Human Factors on Aloha 243

Topics: Air safety, National Transportation Safety Board, Shift work Pages: 8 (2397 words) Published: March 25, 2008
After studying the Aloha aircraft accident in 1933, our group is interested in the investigation in Human performances factors in maintenance and inspection. We have divided the investigation into 5 aspects:


1.The lack of inattention of the mechanics in practical procedures and policies planning.

Aloha Airline operated inter-island flight in Hawaii, therefore, Aloha 243 was operating in salt water environment. During each flight, there was a risk that the air saturated with salt and water vapour would enter the crevice when the aluminium sheets are failed to be bonded to the fuselage by epoxy adhesive, also corrosion of metal is stimulated.

After the accident, a full-scale investigation was launched by the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). It concluded that the accident was caused by metal fatigue exacerbated by crevice corrosion, the corrosion is exacerbated by the salt water and the age of the aircraft was already 19 years old as the plane operated in a salt water environment.

During the pre-flight inspection, there were no damages or abnormal conditions on Aloha 243 were found. Furthermore, In 1988, when the accident of Aloha 243 happened, Federal Aviation Administration did not have requirement that forced airline operators to carry out inspection between each flight. We can say that 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 and prevented.

As all the operators and mechanics are trained properly and qualified through adequate testes and examinations, they would be capable to consider about the risk that corrosion will be caused by salt water. Besides, following the authority regulations, they should also carry out any extra inspections specifically required according to the status of aircraft (eg: age, structural and functional properties etc) ensure the aging aircraft was not in risk or damages were made to the aircraft during the flight. (In this case, if inspection is carried out after each flight, accident will be prevented.)

Inspection between each flight besides avoiding accidents, it also helps engineers to understand what problems that would be aroused by operation environment. Pre-flight inspection of Aloha 243 was only carried out before the first flight each day which is inadequate. Besides, all inspection records at each inspection should be kept; it records all the status of the parts and help engineers to understand how the aircraft structures would be affected after each operation. According to these past experiences, the mechanics can able to give any advanced advices to engineers on maintenance and improve the design of aircraft.

2.The external and internal factors affecting the performance of maintenance engineers/ workers. 2a) External Sources – Stress

- Stress caused by surrounding environment (eg: flashing or strobing lights)

A flashing light is designed to attract attention, not only to aircraft, but also to the machines while doing the maintained check in the dark night. However, seeing a flashing light will raise the maintenance worker level of ALERTNESS. It may be very distracting and even fatiguing.

For instance, a flashing amber light from a fuel truck parked right in front of the cockpit at night can be very distracting if the maintenance workers are trying to complete with the flight preparation tasks.

-Stress caused by concentration and overload

High skill stress of the maintenance worker can as the result of a high level of performance requirement for an extended period: for instance there are heavy workload During each maintenance working hour cycle .Those maintenance workers are maintain a high concentration (cause at night ,need to spend more concentration) and high level of skill stress. Their performance will be affected under the high level of anxiety.

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