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Florida-bound flight from London forced to turn around after missing and damaged windowpanes discovered | UK News

A Florida-bound flight was forced to turn around abruptly after departing London with missing and damaged windowpanes, a report has revealed.

Several cabin windowpanes on the Airbus A321 had been damaged by high-power floodlights used during filming to create the illusion of a sunrise, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

But the damage was only discovered after the aircraft had taken off and climbed to around 14,500ft.

“More serious consequences” could have occurred if the “window integrity was lost at a higher differential pressure”, the AAIB said in a special bulletin released on the incident.

The chartered flight was due to travel to Orlando International Airport from Stansted Airport on 4 October, carrying nine passengers and 11 crew members.

Several passengers said the aircraft cabin seemed “noisier and colder” than they were used to, after the seatbelt signs had been switched off.

The crew realised something was wrong when a member of staff noticed the seal on a window on the left side of the plane was “flapping in the airflow”, and “the windowpane appeared to have slipped down”.

They described the noise as “loud enough to damage your hearing”.

The pilot reduced flight speed before the aircraft turned around just 36 minutes after take-off, landing safely at Stansted.

An inspection on the ground found two windowpanes were missing, while a third was “dislodged” and a fourth “protruded from the left side” of the jet.

A diagram in the AAIB report showing damage to windowpanes on the left side of the aircraft
A diagram in the AAIB report showing damage to windowpanes on the left side of the aircraft. Pic: AAIB

‘Thermal damage’ caused by floodlights

The panes had been subjected to “thermal damage” after being exposed to intense lighting for up to five hours a day earlier, with the floodlights “likely” positioned closer than the recommended 10m, the report found.

A shattered outer pane was recovered during the inspection, while some of the foam ring material…

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This notice was published: 2023-11-10 06:56:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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