Bombardier CL600-2B19 CRJ, Asheville, N.C., March 19, 2006 – The NTSB found that company maintenance personnel improperly installed the pilot’s windshield on the Pinnacle Airlines jet, which resulted in flame and smoke in the cockpit and the subsequent emergency landing.
As the airplane was climbing through 17,000 feet, the captain smelled smoke and saw flames and smoke shooting from the lower left windshield. He thought it was the windshield heat unit, which he turned off. The flames went out but the smoke continued. The captain declared an emergency and returned to Asheville Regional Airport.
A fastener was installed improperly, which resulted in arcing between the terminal block lug, the aircraft wiring eyelet and the fastener and lock washer that secures the two components together. The arcing degraded the solder junction between the terminal block and the windshield heating system braid wire, resulting in heat damage to the sealant and the subsequent flame, the NTSB said.