layers—it’s not like an Oreo cookie with just three layers, it’s got many more." Passenger windows are also sturdy with several layers for added protection and they are routinely polished to remove what’s called “crazing,” fine web-like lines caused by exposure to the elements and to chemicals, such as those used to de-ice planes.

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  Windowless Planes Could Become a Reality Last year, Emirates debuted its new first class cabin where every seat was a window seat . Even the seats in the middle of the plane along the aisle had windows — but not in the traditional sense.Each first class seat was a tiny world of its own. Floor-to-ceiling walls and a sliding door made self-contained suites. The seats that were not along the edge of the plane had fake “virtual windows” built into the walls of the suites. Passengers in these seats could turn on the screens to see what was happening outside the plane with fiber-optic cameras.

Why airplane windows are round. As this video from Real Engineering explains, round airplane windows are actually a major safety innovation that keeps planes from disintegrating mid-flight.

This is precisely why you are asked to keep your shades up while taking off and landing. 2. It givens you illusion of openness.. Why are airplane passenger windows typically below eye-level? What would happen if a window broke in an airplane ?

Responding to a request for comment, the FAA said based on its own data, “passenger window failures are rare.” Statistics show there have been only 26 failures of the outer pane—each exit window has three—in the entire Boeing 737 service history worldwide, another source said.

And despite the recent rash of incidents, it’s important to keep in mind that window damage is extremely rare, Goglia says. For example, the last case of a pilot being sucked out of a cockpit window was back in 1990, aboard a British Airways flight. “He was up to his waist outside the plane," but managed to recover. The subsequent investigation showed that the accident was caused by improper maintenance. "They used the wrong screws," when installing the window, Goglia says.

So, what’s behind the other recent cases? Goglia says there are three possible explanations for the Sichuan Airlines episode: improper assembly during routine maintenance; a manufacturing defect at the time the plane was made; or damage from an unknown source that caused a “stress point.”

"Don’t forget in the nearly 30 years since the BA accident, there have probably been 500,000 cockpit windows made (and many more of the passenger variety)," he says. "That's pretty impressive when you consider how rare this is. "


Passengers evacuate United Express flight via emergency slide after smoke detected in cabin .
Passengers onboard the flight were not injured.Passengers were quickly deplaned. Fire engines and ambulances were on the ground to meet them.

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