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Page history last edited by Béatrice H. Alves 7 years, 6 months ago



Cracked windshield at 27.000 feet

After depressurizing the cabin, Stone and his copilot then donned their oxygen masks and turned on the valve, but no oxygen appeared to be forthcoming. The sole-occupant pilots then passed out. Stone, a 4,200 hour ATP-rated pilot, said he awoke at 7,000 feet and recovered the aircraft......

Read more about it on Flight Level 350


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Learning from mistakes

View more videos at: http://nbcdfw.com.



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Boeing and metal fatigue

Accident: Southwest B733 near Yuma on Apr 1st 2011, hole in fuselage, sudden decompression

By Simon Hradecky, created Saturday, Apr 2nd 2011 04:25Z, last updated Wednesday, Apr 6th 2011 12:36ZA Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300, registration N632SW performing flight WN-812 from Phoenix,AZ to Sacramento,CA (USA) with 118 passengers and 5 crew, was climbing through FL344 towards FL360 about 105nm west of Phoenix and 65nm northnortheast of Yuma,AZ (USA) when a panel in the cabin ceiling just above the overhead lockers opened with a gunshot like sound leaving a hole of about 5 feet long and 1 foot wide (152 by 30cm) allowing to look straight into the sky. The passenger oxygen masks came down automatically, the crew initiated an emergency descent to 11,000 feet and diverted to Yuma where the aircraft landed without further incident about 28 minutes later. A flight attendant and a passenger received minor injuries and were treated at the airport but did not require transport to a hospital.

Read more here.


Audio Details 737 Rapid Decompression


Audio recordings released by the FAA last week of Southwest Airlines Flight 812, a Boeing 737 with 118 passengers aboard that suffered rapid decompression in April, detail pilots and controllers working the problem. The aircraft was at 36,000 feet flying out of Phoenix for Sacramento when a 59-inch-long gash opened nine inches wide in the top of the cabin, with a loud bang. The Southwest pilots immediately declared an emergency and began a descent to 10,000 feet. As the pilots organized, they formulated a plan to return to Phoenix, but as the situation matured they changed plans and sought the nearest available airport. That turned out to be Yuma, Ariz.


Click here for the MP3 file.
The audio has been edited for time. What's not heard in the edited version is the controllers working together between locations to coordinate their efforts.


The aircraft was a 15-year-old Boeing 737-300. It landed safely at Yuma with a few minor injuries incurred during the rapid descent. NTSB investigators have since determined that misaligned or oblong rivet holes allowed stress points to develop along a bond joint in the 737's skin. It's at or near that joint that the skin ultimately failed. The jet had accumulated 48,740 hours through 89,781 cycles (a cycle is one takeoff and one landing). Inspections that were required following the accident turned up four other 737s with crack indications at a single rivet and one with cracking at two rivets. All of those aircraft had flown between 40,000 and 45,000 cycles, according to the NTSB. 


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Airbus emergency descent after cabin pressure failure (video)


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After a tail strike

A passenger reported the takeoff appeared normal initially until the aircraft began to rotate, the nose lifted up, however, nothing happened. The nose dropped again, then rose very sharply perhaps because of the runway end becoming visible. A sound of impact was heard from the back of the cabin followed by scratching sounds, that lasted for about 5 seconds, then the aircraft began to climb. During the initial climb the aircraft was shaking, the right wing dropped which the passenger, frequent traveller, perceived as unusual. The aircraft continued to climb heading north out of the Madrid area, no announcements were made. Passengers in the back of the cabin reacted confused and increasingly alarmed with no announcement made by the crew. Several minutes into the flight the passenger oxygen masks dropped (see photo below) together with the announcement "put on your mask and breath normally", the aircraft obviously stopped the climb and rapidly descended, a short time later an announcement "10,000 feet" was heard, cabin crew announced passengers could not remove their masks, the cockpit announced now they were returning to Madrid but provided no reason.

