April 2nd, 2008
10:57 AM ET

Imagine you're the pilot, and the cockpit windows start to shatter

And then the cockpit fills with smoke...
That's the real-life scenario Drew Griffin reveals in an exclusive report on 360° tonight: At least 10 times in four years on American Airlines flights of Boeing 757’s. Despite pilots' warnings, the problem is only now being acknowledged.
Also on 360° tonight at 10PM ET: In the presidential race, Dana Bash joins McCain as he storms MD and FL. Candy Crowley's with Obama and Suzanne Malveaux's with Clinton in PA. And Michelle Obama rallies at Carnegie Mellon University.
As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Soledad O'Brien talks with the one man who was with him on the balcony when he was shot and killed.
In our on-going reporting on our Planet in Peril, Miles O'Brien is there as Congressional discusses whether the struggling polar bear, losing habitat and food as the ice melts, should be listed as engendered.
What are your thoughts about all this? We'd like to know.
On the UN's global Autism Awareness Day: When Gwenyth Jackaway’s son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, she found 7 more mothers who used the same sperm donor. Three of their 12 children are on the autism spectrum, a rate 45 times higher than normal. Randi Kaye examines potential evidence of a genetic link.
And at 11PM ET, see our special hour on autism, and meet Amanda Baggs - she is autistic, smart as a whip and extraordinarily articulate. She also has a razor-sharp humor and, at the end of the day, you'll find her deeply moving.
Thank you for joining us.
– Barclay Palmer, 360° Senior Produder

Comments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean? 

Filed under: Airline Safety • Autism • Barclay Palmer • Drew Griffin • Raw Politics
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Tom

    The British Airways plane that blew the window out was a BAC-111, and the window blowing out is not going to make the plane crash. It will cause a rapid decompression, requiring the crew to descend to a lower altitude and make an emergency landing. As far as the comment made on Anderson Coopers show, saying the pilot of the 757 that was fearful of the windshield shattering, decided to keep his oxygen mask and googles close to him is a bit over the top. All commercial airliners have the oxygen mask and google right next to the pilots and pilots are required to test them every day. So stop worrying about the windows.

    April 3, 2008 at 12:49 am |
  2. Diane Glasser

    A simple question has the NTSB checked out the company that made the glass windshields for the airplanes? If so did they check to see that they were made to the specifications required and if not what has been done? I was planning on flying this summer and now will take the train instead. I guess the executives of the airlines have decided that outsourcing jobs and manufacturing of products and equipment keeps them in the black and to hell with the safety of the American passenger. Diane G, PA

    April 2, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  3. Robert Haas, Sr.

    One of the principal reasons for apparent party defections among Republican or Democrat party members and, hence, their consideration for backing a third or Independent party candidate lies in past and current congressional self-dealings through "earmarks", "legislatively directed spending", or "pork" projects, which exceeded $17 billion in 2007. Were most of these funds directed instead to such needy programs as healthcare, housing assistance, worker training, et al., the top congressional porkers would be recognized for their positive contributions to the financial well-being of the American consumer instead of their positive contributions to the higher taxes, which their greed for re-election, cause the American consumer to bear.

    April 2, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  4. Donald Glass

    Being in a wheelcair myself, I use to enjoy going to Wal*Mart for they had good deals on a lot of things. But after watching your program onwhat they have done to this lady and her family, I will NEVE EVER shop in Walmart again. I will tell everyone I know to stop shopping there and go else where. Does an outfit like Walmart who made 90 BILLION really need another 200k from this family who was going to use that money to take care of her for the rest of her life? I THINK NOT.

    Donald in Fultondale, Alabama

    April 2, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  5. Eugenia

    Didn't the polar bears just miss some kind of deadline to be put on the endangered list? I really feel it's important to be talking more commonly about the Earth's changes and all it's effects. The more we know, the less there is to be alarmed about. I think a Planet In Peril blog would be fantasic! Get people talking/blogging/discussing and understanding!

    I had to look up the word "engendered"

    San Francisco, Ca

    April 2, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  6. Lesli

    I went home for lunch today and watched CNN at noon EST. Great stuff on Autism. Looking forward to your special tonight with Amanda Baggs.

    April 2, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  7. Kimberly, Hiram, Ohio

    It boggles my mind that anyone can argue that the polar bear is not an endangered species. When polar bears begin to drown because the ice is melting, then it is time to act. I hope that Congress does the right thing; it would be terrible to lose such an amazing species.

    I am looking forward to your continued coverage of the presidential race. This will certainly be the most exciting election in recent memory.

    April 2, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  8. Karin

    Yet another animal soon to bite the dust... or rather swallow the water I guess. The melting which threatens the polar bear's habitat has brought headlines to the newspapers I read and the evening news I watch. Sadly enough, not because of the polar bear but because of the dollar signs in the oil and mining industry's eyes. They're already dividing the pie, already fighting over who gets to drill where and for what. And all this because WE – the consumer – have an insatiable hunger for their product. One of the last places on earth where nature is untouched but we just can't wait to get our grubby little hands all over it. Here is yet another chance for all of us and in particular the media to not just look at the polar bear as just another endangered species but as a symbol of our selfish greed and its consequences at work.

    April 2, 2008 at 11:49 am |
  9. Slater

    I would love to read more on the cockpit story.

    I am grateful that 360 followed up with this; it gives the public a direction of information in what the "wiring" inspections last week were all about.

    Last year I was a passenger on many flights, and I noticed that the flights were so over booked it was similar to moving cattle. This was not during the holidays, which are especially challenging for smooth travel.

    On one flight I sat with a pilot and asked all sorts of questions to ease my nervousness about flying – such as how dangerous turbulence really is, how often the planes given a thorough inspection – and he seemed confident that things ran rather well in the airline bizz, and further, had no anxiety about flying whatsoever.He did, however admit frustration over the quick turnover of flights. Air flight has become so competitive it feels like the restaurant business to me; a constant table turn and burn from open to close. The more I flew, the more I felt I was in a restaurant in the sky, so to speak. This calmed my underlying anxieties...for a few days.

    One has to wonder, if you can afford the time to entertain the thought, how honest are the airlines that we are trusting with our lives in the sky? Can we really rely on their reassurances, or will we be shocked when a few planes go down from sheer neglect of the very things the FAA assures us are maintained diligently?

    I know we lemmings get caught up in the whirlwind of deadlines, meetings and bustling to all sorts of destinations, but if you stand back and observe the whirlwind that you are caught up in, it is so sickening and scary it almost makes you want to – moo in frustration.

    April 2, 2008 at 11:30 am |
  10. Lesli

    AC360 staff

    The cockpit window blowing out is really scary. There was a show on the Discovery chanel about a British plane this happened to and the Pilot was sucked out of the plane while it flew. One of the flight crew was able to grab him by the legs and hold on until the plane landed. Believe it or not, against all odds the pilot lived! I can't remember the type of plane, but it may have been a 757.

    Asperger’s Syndrome – this is a very small study group but I'm sure the report will be interesting.

    April 2, 2008 at 11:20 am |
  11. Cindy

    Looking forward to Drew's report. I can't believe that after the scenario you described happened ten times in four years that they are just now getting around to looking into it. Are they crazy or what!? It seems to me they'd want that never to happen again because it could make the plane crash and they could get their pants sued off! How ridiculous!!

    I'm looking forward to seeing more about McCain on 360. I think you all have focused enough on Hillary and Obama. Give John his rightful dues! And BTW he was on Letterman last night and it was awesome! He is crazy funny! And he also made some very good points on there. I hope that you all show some of that tonight.

    C-Ya then....

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    April 2, 2008 at 11:07 am |