Wednesday, March 15, 2006

SECRETS OF THE BLACK BOX: Aloha Air Flight 243

On the 28th April 1988, an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737, based at Honolulu International Airport, with 89 passengers onboard, was scheduled for a series of inter-island flights.

As the airplane leveled at 24,000 feet, both the pilots heard a loud "clap" or "whooshing" sound followed by a wind noise behind them. The captain observed that the cockpit entry door was missing and that there was blue sky where the first-class ceiling had been.

The aircraft had suffered an explosive decompression and lost approximately 1/3 of its roof! One flight attendant was ejected from the aircraft. But, through the heroic efforts of the crew, which were captured by the plane's Black Box, the plane was skillfully guided to a safe landing back at Honolulu.

Incredibly, the pilots had managed to fly the aircraft for nearly a half-hour with a full third of the aircraft's roof missing.


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