Read more about it on the Aviation Herald

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Southwest Inspects Its Jets After Hole Forces Landing (text)


Published: July 14, 2009

A day after a football-size hole opened in the fuselage of a Southwest Airlines plane and forced an emergency landing, an inspection of 181 Boeing 737s by the airline has turned up no problems, a Southwest spokeswoman said Tuesday.


The spokeswoman, Marilee McInnis, said mechanics had inspected all of the airline’s 737-300 models, one-third of its all-737 fleet, inside and out overnight and had found “no concerns.” The airline operated normally on Tuesday morning, she said.

Michael Cunningham, a passenger on Flight 2294 on Monday, said he was trying to nap about 30 minutes into the flight from Nashville to Baltimore when he heard a loud roar and looked up to see the hole, near an overhead storage bin not far from his head. Passengers remained calm as oxygen masks dropped, he said.

“Everybody put their mask on,” Mr. Cunningham said Tuesday on the “Today” show on NBC. “A couple of people were asking other passengers and the flight crew: ‘Is the bag working? Is the mask working?’ ”

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent an investigator to the airport in Charleston, W.Va., where the 15-year-old plane landed, to inspect it and determine what caused the failure in the fuselage at cruising altitude. Representatives from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration are helping in the investigation.

None of the 131 people on the plane were injured, and passengers were placed on a later flight to Baltimore on Monday night.

The event could have been catastrophic, and an F.A.A. spokesman, Les Dorr, said Southwest was being prudent to examine its airliners immediately. More sophisticated analysis will have to wait for details to emerge from the investigation, he said.

“In the absence of any identified problem in the top of the airplane, that’s all you can do,” Mr. Dorr said.

In March, the agency ordered Southwest to pay a $7.5 million fine for a series of safety violations in which its jets were flying with undiagnosed fatigue cracks.

The investigation against the airline, based in Texas, also uncovered efforts by managers at the F.A.A. to cover up reports of maintenance problems at Southwest.

“It was a serious infraction — the average person would have a hard time believing it’s O.K. to have a crack anytime in an airplane,” said Tom Brantley, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the union representing F.A.A. inspectors.

Two inspectors filed whistleblower complaints against the F.A.A. claiming they were threatened by superiors after warning that Southwest was flying planes too long between inspections.

In March 2008, Southwest Airlines was found to have flown 46 airplanes a total of nearly 60,000 flights without required inspections for fuselage cracks. Small fractures were found on several jetliners Southwest operates.

Investigators are likely to scrutinize the airline’s actions in relation to Monday’s emergency, according to several people familiar with Southwest’s operations.

“It’s the same airplane type we’re talking about, and clearly a damaged section of the fuselage that blew out for some reason, so that has to be one’s primary inside theory,” said a Congressional staff member who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly.

Ms. McInnis said it was too early to speculate about what had happened. “Once we know, we can determine what if any further actions need to be taken,” she said.


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Lost door


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Decompression (video)

 Myth or reality?



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Explosive decompression (video)

They never lost a plane to an accident.



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28 April 1988 - Aloha 243 (text + Transcript) 

On a regularly scheduled flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Hawaii, Alhoa Airlines flight 243 took off and climbed to a cruise altitude of 24,000 feet. It was at that level when the ceiling area of the forward passenger cabin suddenly burst open in an explosive decompression. The ceiling separated from the airplane, leaving the passengers from the cockpit door to the front of the wing exposed to the elements as though they were riding in a convertible car. Riding along in terror, they could do nothing as the aircraft dove to an altitude level (around 11,000 feet) where oxygen was not needed. There were two pilots aboard that early afternoon, an observer in the cockpit jumpseat, three flight attendants, and 89 passengers. We pick up the CVR just as the ceiling rips off.

