After a burning odor began to fill the passenger cabin of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner near the end of a 10-hour flight from Seoul, South Korea, the pilots of a LOT Polish Airlines flight to Warsaw declared an emergency.
After initial reports suggested the announced Mayday was due to an engine fire, up to ten fire engines rushed to meet the plane when it landed at Warsaw’s Chopin International Airport on Tuesday.
In actuality, there was no engine fire, and it appears that one of the Economy section’s electrical windows had begun to melt. The Aviation Herald obtained a photo of what seems to be burn marks on the actual window.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is unique in that it is equipped with factory-installed electronically dimmable windows.
Passengers and staff can dim the windows to almost complete darkness with the touch of a button, thanks to electrochromic technology.
An electric current is passed through a special transparent gel placed between two panels within each window to make the technology operate. As the voltage passing through the gel is increased, the window becomes darker.
The Dreamliner has five settings, ranging from 1 (completely transparent) to 5 (darkest), though some light can still be seen in intense sunshine.
Passengers can adjust the windows from their seats, but flight attendants can use a central control system to override them.
Airbus asked the manufacturer, Gentex, for an improved version that will debut on the A350 later this year and boasts a maximum dimming effect that is 100 times darker than the previous version found on 787s.
Despite the damage to the LOT Polish Airlines Dreamliner, the nearly 10-year-old 787 was reinstated in service the next day after arriving in Warsaw.
A professional photoshoot onboard a recently arrived Turkish Airlines 787 went horribly wrong in 2019 when the cabin’s powerful photography lights damaged some of the Dreamliner’s high-tech windows.
Because of alleged manufacturing flaws, the Federal Aviation Administration has barred Boeing from shipping any new Dreamliners to airlines.