The technical reconstruction of the disaster of the Aloha Airlines 243 plane which exploded in flight

The April 28, 1988 the Boeing 737-200 of flight 243 of Aloha Airlines with 89 passengers flying from the city of Hilo to Honululu, in islands Hawaii, he was the protagonist of a tragic accident. Because of one explosive decompression a portion of the fuselage approximately long 5.4 meters it separated cleanly from the aircraft, throwing the stewardess out Clarabelle Lansing which, unfortunately, was never found again. They were also seriously injured in the accident 7 passengers And another flight attendant and the vehicle was forced to make an emergency landing at Kahului airport, onisland of Maui.

The Aloha Airlines Flight 243 crash: What happened on April 28, 1988

As anticipated, on April 28 Aloha Airlines flight 243 was making a domestic flight in the Hawaiian archipelago, from Hilo to Honolulu. There were 89 passengers and 6 crew members on board, including the captain Robert Schornstheimer and the first mate Madeline Tompkins. Before departure, the normal pre-flight inspection which apparently did not report anything abnormal. At 1.25pm ​​the vehicle took off and, once it reached approximately 7300 meters above sea level, the passengers saw a frontal portion of the fuselage tear apart, throwing the fifty-eight-year-old stewardess out of the plane. Obviously as soon as the pilots realized what was happening they took matters into their own hands and decided to carry out a emergency landing at Kahului Airport on the island of Maui.

The causes of the Aloha Airlines 243 disaster: what the investigations revealed

Obviously in the aftermath of the disaster all the operations were started investigations necessary to find out what had caused the separation of the fuselage. According to the results that emerged, it seems that the most plausible explanation is linked to a concept called “fatigue“: conceptually it is a progressive weakening of the material caused by the continuous variation of the stresses – linked in turn to the continuous variations in pressure to which the aircraft is subjected. The Boeing 737 in question had accumulated, at the time of the accident, almost 90,000 take-off-landing cycles and over 35,000 flight hours over 19 years.

Specifically, this phenomenon would have affected the S-10L fuselage joint: they would have already been here There are several cracks in correspondence with the rivets that connected the different portions of the fuselage. These cracks most likely do they connected quickly with each other to form o one big crack or more large cracks. This would have caused part of the fuselage to collapse in a few moments.

rivet crack

The investigations carried out by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) they established that the main cause of the disaster is to be found ininability of the maintenance program in detect the presence of damage of this extent.