A ‘Chinese Captain Sully’ successfully made a forced landing at Chengdu airport, under great psychological and emotional stress. All the passenger are safe, and the only reported injuries are a bruised left eye for the copilot and a minor waist injury for one stewardess. The rest of the crew are deemed uninjured, however still awaiting further physical examination.
Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, flight model Airbus A319 – also known as Plateau Eagle - is a people carrier capable of flying at high altitude. This particular flight was flying from Chongqing to Lhasa, when in-flight, a windshield in the cockpit suddenly gave way and fell off.
Picture this: You’re the captain of 3U8633, cruising at a height of 32,000 feet, stable wind and warm sunshine, perhaps enjoying a cup of tea, and taking in it all in above the clouds.
All of sudden something explodes less than a meter in front of you -a tremendous noise deafens your ears, a severe pain attacks the eardrums due to the huge change of pressure, papers are whipping around, your body is directly exposed at the height of 32,000 feet, and a accompanying temperature drop to minus thirty-four degrees (not to mention your short-sleeved pilot's uniform）and the wind is howling at your face at 800km/h. Without any protection, the sun is beating your face. Your co-pilot is half way sucked out of the plane, electronic equipment is malfunctioning, you have no help or backup. Sounds like a scene from a movie, but no Avengers are on their way to save you in this situation - what would you do?
Captain Chuanjian Lau was forced to operate manually as AutoPilot had completely failed, “I could only think about the safe operation of the aircraft, unable to pay attention to my physical condition.” Captain Lau said during an interview following the heroic incident.
“In order to avoid any further harm to the crew and passengers, I had to reduce the speed in the situation of extreme noise and temperature, and with no automatic equipment functioning. Manual operation by my own visual was my only choice. I have to say that I operated the control handle by means of perseverance and determination - luckily we succeeded.”
The copilot’s uniform was ravaged by winds
The co-pilot is being treated for injury
According to a passenger who was on the plane, they heard an almighty bang, followed by weightlessness. All the passengers were understandably terrified but the crew reacted calmly and quickly. They helped everyone to put on the oxygen masks and were making sure of everyone‘s safety. “The whole crew are heroes!” he said through tears of joy.
This is the first case of cockpit glass falling off at ten thousand meters high altitude in the Global Civil Aviation, it’s even more dangerous than what happened in America’s Miracle on the Hudson. But captain Lau and the crew handled the situation perfectly, with all departments in civil aviation cooperating rapidly and effectively, to ensure a frightful traffic disaster was avoided.