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Cracked window forces Mabus' plane back to Md.

Mar. 27, 2012 - 06:47PM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 27, 2012 - 06:47PM  |  
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JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — A military flight bound for Orlando, Fla., with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus onboard was diverted Tuesday after a window in the cockpit cracked.

The Gulfstream V, which was about 40 minutes away from Orlando International Airport, instead returned to Joint Base Andrews, where it originated.

Nobody was injured. The double-paned glass in the cockpit fractured into several pieces but stayed intact — shards of glass were not scattered about the aircraft nor was cabin pressure lost. The plane diverted back to Andrews for repairs before Mabus begins a two week trip around the Pacific on Wednesday.

Mabus was headed to the Alliance to Save Energy's Energy Efficiency Global Forum to deliver a speech on the Navy's efforts to use renewable fuels and power sources.

Mabus learned that the plane had been diverted while being interviewed by a Navy Times reporter aboard the flight. An aide got Mabus's attention between questions, explained the situation and pointed out that the aircraft had turned around and would need to descend to 10,000 feet.

Mabus and others onboard were able to look into the cockpit and see the damaged window. Passengers remained calm, and the flight continued much like nothing had happened.

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