Fire Breaks Out on NYC to LA Flight, Forcing Emergency Landing in DC

By Peter DePaolis

Airplanes are complex machines, and sometimes manufacturers and engineers are negligent in the way that they design, test, or manufacture airplanes. A recent United flight from New York to Los Angeles had to land at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport after a fire broke out on board. Investigators believe the fire was due to the plane’s windshield heater, which authorities have blamed in other, similar airplane fires. If the negligent construction or piloting of an airplane has injured you or a loved one, a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer can provide you more information regarding what actions you can take.

The cross-country flight had about one hundred passengers abroad, including several actors and actresses. The flight was cruising at 36,000 feet when a fire broke out in the cockpit. Pilots smelled smoke and heard a sizzling sound before they saw flames shoot out of the area that carries wires to the windshield heaters. The crew used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. As the flight approached Dulles, the left front windshield made a large boom sound and shattered, but the plane was able to land safely without any injuries.

Fires aboard planes are rare, but they can be extremely dangerous. The crew can have difficulties locating a fire and putting it out. The windshield heaters are necessary, because, at high altitudes, ice builds on a plane’s windshield. The manufacturer of the airplane, Boeing, had urged air carriers to perform inspections and maintenance on the airplanes with the windshield heater defects, but the carriers do not have to comply. Boeing has no authority to order carriers like United to take action.

Contact a Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney like Roger C. Johnson at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P to learn about your rights if a negligently designed or manufactured product has injured you or a loved one.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.