Lately there have been concerns raised over the safety of aircraft windows. Such worry was caused by most recent accidents. One, where the cockpit windshield of a Sichuan Airlines A319 blew out being at 30,000 feet. Another one, where the failure of the engine on Southwest 737 caused a sharp metal detail to shatter the window. The woman, who was sitting near the window, died by being sucked out halfway through the window. So, how the safety of windows on airplanes can be ensured?
For the reason that the outter environment during flights is not hospitable to life, even the tiniest malfunction of the window structure can cause serious accidents, leading to injuries or even deaths. Therefore, according to the regulations stated in FAA’s AC (Advisory Circular) 25.775-1, the aircraft windows have to undergo the same level of strength tests as, for example, the engine of the aircraft would. All this is to make the aircraft windows as tough as possible.
One of the oldest manufacturers of aircraft windows and windshields, PPG, developed an Opticor Advanced Transparency Material. It is supposed to have crack-resistant properties and is used to make aircraft windows.
One of the things, causing aircfraft windows to malfunction, is birds. Because the airports are built near the natural habitats of birds, they are one of the most common problems of aviation. Therefore, the aircraft windows must undergo bird stress tests. Moreover, the windows must be tested against chemical materials as well as jet fuel. They must also be resistant to erosion and rust.
The reason for double windows at the passenger cabin is very simple. If something happens to the outer window during the flight, the inner part should be able to withstand the pressure and environment from outside.
To make the windshields as tough as possible, they are either fastened with bolts or use a clamping system. The windshield fasteners are chosen depending on the airline. Although, according to experts, both methods are as reliable.The Aircraft Windows
Typically, the lifespan of an aircraft windshield is somewhat 10 years. In some cases, the windows have to be changed due to major damages. Pilots have a lot of say, when deciding whether the deck windshields have to be changed or not.
But even when airlines take all of the safety measures, accidents happen. In such cases, every case goes under investigation to find out the reasons behind the accidents. Then all of the necessary changes are made, in order to avoid such accidents in the future. This is why aviation industry is considered to have pretty great safety records.