Cabin: [Sound of screams, sound of wind noise]

The CVR microphones in the cockpit could not pick up any crew conversation for the next five minutes. However, the CVR recorded the crew’s transmissions with the ground control through the crew’s oxygen mask microphones.

Co-pilot: Centre, Alhoa two forty three. We’re going down…request lower [altitude]. Centre, Alhoa forty three, Centre, Alhoa forty three. Maui Approach, Aloha two forty three. Maui Tower, Alhoa two forty three. Maui tower, Alhoa two forty three. We’re inbound for a landing. Maui Tower, Alhoa two forty three.

Tower: [Flight] Callin’ Tower say again.

Co-pilot: Maui tower, Aloha two forty three, we’re inbound for landing. We’re just, ah, west of Makena, descending out of thirteen [13,000 feet], and we have rapid depr - we are unpressurised. Declaring an emergency…

Tower: Aloha two forty three, winds zero four zero at one five. Altimeter two niner niner niner. Just to verify again. You’re breaking up. Your call sign is two forty - four? Is that correct. Or two forty three?

Here the crew, having reached 11,000 feet takes off its oxygen masks.

Co-pilot: two forty three Aloha - forty three.

Tower: Two forty - two the equipment is on the the roll. Plan [to approach] straight thousand [ 11,000] feet. Request clearance into Maui for landing. Request the [emergency] equipment.

Tower: Okay, the equipment is on the field…Is on the way. Squawk zero three four three, can you come up on [frequency] one niner one niner point five?

Co- pilot: Two forty three. Can you hear us on one nineteen five two, forty three? Maui Tower, two forty three. It looks like we’ve lost a door. We have a hole in this, ah, left side of the aircraft.

Jumpseat Passenger: I’m fine.

Co-pilot to Captain: Want the [landing] gear?

Captain: No.

Co- pilot: Want the [landing gear]?

Captain: No.

Co-pilot: Do you want it [the gear] down?.

Captain: Flaps fifteen [for] landing.

Co-pilot: Okay.

Captain: Here we go. We’ve picked up some of your airplane business right there. I think they can hear you. They can’t hear me. Ah, tell him, ah, we’ll need assistance to evacuate this airplane.

Co-pilot: Right.

Captain: We really can’ communicate with the flight attendants, but we’ll need trucks, and we’ll need, ah, airstairs from Alhoa.

Co-pilot: All right. [To tower] Maui Tower, two forty three, can you hear me on tower?

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, I hear you loud and clear. Go ahead.

Co-pilot: Ah, we’re gonna need assistance. We cannot communicate with the flight attendants. Ah, we’ll need assistance for the passengers when we land.

Tower: Okay, I understand you’re gonna need an ambulance. Is that correct?

Co-pilot: Affirmative.

Captain to co-pilot: It feels like manual reversion.

Co-pilot: What?

Captain to Co-pilot: Flight controls feel like manual reversion [like the autopilot has switched off].

Co-pilot: Can we maintain altitude ok?

Captain: Let’s try flying…let’s try flying with the gear down here.

Co-pilot: All right you got it.

Cockpit: [Sound of landing gear being lowered]

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, can you give me your souls on board and your fuel on board?

Captain to co-pilot: Do you have a passenger count for tower?

Co-pilot to Tower: We, ah - eighty five, eight six, plus five crew members.

Tower: Okay. And, ah, just to verify. You broke up initially. You do need an ambulance. Is that correct?

Co-pilot: Affirmative.

Tower: Roger. How many do you think are injured?

Co-pilot: We have no idea. We cannot communicate with our flight attendant.

Tower: Okay. We’ll have an ambulance on the way.


Tower: Alhoa two forty three, wind zero five. The emergency] equipment is in place.

Co-pilot: Okay, be advised. We have no nose gear. We are landing without nose gear.

Tower: Okay if you need any other assistance, advise…

Co-pilot: We’ll need all the [emergency] equipment you’ve got. [To Captain] Is it easier to control with the flaps up?

