Maggie Koerth-Baker at 5:30 am Wed, Apr 6, 2011
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
Anyone know what caused the explosion to begin with?
I bet the pilot was in a state of shock more than anything, it’s not like that’s something you prepare for exactly…
If I remember correctly, it was that the replacement windshield that had just been fitted with mostly bolts that were just over half a millimeter too small, and a few that were a bit too short.
It doesn’t seem like much on the ground, but when you’re in the air, there is about a ton half of pressure on that windshield, which simply pushed the thread on the bolts/windshield frame hard enough that they stripped all the way, which allowed the windshield to blow out.
Also, back then, the very strong windshields were secured to a very strong frame, with very strong bolts, but they were secured from the outside, so that the positive pressure on the windshield would blow it out if there was this sort of an issue – Nowdays, the windshield and bolts are generally on the inside of the very strong frame, which holds it inside the plane. So, if this situation were to happen again, then there wouldn’t be such a problem, as the force of the air hitting the windshield isn’t enough to overcome the positive pressure from the pressurized cabin.
Though, one would suspect the windshield falling into your lap upon landing would be somewhat unnerving.
Our crowdsourced overlords indicate that the windscreen was secured with incorrect bolts(RTFM n00b, aircraft repair is serious business…) and couldn’t stand the delta between outside pressure and cabin pressure. Not really an “explosion” in the usual sense; but the rapid change in pressure would certainly have sounded pretty much exactly like one.
I’m just surprised that the pilot wasn’t more seriously damaged by being smashed about at those speeds. People have suffered pretty dire intracranial bleeds from much less dramatic incidents…
BTW… it’s NOT sucked out… it’s blown out…
high pressure on the inside, low pressure on the outside equals blown not sucked…
In 1991, the bombardier/navigator of an A-6 Intruder, who sits to the right of the pilot, was partially ejected from the aircraft due to a seat malfunction. He was flailing around and I believe was unconscious. The pilot managed to land back aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. There are videos on YouTube – do a search for “a-6 partial ejection.”
just like the news report says: “believe it or not” “everything turned out ok” the pilot was just a “little banged up.”
Or maybe Henry Blodget is a pathological liar?
Suggestion: check your sources and use common sense.
Sorry the quotes are from Alexis Madrigal. Blodget got THIS story right.
Madrigal is right only if you consider frostbite to the eye, PTSD, and life as a night watchman as everything turning out ok.
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