The pilots only discovered that the window had not been closed properly after the Boeing 737–900 had taken off. None of the 178 passengers or crew on board were injured, and the aircraft landed safely less than 20 minutes later.
According to available information, United Airlines flight UA-1274 stopped climbing shortly after takeoff, having reached 1 200 meters, he declared an emergency because one of the windows in the cockpit was open.
The pilots' radio communications are hard to hear over the wind noise in the background, but air traffic controllers were able to clear the runway for the immediate return of the Boigne. to Bradley International.
In a statement, a United spokesman confirmed that UA-1274 was forced to return to the airport to “deal with an open cockpit window.”
“After a safe landing we re-sent our clients on another plane.”
The passengers ended up arriving in Washington about six hours late.
There are side windows on both sides of the Boeing 737 cockpit that open from inside the cockpit and can be used when pilots need to communicate directly with ground personnel or for emergency evacuation.
There are different mechanisms for opening cockpit windows depending on on the make and model of the aircraft, but on the Boeing 737, the window opens with a simple lever and retractable handle. To close the window, pilots simply need to reverse the process and lock it in the correct position.
However, there is no electronic indication that the window is closed and locked.
Interestingly, that the cockpit window can be opened and closed even in flight, but at lower altitudes. Boeing has training materials for pilots to do just that.
In this case, the aircraft was taken out of service for 12 hours. This means that the engineers wanted to make sure that there was no hidden damage, or they were looking for the real reason for the unexpected opening of the window.