Watch This Pilot Keep Their Cool After Canopy Explodes Mid-Flight

Narine Melkumjan was left with visual impairments for more than a day after this. - Gif: @NarineMelkumjan / The Despatch via YouTube
Narine Melkumjan was left with visual impairments for more than a day after this. - Gif: @NarineMelkumjan / The Despatch via YouTube

It’s pretty scary when something goes wrong in your car while you’re driving, but I can only imagine that the fear is multiplied tenfold when something goes wrong for a pilot at altitude. Despite having to deal with the fear of plummeting to their death, footage of one pilot keeping their cool when their canopy exploded has now emerged on social media.

Dutch pilot Narine Melkumjan shared the footage of the incident this weekend, but she says the scary ordeal actually happened a few years ago when she was getting in some aerobatics practice in her Extra 330LX. In the clip, which she shared on /Twitter/ X, Melkumjan takes to the skies in the plane but is only airborne for a few moments before disaster strikes.

After banking around a tight turn, the canopy of her 330LX shatters and bursts open. The wind rushes in and Melkumjan begins fumbling for the controls. While she’s exposed to the elements, the Dutch pilot manages to keep her cool and maintain control of the aircraft.

Melkumjan says the sudden loss of her canopy left her struggling to breathe and see while she was controlling the aircraft. In fact, she warned that her vision didn’t fully return to normal for more than 28 hours after the ordeal. Despite all this, she managed to return to the ground safely a few moments later.


However, she warned on X that the whole incident could have been avoided if she’d only been more thorough with her pre-flight checks before taking off. In a post on X, she explained:

The canopy locking pin had never gone into the locked position, and I failed to notice it during my checks. I also made the mistake of going to the training camp right after recovering from COVID, without allowing my body enough time to fully regain strength. Additionally, flying without any eye protection made the flight even more challenging than it already was.

Now, Melkumjan is hoping that by sharing the video and details of the traumatic moment with other budding pilots, she can encourage them to take more care when taking off. She’s now calling on pilots to ensure that they complete all their pre-flight checks thoroughly.

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