The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has said “high power lights used during a filming event” were to blame for a recent occurrence in which several cabin windows on an Airbus A321 were damaged.

The AAIB said the damage was discovered after takeoff on the aircraft’s next flight.

“Work is ongoing with the aircraft manufacturer and operator to fully understand the properties of the lights used and how this risk can be managed in future,” the AAIB said.

“Aircraft owners and operators should consider the hazard posed by such activities to minimise the risk of aircraft damage.”

The incident on October 4, 2023 saw a Titan Airways Airbus A321neo have to return to Stansted Airport after several windows became dislodged.

AAIB Special Bulletin

In its Special Bulletin note released today, the AAIB said: “The windows appear to have sustained thermal damage and distortion because of elevated temperatures while illuminated for approximately four to five and a half hours during filming activity the day before the flight.

“It is likely that the flood lights were positioned closer than 10 m. Whereas in this case the damage became apparent at around FL100 and the flight was concluded uneventfully, a different level of damage by the same means might have resulted in more serious consequences, especially if window integrity was lost at higher differential pressure.”

You can read the full report here.

Image courtesy of AAIB
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