The pilots of a LOT Polish Airlines flight to Warsaw declared an emergency after a burning odour started to fill the passenger cabin of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner towards the end of a 10-hour flight from Seoul, South Korea.
As many as 10 fire trucks rushed to meet the aircraft after it touched down at Warsaw’s Chopin International Airport on Tuesday after initial reports suggested the declared Mayday was due to an engine fire.
In fact, there was no engine fire and it appears that one of the electronic windows in the Economy section had started to melt. A photo obtained by the Aviation Herald shows what appears to be burn marks on the actual window.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is unique in that it comes with factory fitted electronically dimmable windows as standard. The windows use electrochromic technology that allows passengers and crew to dim windows to almost full darkness with just the touch of a button.
The technology works by running an electric current through a special transparent gel that is sandwiched between two panels within each window. Increasing the voltage running through the gel makes the window increasingly darker.
The Dreamliner has five settings from 1 (which is fully transparent) to 5 which is the darkest setting, although some light is still visible in bright sunlight. Windows can be controlled by passengers at their seats but they can also be overridden by flight attendants using a central control system.
The manufacturer, Gentex, has been approached by Airbus for an updated version that will launch on the A350 later this year and which boasts a maximum dimming effect that is 100 times darker than the previous version found on 787’s.
Despite the damage caused to the LOT Polish Airlines operated Dreamliner, the near 10-year-old 787 was put back into service within a day of landing in Warsaw.
In 2019, a professional photoshoot onboard a newly delivered Turkish Airlines 787 went horribly wrong when the powerful photography lights that had been set up in the cabin melted several of the Dreamliner’s high tech windows.
Boeing remains banned by the Federal Aviation Administration from delivering any new Dreamliners to airlines because of alleged manufacturing faults.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.