NewsLocal News


Investigation into cracked windscreen on Delta flight underway

Posted at 5:48 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 19:48:23-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Experts say the case of a Delta flight that had to make an emergency landing due to a shattered windshield on Thursday could take months or even years to fully investigate.

The flight departed from Salt Lake City International Airport and was headed to Washington D.C. A passenger on the plane, Dr. Kirk Knowlton, shared a photo with FOX 13 News of the shattered windshield.

Knowlton said the crew told passengers the window shattered “spontaneously.”

“I feel like when they say spontaneous, I think they meant instantly,” said Jason Clark, the CEO of FLT School in Woods Cross. “It probably caught them off guard. I can’t even imagine being sitting up front and seeing something like that happen and crack right in front of your eyes.”

Clark, who has been a pilot for more than 12 years, said he believes a shattered windshield is less common than being struck by lightning.

“A shattered windshield is almost unheard of, especially not from an external force,” he said. “We’ve seen airplanes that have flown through hail or something like that and have just absolutely gotten beaten to death and are still able to fly and land okay, even after the most severe hail cases.”

The investigation will likely consist of a forensic study on the plane, looking at maintenance logs, inspecting screws, and even reviewing the manufacturing process of the windows to see if there might need to be a recall.

Delta Air Lines said there were 198 passengers on the flight.

Representatives from Delta Air Lines released a statement after the incident:

"Delta flight 760 from Salt Lake City to Washington D.C. experienced a maintenance issue mid-flight. Out of an abundance of caution, the flight crew diverted into Denver and the plane landed routinely. Our team worked quickly to accommodate customers on a new plane, and we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans." 

Clark said he found Delta’s characterization of the landing — simply “out of an abundance of caution” — to be peculiar.

“When I read that, that was strange, but as a pilot that would never have been an option,” Clark said. “I think why they choose that verbiage is because that window is probably still bulletproof. Even though it cracked and was in that condition, nothing’s going to happen. It’s still extremely safe. It’s still holding the pressure.”