Dulles Emergency Landing Caused by Faulty Heater

Device was focus of safety warning three years ago

By Kathy Banks
|  Friday, May 21, 2010  |  Updated 2:01 PM EDT
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Dulles Emergency Landing Caused by Faulty Heater

AP

When a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Dulles International Airport Sunday night, the cockpit was full of smoke.

Now there’s word a recurring problem may have triggered it.
 
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday that the smoke came from a piece of window-heating equipment that was the focus of a safety warning three years ago.
 
Flight 27 was en route from New York to Los Angeles with 112 people on board -- including several celebrities, actress and fashion designer Ashley Olsen among them -- when a fire broke out in the cockpit, forcing the Boeing 757 to land at Dulles airport in Virginia. 
 
Passengers said they smelled smoke then saw flames coming out of the cockpit. The front windshield was cracked by the heat of the flames. The NTSB said it took two extinguishers to put out the fire.
 
No one was hurt. 
 
In 2007, NTSB warned about faulty wiring in windshield heaters on many Boeing models, especially the 757, and recommended that airlines replace the devices.

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