Air Canada Boeing 787 Windscreen Cracks Above The Atlantic

An Air Canada flight on its way home from England was forced to land after their windshield cracked. The Boeing 787 was inbound to Toronto across the Atlantic when the incident occurred, and thus the aircraft had to divert to Dublin.

Air Canada Boeing 787-8
Air Canada’s Boeing 787-8. Photo: Air Canada.

What are the details?

An Air Canada Boeing 787-8 with tail number C-GHQY was flying back to Toronto from London Heathrow (flight AC857) when a crack appeared in the cockpit window of the aircraft.

The plane was around 300 nautical miles northwest of Shannon, Ireland and was just about to make its way into the deep Atlantic (approx one hour into its flight) when the crack was noticed. The aircraft descended down to FL250, or 25,000 feet, and continued for approx 30 minutes longer until it was over Dublin airspace.

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Air Canada
The route of the aircraft. Photo: Flight Radar 24

The aircraft, fully laden with fuel, proceeded to dump its excess for around 15 minutes in the countryside outside of the city. It was then allowed to land, safely cruising to a stop on Dublin’s runway 10, approximately 55 minutes after reporting the incident.

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What happened to the passengers?

Because the incident happened in the cockpit and the pilots took instant action, the aircraft was unharmed and the passengers only burdened with a delay of a day.

A replacement Boeing 787-8 was flown to Dublin to pick up the passengers the following day and continued with them to their home. It is unclear at this stage if the passengers were allowed out of the international area into Ireland.

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The original Boeing 787-8 which had the issue with the windscreen sat on the ground for around 30 hours before being repaired and flying back to Toronto. It has since resumed regular service.

Why is this news?

This is, in fact, the second time in two months that a Boeing 787-8 flying Air Canada colors had a crack in its cockpit windows.

The first incident actually happened on a flight from Shanghai to Vancouver on the 1st of September this year, and the aircraft was forced to land in Tokyo. At the time, Air Canada declined to comment to media as to the cause of the cracks (and it is a bit mysterious what could cause a crack to appear on a windscreen at 39,000 feet) but we can’t ignore the fact that this is the same incident to happen to the same airline with the same aircraft type (but different plane, C-FRSO).

This is not the first time that Air Canada has had to replace a 787 windshield. Photo: Air Canada

Or perhaps a windshield at the front of the plane is actually the most common cracked part (with a list available here of all the Boeing 787s with cracks over the last year) due to the sheer amount of resistance, wind, and stress that part of the aircraft encounters.

Air Canada has been reached out to for comment, but as of the time of publishing this article, they have yet to reply.

What do you think about this news? Did the crew do the right thing? Let us know in the comments.

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High Mile Club

Best to decrease in altitude as soon as possible to prevent a blowout, which could cause the pilots to get sucked out in the vacuum and subsequently the plane would crash. This nearly happened to a United 777 which diverted before crossing the Atlantic.

Warren Heller

EVERY DAY there is something new, fires broken windows bad engines, broken windows. Should not boeing have proper and careful design work.

Ueli Praett

As being design engineer for more than 30 years I would rather estimate a quality problems at the sub-supplier of the wind screens or a wrong design of the screen holding frame.

Matt

These types of none events have happened all the time. There just weren’t blogs that cover every single one. This was likely just the outer layer.

Ado

“These types of none events have happened all the time.”

You seem to use the expression “non-event” to suggest that the incident is in no way significant. I don’t think we know currently enough of the matter to say so. If a design, material or a repeating manufacturing flaw is found with the 787 windshield, the safety authorities will probably demand that to be corrected. That might get expensive, and cause a lot of trouble for those airlines which have many 787s in use. Time will tell.

Frank

Air Canada also got delivered a 787 with leaking fuel tanks.

Mike

I think Air Canada or Boeing should pay compensation for the fuel dumping. I love aviation but I never understand why fuel dumping is not penalized or is it? I mean it is necessary to make a safe landing but still the effect on nature should be quite huge.

Jim

Mike…about 97% of the fuel evaporates before getting anywhere near the ground.

stogieguy7

You do realize that aviation fuel evaporates when dumped at a high altitude? Therefore the effect on nature is actually negligible.

Porter

This article have missed to mentioned about Sichuan Airlines 3U8633 flight, the most famous cockpit windshear crack accident in recent years. The cockpit window cracked completely when the A319 is flying above the Tibet plateau. The first officer have been partly sucked out of the plane and the captain performed a nearly impossible diversion, with high terrain below. Under enormous wind and low temp with nearly no instrument. The plane landed safely and no one died, inculding the first officer. This accident is not well known in the west because it happened in China, though it is very dramatic. China… Read more »

Jimmy Wang

I remember reading about that. It can happen to any plane, any time, albeit very rare. Thank goodness they were all safe, although I read some of the passengers have traumatic memories, I probably would too.

chris robey

Just one more reason (apart from the turbulence threat) why you always need to stay strapped in. Being in a pressurized cabin at 35,000 feet plus is not the same as sitting in your lounge room…

DonFlyer

Makes me wonder if there is an issue with their window heat procedures.

Jimmy Wang

Of course they did the right thing, what else would they do, keep flying over the ocean?