Captain: Yeah put em’ at five. Can you give me a vee speed for a flaps five landing?

Co-pilot: Do you want the flaps down as we land?

Captain: Yeah after we touch down

Co-pilot: Okay.

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, just for your information. The gear appears down. Gear appears down.

Co-pilot to Captain: Want me to go flaps forty…?

Captain: No.

Co-pilot: Okay.

Cockpit: [Sound of touchdown on runway]

Co-pilot: Thrust reverser.

Captain: Okay. Okay. Shut it down.

Co-pilot: Shut it down.

Captain: Now left engine.

Co-pilot: Flaps.

Tower: Alhoa two forty three, just shut her down where you are. Everything [is] fine. The gear did…The fire trucks are on the way.

Captain: Okay

Cockpit: [Sound of engines winding down]

Captain: Okay, start the call for the emergency evacuation.



The Boeing 737 of Alhoa Flight 243 was manufactured in 1969 and had accumulated 35,496 flying hours and 89,680 take - off - landing cycles. The cause of the separation of the ceiling of the aircraft was attributed to static overstress separations. The airplane was old, and the cycles of pressurisation and depressurisation had weakened parts of the fuselage. One flight Attendant was killed. All the passengers landed safely.


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Accident: Qantas B744 near Manila on Jul 25th 2008, large hole in fuselage at FL290

By Simon Hradecky, created Monday, Nov 22nd 2010 09:04Z, last updated Monday, Nov 22nd 2010 09:04ZThe Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) have released their final report concluding:

Contributing safety factors

- During flight, a single pressurised oxygen cylinder failed by rupture; forcefully releasing its contents.

- The force of the suddenly-released pressurised contents of the oxygen cylinder locally ruptured the aircraft’s fuselage and allowed the aircraft to depressurise in an uncontrolled manner.

Other safety factors

- Following the depressurisation, the aircraft’s left VHF omni-range (VOR) navigational system and all three instrument landing systems (ILS) were inoperative.

- Following the depressurisation, the aircraft’s left Flight Management Computer (FMC) was inoperative.

- Following the depressurisation, the aircraft’s right body landing gear anti-skid braking system was partially inoperative.

- Upon automatic activation of the cabin emergency oxygen system, several passenger service units failed to deploy the contained oxygen masks.

- Cabin crew-members were required to shout or signal instructions to passengers on the use of their oxygen masks following the failure of the automatic passenger address tape reproducer (PATR) system.

- The operator’s cabin emergency procedures did not include specific crew actions to be carried out in the event of a PATR failure. [Minor safety issue]

- The safety information provided to passengers did not adequately explain that oxygen will flow to the mask without the reservoir bag inflating. [Minor safety issue]

- Some passengers did not appropriately activate and/or secure their oxygen masks, or did not ensure their dependants had done so.

- A loss of elasticity in the oxygen mask straps required many passengers to manually hold their masks in place.

- Some cabin crew-members did not have an appropriate understanding of the oxygen mask flow indication system. [Minor safety issue]

- Some cabin crew-members left their seats or positions to assist passengers before clearance to resume duties had been given by the flight crew.

- Some cabin crew-members did not have an appropriate understanding of the aircraft’s emergency descent profile, leading to misapprehensions regarding the significance of the situation. [Minor safety issue]

- Several cabin crew-members became partially and temporarily incapacitated during the emergency response.

- Cabin crew training facilities did not appropriately replicate the equipment installed within the aircraft, including the drop-down oxygen mask assemblies. [Minor safety issue]

- While maintaining the appropriate general quality accreditation (ISO 9001) of its engineering facilities, the operator did not maintain independent accreditation of the specific procedures and facilities used for the inspection, maintenance and re-certification of oxygen cylinders. [Minor safety issue]


Read and see much more on the Aviation Herald


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Helios 522


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  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/us/15plane.html?scp=10&sq=&st=nyt

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