Operations: Responding to Cockpit Window Cracks
An investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau concluded that good planning and quick crew reactions were responsible for the lack of injuries and significant damage after failure of the windshield of an Australian-registered Citation X on January 15. The aircraft had just leveled at FL450 after departing Samoa’s Faleolo International Airport (NSFA) for Sydney Airport (YSSY) when the crew received a “left windshield heat inoperable” warning that required the aircraft to leave icing conditions.
The pilot flying reported the left windshield was still warm to the touch at this point. Two minutes after that check, the windshield’s outer ply shattered with a loud bang, at which point the crew turned both windshield heating switches to “off.” The flight crew completed the emergency depressurization checklist, donned their oxygen masks, deployed the passenger oxygen masks and started a descent as they turned toward Nadi International Airport in Fiji.
The pilot flying reported that the windshield cracking did not progress further during the descent, nor did the cabin depressurize. At 14,000 feet the crew and passengers removed their masks and the flight landed normally at Nadi, with no injuries to anyone on board.