Effect of Vibration: Crawling of Cracks – Case of Aloha Airlines Flight 243

Aloha Airlines Flight 243 between Hilo and Honolulu in Hawaii suffered extensive damage after an explosive decompression in flight, on April 28, 1988. The aircraft was a Boeing 737-297. It was able to land safely at Kahului Airport on Maui. There was one fatality a flight attendant was swept overboard.

Fatigue cracks occurred due to disbanding of cold bonded lap joints and hot bonded tear joints in the fuselage panels. This caused the rivets to be over-stressed. A large number of small cracks in the fuselage may have joined to form a large crack. Corrosion was also a related factor.

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