Virgin Atlantic B787’s windscreen cracks at 40,000 feet forcing flight to return

Fasttailwind / / X

A Virgin Atlantic B787-9’s windscreen cracked at 40,000 feet while flying from Heathrow to San Francisco, forcing the plane to return to London.

Flight VS41 was bound for San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and was three hours into the 11-hour journey on May 27, 2024, when the crack was observed by flight crew.

A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic confirmed the incident to the media, stating that there had been damage to the “outer layer of the cockpit windscreen,” and explained that the outer layer was a non-structural, wear-resistant layer.

The crack appeared when the plane was flying between Iceland and Greenland.

While it is not clear what caused the crack, the high altitude at which it occurred indicates that it could not have been a bird strike. 

Reports indicate that outside temperatures were at -58 degrees Celsius when the incident occurred.

The flight was able to return and land at LHR safely, and passengers were provided with overnight accommodation before being placed on another flight to San Francisco the following day.

This is the second incident in a month where the windshield of a B787 aircraft has cracked mid-flight.

On June 16, 2024, a KLM 787 Dreamliner bound for Amsterdam was forced to return to Tokyo after cracks appeared in the captain’s windshield at 25,000 feet.

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