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An aircraft departed from Stansted Airport with broken windows as a result of damage caused by intense lights during a filming occasion.
Last month, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) reported that the Airbus A321 plane, which was previously utilized by the Government, had to return to the Essex airport due to an issue discovered by a crew member at the beginning of the flight.
The event could have had more severe outcomes.
During the inspection, it was discovered that two windowpanes in the cabin were missing and two others were not correctly positioned.
The only thing covering the empty window spaces was the scratch pane, which is a decorative plastic piece meant to keep passengers from touching the outer panes.
The plane was utilized by TCS World Travel, a United States-based company that specializes in high-end vacations, and was operated by Titan Airways.
The event occurred one day after the plane was used for filming. Powerful lights were placed near the aircraft to create the appearance of a sunrise, according to the initial report from the AAIB.
For approximately five and a half hours, they illuminated the aircraft’s right side before being relocated to the left side for four hours.
The AAIB stated that the lights should only be used at a minimum distance of 10 meters from the target being lit up, yet in this case they were placed between six and nine meters from the windows that had sustained damage.
The filming event’s purpose was not revealed.
According to the report, on October 4th, the plane departed for a flight to Orlando, Florida with a total of 20 people on board – 11 crew members and nine passengers. These individuals were all employees of either the tour company or the aircraft operator.
The travelers were seated collectively in the center of the aircraft.
Following take-off and the deactivation of the seatbelt signs, a crew member noticed that the seal around one of the windows was “flapping,” according to the AAIB.
He informed the crew, who then made the decision for the plane to return to Stansted, where it landed without incident.
The flight achieved a height of 14,500 feet.
According to the AAIB, the cabin maintained normal air pressure.
Upon inspection of the vicinity of the absent or impaired windows, it was discovered that the foam previously utilized for securing them had either melted from extreme heat or was no longer present.
According to the AAIB, the windowpanes were “distorted and reduced in size” due to damage.
The report concluded that although the flight was uneventful and the damage was noticed at around 10,000 feet, if the damage had been greater, it could have had more severe consequences, particularly if the window’s integrity was compromised at a higher pressure level.
Titan Airways and TCS World Travel have been asked for a statement.