Aviation safety investigations & reports

Windshield cracking event involving a Cessna 750, VH-RCA, 460 km SE of Nadi, Fiji, 15 January 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 15 January 2013, at about 1500 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a Cessna Citation 750, registered VH-RCA departed Faleolo International Airport, Samoa for Sydney Airport, New South Wales, with two flight crew and five passengers on board. About 1 hour 35 minutes into the flight the crew received a WSHLD HEAT INOP L (windshield heat inoperative left) message on the engine-indicating and crew-alert system (EICAS) and approximately 2 minutes later the windshield outer ply shattered with a loud bang. An immediate descent was commenced along with a turn towards Nadi International Airport, Fiji. The flight continued to Nadi without further incident and there were no injuries to passengers or crew.

The manufacturer reported that they had experienced two reliability issues with the windshield part number installed on the aircraft (9914380-11/-12). It was likely that the electrically heated windshield had been affected by moisture ingress resulting in a degradation of the electrical connection between the bus bar and the heating film. Changes to the windshield to address the issue were incorporated into part number 9914380-13/-14. There have been no reported cases of either of the failure modes in the -13/-14 windshields.

While the failure of the windshield involved the outer pane only, and did not result in a depressurisation, the precautions taken by the flight crew to descend to a lower altitude and diversion to the alternate airport highlighted the importance of good flight planning.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 17


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 187KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 9.46MB]
General details
Date: 15 January 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1500 UTC   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 460 km SE of Nadi, Fiji    
State: International   Occurrence type: Windows  
Release date: 23 April 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 750  
Aircraft registration VH-RCA  
Serial number 750-0012  
Type of operation Medical Transport  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Apia, Samoa  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018