Loss of structural integrity on an aircraft

Loss of structural integrity on an aircraft

Loss of structural integrity on an aircraft is a phenomenon which has been known to occur in several major incidents in aviation history.


"Note: Most information below has been collected from Wikipedia, but other sources include National Geographic Channel's "Seconds From Disaster" and "Air Crash Investigation"."

Partial loss of structural integrity is generally known to be the more common type of the phenomenon, where you could probably guide an aircraft down to a successful landing. Complete loss is much rarer, and obviously more catastrophic. Causes of loss of structural integrity include:

* Faulty design.
* Faulty maintenance.
* Pilot error.
* Weather conditions.
* Sabotage.

Accidents and incidents

* 10 October 1933: A Boeing 247 registered NC13304 operating for United Airlines disintegrated as it flew over Chesterton, Indiana in the U.S.. It had been blown up by a nitroglycerine device. All 4 passengers and 3 crew on board were killed.

* 12 June 1972: A McDonnell Douglas DC-10 suffered a near-catastrophic incident when a cargo door burst open and the rear cabin floor collapsed. No one on board American Airlines Flight 96 was killed, and the plane managed to land safely.

* 3 March 1974: Turkish Airlines Flight 981 was destroyed as it flew over Ermenoville, France. This incident mirrored the Flight 96 incident, and highlighted a serious design flaw in DC-10s. At the time this was the worst aircraft disaster in the world, and as of early 2008 remains the second-worst single-aircraft accident in terms of loss-of-life.

* 25 May 1979: Due to a maintenance flaw, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed with 271 people on board after an engine detached from the left wing. As of January 2008 it is the worst air accident on US soil.

* 23 June 1985: Air India Flight 182, a Boeing 747, broke up at 31,000 feet (9,500 metres), 180 miles off County Cork, Ireland, and 45 minutes from landing at Heathrow, due to a terrorist bomb in the forward cargo hold. Flying from Montreal to London, there were 329 people on board, 280 of whom were Canadian.

* 28 April 1988: Aloha Airlines Flight 243, a Boeing 737-200 aircraft, suffered a catastrophe when eighteen feet of the roof blew off due to corrosion and metal fatigue. The aircraft landed with the loss of one of the crewmembers.

* 21 December 1988: Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747-121 nicknamed "Clipper Maid of the Seas", was destroyed as it flew over Lockerbie, Scotland. Almost identically to the Flight 182 disaster, the aircraft was brought down by a terrorist bomb in the forward luggage hold. It remains Britain's worst air disaster, with all 243 passengers and 16 crew on board the aircraft killed, and a further 11 fatalities in Lockerbie.

* 24 February 1989: United Airlines Flight 811, a Boeing 747, was forced to land in Hawaii after a cargo door burst open, ripping a large hole in the side of the aircraft and killing nine people.

* 25 July 2008: Qantas Flight 30, a Boeing 747, suffered a 1.5m break in its fuselage and associated loss of fairings while flying at 29,000ft. After an emergency descent to 10,000ft, the aircraft was able to divert and land with no reported injuries.


*Mayday/Air Crash Investigation
*Seconds From Disaster

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