Two American Airlines Boeing 777s cracked their windshields almost back to back over the last week in a sheer coincidence. Both aircraft managed to land safely; however, the frequency of the events being so close together does raise some questions.
What was the first event?
The first event took place on the 12th of Septemeber when an Amerian Airlines Boeing 777-200 took off from Dallas on flight AA36. The aircraft, tail number N778AN, was en route to Madrid and had just reached 37,000 feet when the pilot reported a cracked windshield.
The plane descended to 16,000 feet to return to Dallas, and then after receiving permission, it proceeded to land around 100 minutes after it left the airport.
American Airlines rolled out another Boeing 777-200, refueled it, and reboarded the passengers. They reached Madrid safe and sound with a delay of only around six hours.
As for the original Boeing 777-200, it took around 24 hours to repair before being flown to Miami and South America. As of now, it is currently operating a flight to Paris and will return to New York.
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What was the second event?
The second event occurred only two days later on flight AA48, also performed by a Boeing 777-200, from Dallas to Paris. The plane, tail number N762AN, was at the same altitude of 37,000 feet when the windshield cracked.
The pilots descended to 27,000 feet and decided to land at New York (coming up under them). They circled for around 90 minutes, burning off fuel before landing on JFK’s 22R runway.
American Airlines had a spare 777-200 in New York, which they were able to deploy and board passengers in around two and a half hours. The passengers reached their Paris destination without further incident.
As for the original aircraft, it was repaired and performed a New York to Paris flight 24 hours later (perhaps even some passengers on the first flight returned on it). It is currently scheduled to fly back to Miami shortly (where it will fly right past the aircraft from the first incident!).
Are they connected?
Usually these events are relatively common and don’t warrant this author to roll out the tinfoil, but there are some correlations that make it mightily suspicious.
- Both aircraft are Boeing 777-200s.
- They are both older, with the first 21 years old and the second 18 years old.
- Both events took place flying to Europe from Dallas, at an altitude of 37,000 feet.
- While we don’t know for sure if it was the same panel of the windshield, the fact that both had the same technical problem around the same point (soon after departure) is interesting.
- Both events took place within days of each other.
Less evidence has tied other aircraft issues together, and thus this event happening ‘twice’ might be more than a mere coincidence. American Airlines has hundreds of flights departing Dallas Fort Worth daily, and these two are the only incidences in an extended period, so perhaps it is just a sheer freak event.
Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines for comment, but as of publishing this article, they have yet to reply.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.