CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Pilot lands jet despite smashed windshield and damaged GPS

Technically Incorrect: A Delta flight from Boston to Salt Lake City encounters a hailstorm that damages the nose and completely obliterates the windshield. It endures an emergency landing in Denver.

delta6.jpg
That's one damaged plane. Fox 13 screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


I've sat in meetings in which important people said they were "flying blind."

I wonder if they realize what flying blind is actually like.

The crew of a Delta Airlines Airbus 320 does. They were flying from Boston to Salt Lake City when the weather from hell decided to blind their path. It wasn't just the thunder and lightning. It was a hailstorm that completely shattered their windshield and crumpled the nose of the plane. The GPS navigation system was interfered with too.

So, as Fox 13 reports, flight 1889 had to perform an emergency landing in Denver late on Friday night. It's remarkable how sanguine pilots sound during an emergency.

"Our windshield is pretty severely damaged," says the pilot to air traffic control with a tone that might be same as he uses when saying: "I think I'll have a grande non-fat latte."


Passengers who relayed their experiences to Fox 13 said that the plane seemed to drop substantially. One described it as "the scariest 10 minutes of my life."

According to passenger Robin Jones, the captain kept everyone informed of how difficult the situation was, including telling them about the windshield.

A Delta spokeswoman told me: "Delta flight 1889 from Boston to Salt Lake City diverted to Denver due to damage to the aircraft after encountering a thunderstorm that produced hail while in flight. The flight landed without incident, and passengers were re-accommodated on another aircraft. The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority."

She added that the crew followed all the correct procedures and that the maintenance team is currently examining the plane.

Reports suggest that one person was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Of course, those familiar with flying planes will say this was all entirely normal. This is entirely unhelpful to those of us who simply get on a plane and hope it gets to the other end without one or other end being ripped off.

Between the pilot and air traffic control the plane landed without incident, as well as without a nose cone.

There is something about Denver and nose-cone disappearance. Earlier this year, an Icelandair flight from Rejkjavik to Denver landed minus its nose. The pilots reportedly didn't even know that the plane was noseless.

As for Delta, I am somehow also reminded of the insane, meme-filled flight safety video the company released in May. And now there's another, which makes a joke about turbulence.

I suppose, just like the pilots, there's no point in panicking. You have to have faith in the machines and the software.