On May 14, 2018, the Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines was forced to make an emergency landing in southwest China after part of the cockpit window burst and fell out in mid-flight.

The right windshield burst and fell out in the mid-flight (photo: CAAC report)

The A319, flight number 3U8633, was flying from Chongqing to Lhasa when the accident occurred. The legendary captain, Liu Chuanjian, managed to fly the aircraft manually under the challenging environment of low cockpit pressure, oxygen and temperature in the air, while the automatic systems were not functioning . The plane landed safely about 20 minutes after the accident happened with no casualty.

The injured co-pilot and his damaged uniform (photo: CAAC report)

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) recently released the incident report. According to the investigation report, the most likely cause of this incident is that the right windshield seal (weather seal or sealing silica gel) of the aircraft B-6419 was damaged. There was a cavity inside the windshield, causing the external water vapor infiltrated and stayed at the bottom edge of the windshield. After being soaked for a long time, the insulation of the power supply wire was reduced, and the electric arc discharged continuously under a humid environment. The partial high temperature produced by the arc caused the double-layer glass to break and further burst out during the flight due to the significant pressure differences.

The seal from left windshield of the plane is also damanged (photo: CAAC report)

Several pieces of advice were given to Airbus, EASA and airlines by CAAC. Check the full report (Chinese) here.