(Daily360.com) – An airplane flying from London to Orlando was forced to make an emergency landing when a member of the crew noticed two cabin windows were missing. The pilots said there were no warning indicators in the cockpit signaling anything was wrong. Luckily, a member of the flight crew heard a flapping noise and then noticed a window seal had become detached. The crew member also said the noise in the cabin was “loud enough to damage” a person’s hearing.
The private flight was carrying 11 crew members and nine passengers, all of whom were employees of TCS World Travel, an American-based luxury tour company. The inner and outer window panes along with their rubber seals were missing and only the outer plastic scratch plates were present.
The Airbus A321 airplane was used the day before as part of a commercial shoot. Experts think the lights used for that shoot likely damaged the window housing and led to the issue. The lights were very powerful and set on the airplane for hours as the film crew tried to simulate a sunrise. The lights were as close as 30 feet from the right side of the plane for five hours, exactly where the window damage was located. The lights were also positioned on the left side for four hours at a distance of about 30 feet. The minimum safe distance for the lights is 32 feet from the object being photographed.
Once informed of the issue by the crew member, the pilots were able to slow the aircraft, stop its ascent and return to London safely. Once on the ground, the airplane was assessed and it was determined that the foam in the window housing had likely melted away due to high temperature exposure.
Experts agree had the issue not been detected and the plane continued to ascend and increase speed, a deleterious situation would likely have occurred. That airplane was recently used by King Charles and Queen Camilla for a state visit to France.
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