ALOHA AIRLINES FLIGHT 243 ACCIDENT
BY LEE, SHU TING
Cause(s) of Accident
The probable cause was identified as failure of the Aloha Airlines maintenance program to
detect the presence of significant disbanding and fatigue damage. Aloha Airline operated inter-
island flight in Hawaii, therefore, Aloha 243 was operating in salt water environment. When the
accident of Aloha 243 happened in 1988, FAA did not have requirement or authority to force all
airlines to carry out inspections between each flight and during the pre-flight, no discrepancies
had been found. Aircraft was in normal condition. The crevice was exacerbated by the salty and
moistly air, if inspection was carried out after each flight, this problem must be able to be aware
Accident was caused by pressurization related cyclic fatigue of fuselage lap joint: disbonding
of joint led to improper load distribution, and fatigue cracking distribution. Joint disbonding also
led to corrosion, which contributed to joint .During each flight, there was a risk that the air
saturated with salt and water vapor would enter the crevice when the aluminum sheets are
Adhesive was breaking down, causing fasteners to carry load for which they were not .After the
failure of Aloha Flight 243, significant research was performed to understand the mechanisms of
crack growth in aluminum airframes. The airlines were not required to replace or even inspect
these joints, only recommended to. The fact that this problem was left unchecked was the
probable cause of this accident. The early Boeing was made of aluminum sheet metal. Where
this sheet metal overlaps there were rivets and epoxy glue installed to hold the sheets together.
The epoxy was found to not bond directly to the aluminum; it only bonded to its outer coating.
The process of applying the epoxy was also shown to have defects; it was applied cold and often,
due to moisture, did not bond correctly. It was these lap joints that failed and caused the ceiling
to separate in this accident.
Structural and Mechanical Factors
All aircraft are subjected to intense situations and high demands due to the nature of living
being carried inside of them. Since that Boeing 737 was already old with a very demanding
schedule on the day of the accident, it should have been inspected between flights for
discrepancies. The vibrations, takeoffs and landings greatly affect the entire structure of the
aircraft due to their intense nature, and always lead to the wearing down of components all
around. So many flights in succession must have weakened the bond between the plates on the
skin of the aircraft which in turn permits more force to be absorbed the fuselage. But definitely,
the crack observed by a lady was a very big problem that did not get addressed due to her
silence and the inspection performed before the daytime.
The accident could have been made worse had the landing gear not deployed as it was
feared by the pilot. Again, the back to back flights placed much stress on the aircraft which is
normal, but had inspections been done after each landing, the crack on the fuselage could have
been detected. Once part of the aircraft broke during flight, it is possible that the intense shake
could have caused the failure of other systems such as the engine. And finally, the open area led
to the death of a human...
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