MIAMI – With a Proposal to issue an Airworthiness Directive (PAD) dated March 2, 2021, the European Safety Agency for Aviation (EASA) has ordered all operators to carry out a check on windshields mounted on Airbus A318, A319, A320, and A321 aircraft.

This action follows results from investigations carried out after the incident which occurred to Sichuan Airlines (3U) on May 14, 2018.

According to the AeroInside article dated June 3, 2020, the Airbus A319 registered as B-6419 and operating flight 3U8633, suffered a serious incident involving the aircraft’s windshield.

Sichuan Airlines Airbus A321-211 B-8601 – Photo N509FZ via Wikimedia

Faulty Windshield Joints

The EASA AD describes the damage as “an A319 airplane lost in flight the right windshield, with consequent rapid cockpit depressurization, causing damage to cockpit items/systems and significant increase of flight crew workload”.

The French newspaper La Depeche, on June 3, 2020, described the causes of the windshield breakaway as a faulty rubber joint that allowed water vapor infiltrations in the windshield heating element thus creating an electric arc, high temperature, and cracks. The pressure differential did the rest and the right-side windshield exploded.

The description is confirmed by the wording used in the AD. The directive, issued to avoid undetected unsafe conditions that may affect other aircraft, requires all operators to carry out specifics checks on windshields.

Featured image: Alberto Cucini/Airways