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Friday, October 7, 2011

Windshield Fire Exposes Airbus Faults

European safety regulators may require European operators of Airbus A330s and A320s to replace aircraft windshields following an investigation into a June 2009 Jetstar flight from Japan that was diverted to Guam after a fire ensued at the base of the right main windshield.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Friday concluded the right windshield experienced an overheating failure, which was related to the use of a polysulfide sealant (PR1829) within the body of the electrical connector terminal block. The sealant caused unintended heating effects when the windshield was being heated subsequently causing the thermal breakdown of the sealant, which ignited the fire.

Airbus initiated a safety program in early 2010 to identify and replace all windshields that had been produced using the sealant within the electrical connector. The manufacturer replaced some 1,500 units within the fleet.

The ATSB has been advised that due to limited fleet-wide completion of Airbus’ replacement program, the European Aviation Safety Agency is considering implementing an Airworthiness Directive, which will require all European operators flying the specified aircraft to have all windshields replaced.

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