Video Shows Pilot Barely Managing to Land Plane After Canopy Shatters Mid-Flight

Glass Ceiling

A Dutch pilot was able to safely land her small plane after the glass canopy protecting her from the elements suddenly shattered mid-flight.

Terrifying video footage shared by pilot Narine Melkumjan on X-formerly-Twitter shows the "distressing experience," which took place a "couple of years ago," in its entirety. Shortly after taking off, the latch holding the canopy down came loose, causing the entire panel to flip open — while she was performing a daring aerobatic maneuver.

Melkumjan had to spend the rest of the flight having strong winds buffet her unprotected face, forcing her to squint while landing the plane.

"If you are a pilot watching this, I hope that my story serves as a cautionary tale and that you will learn from my mistakes," she wrote. "To all my fellow pilots out there, fly safe."

Just Keep Flying

As Melkumjan admitted in her post, the incident was largely the result of human error.

"A couple of years ago during my second aerobatic training flight of that day, on a very hot summer day, the canopy of the Extra 330LX that I was flying opened in flight and shattered," she wrote. "As you can see from the video, it was a challenging experience that could have been avoided if I had made a proper visual check before taking off."

"The canopy locking pin had never gone into the locked position, and I failed to notice it during my checks," Melkumjan recalled.

The pilot also said that she "made the mistake of going to the training camp right after recovering from COVID, without allowing my body enough time to fully regain strength" and that "flying without any eye protection made the flight even more challenging than it already was."

While Melkumjan managed to get back to the ground in one piece, it took her "nearly 28 hours" to fully regain her vision due to the strong wind.

In short, it's a terrifying video that should serve both as a warning — and as a reminder that perseverance may just save your life.

"Although due to all the noise it was difficult to hear what my coach was saying on the radio," Melkumjan wrote, "one thing I’ve heard loud and clear 'just keep flying.'"

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