Southwest flight from Chicago diverted to Cleveland after window cracks

CLEVELAND (KGO) -- A Southwest flight from Midway Airport was diverted to Cleveland Wednesday morning after a window cracked mid-flight, according to the FAA.

Southwest Flight 957 was headed to Newark Liberty International Airport when it stopped at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport for maintenance review of one of the multiple layers of a window pane, according to Southwest.

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Photos from inside the plane show the aftermath of a window crack on a Southwest flight from Chicago to Newark.

In a statement, Southwest said: "The flight landed uneventfully in Cleveland. The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review, and our local Cleveland Employees are working diligently to accommodate the 76 Customers on a new aircraft to Newark."

Dr. Robert Ritchie from U.C. Berkeley specializes in the study of materials and failure. "If they build something, it will eventually break," he said. He added that aircraft windows are built quite differently than those in our homes. "They're the strongest parts of the planes. Stronger, even, than the aluminum skin." However, environmental factors can cause them to break down over time.

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Manufacturers build aircraft from complex plastics in layers. They can approach one-inch thick. In this case, it appears the outer layer cracked, but the others held. "The window did its job," said Dr. Ritchie, who added that engineers should be able to determine where the crack started and what caused it after further examination.

According to Flightradar24, the involved plane had tail number N713SW. You may know it. Records show that Southwest Airlines has flown N713SW since 1998. The plane used to be easily recognizable after Southwest painted it in a livery depicting SeaWorld's Shamu The Whale.
The plane last flew in and out of Oakland on April 23, arriving from Los Angeles, and then going on to Denver.

This is the second window failure on a Southwest Airlines flight in two weeks, although the incidents appear grossly unrelated. Previously, flight 1380 lost a window after an engine exploded, sending part of a fan through a window into the plane. A 43-year-old woman was partially sucked out of that plane.

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