Watch This Pilot Land Her Plane After the Glass Canopy Opens and Shatters Mid-Flight


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A post shared by Narine Melkumjan (@narinemelkumjan)

Many people have a fear of flying, but for composer and pilot Narine Melkumjan, this anxiety took on a whole new level. During an aerobatic training flight, the glass canopy of her Extra 330LX monoplane suddenly flew open and shattered, leaving her exposed to the dangerous winds.

“The flight was a distressing experience, filled with noise, breathing difficulties, and impaired visibility,” Melkumjan recalls. “It took me nearly 28 hours to fully recover my vision.” She shared a video of the terrifying moment on social media, capturing the instant the canopy suddenly swung open and shattered as she began a barrel roll. Forced to land quickly, both she and the plane struggled to maintain control.

“Probably the most difficult part was to keep the power in, thus trading my vision and breathing for kinetic energy,” Melkumjan admits. “Although due to all the noise it was difficult to hear what my coach was saying on the radio, one thing I’ve heard loud and clear was ‘just keep flying.'”

Fortunately, Melkumjan kept her composure and managed to land safely, but the distressing incident served as a hard lesson on the importance of thorough pre-flight checks. “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,” she explains. “The canopy locking pin had never gone into the locked position, and I failed to notice it during my checks.”

Melkumjan also admitted that she wasn’t at her physical best on the day of the flight. “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,” she wrote on Instagram. “Additionally, flying without any eye protection made the flight even more challenging than it already was.”

Melkumjan decided to share the flight footage a couple of years after the event occurred in the hopes that other pilots would learn from her mistakes. “If you are a pilot watching this, I hope my story serves as a cautionary tale,” she says. “I regret that it took me so long to share this video footage. It’s not easy to put my vulnerabilities out there for the world to see. However, I have come to realize how important it is to be transparent about our shortcomings and the lessons we learn along the way.”

Melkumjan refers to herself as the “flying pianist” because she not only plays the piano but also composes her own music inspired by her experiences in the air.

You can check out more of the pilot's flying adventures by following Melkumjan on Instagram.

Watch how pilot Narine Melkumjan maneuvered her monoplane after the glass canopy unexpectedly opened and shattered. (Glass shatters at 6:22.)

Narine Melkumjan: Instagram | X | YouTube
h/t: [Reddit]

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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