Smoke In Cockpit, Shattered Windscreen Resulted In Emergency
The National Transportation Safety Board says it will
investigate the January 30 incident, in which an American Airlines
B757-200 en route from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Philadelphia
diverted to West Palm Beach, FL and made an emergency landing after
the cockpit filled with smoke.
Of the 139 passengers and 7 crewmembers, several were
transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. All have
since been released. No other injuries were
According to reports from the crew, while at cruise altitude
over the Atlantic Ocean, smoke began emanating from the window
heating system connected to the first officer's windshield. The
crew donned oxygen masks and smoke goggles and diverted to Palm
Beach International Airport.
As ANN reported, during the
descent to land the inner pane of the first officer's windshield
shattered (shown above). The crew continued the descent and landed
without further incident.
The digital flight data recorder (DFDR) was downloaded and sent
to the NTSB laboratories in Washington. The affected windshield,
which remained in one piece, and the heating unit were removed from
the aircraft and will undergo a detailed analysis.
While the cause of this particular incident is unknown and
remains under investigation, the NTSB is aware of five events
between 2004 and 2006 in which smoke, and in some cases fire, were
reported to have originated from window heating systems in B-757
Based on these incidents, in September 2007 the NTSB issued two
Safety Recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
asking the agency to require the installation of redesigned window
heating systems in all Boeing 747, 757, 767, and 777 series
aircraft. These Safety Recommendations have yet to be implemented
by the FAA.
(Images courtesy of NTSB)