Shortly after takeoff, a United Airlines flight bound for Washington Dulles declared an emergency and was forced to land at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut due to an unlatched window in the flight deck.
The window wasn’t properly shut until after the Boeing 737-900 had taken off, when the pilots realized it. Less than 20 minutes later, the pilots successfully landed the nine-year-old aircraft with all 178 passengers and crew on board without incident.
One report claims that shortly after takeoff, United Airlines flight UA-1274 levelled off at 4,000 feet and reported an emergency due to a “popped open” window in the flight deck.
Air traffic controllers were able to clear the plane for an immediate return to Bradley International despite the fact that the radio message from the pilots was difficult to hear due to the sound of wind in the background.
An official from United acknowledged in a statement that UA-1274 had to make another trip to the airport to “address an unlatched cockpit window”.
“The flight landed safely, and we accommodated our customers on another aircraft”.
The travelers eventually arrived at Washington Dulles with a six-hour delay.
The side windows on either side of the Boeing 737 cockpit may be opened from inside the cockpit and are used for direct ground personnel communication or emergency exits from the aircraft.
Depending on the kind and model of aircraft, different cockpit window opening mechanisms are available, however on the Boeing 737, the cockpit glass is opened using just a basic lever and sliding handle. The pilots need only perform the opposite procedure to ‘lock’ the window closed.
However, there is no technological confirmation that the window is shut and secured.