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AirAsia QZ8501 AIRBUS LOSS PROBABLY CAUSED BY HIGH ALTITUDE EXPLOSIVE DECOMPRESSION.

28 Dec 2014

We have good reasons to believe that the loss of this airliner was the result of mid-air high altitude explosive decompression.  Problem is:  airliners which serve archipelagos must fly to and from airports with high salinity in the air, and make many short flights. Each successive landing produces stresses on the upper part of the body (fuselage) known as “oil-canning”. Such induced stresses, normally in the upper part of the fuselage, have the net result of elongating rivet holes (Orifices) and that, allows the atmospheric salinity to corrode both fasteners, structural members, and skin panels.  Bottom line is: it is not the number of years in service, or the miles flown, but rather the number of landings that is at issue as a predictor of potential failure. A classic case of “short legs, and saline atmosphere”. was Aloha Airlines Flight 243, April 28, 1988.(below).

EXTRACTS FROM WIKIPEDIA

Aloha Airlines Flight 243 (AQ 243, was a scheduled Aloha Airlines flight between Honolulu in Hawaii. On April 28, 1988, a Boeing 737-297 serving the flight suffered extensive damage after an explosive decompression in flight, but was able to land safely at Kahului Airport on Maui. There was one fatality, flight attendant Clarabelle Lansing, who was swept overboard from the airplane. Another 65 passengers and crew were injured. The safe landing of the aircraft despite the substantial damage inflicted by the decompression established Aloha Airlines Flight 243 as a significant event in the history of aviation, with far-reaching effects on aviation safety policies and procedures. We are lucky this aircraft survived to tell the tale.- But only if we learn from the past.

EVENT SUMMARY: No unusual occurrences were reported during the take-off and ascent. Around 13:48, as the aircraft reached its normal flight altitude of 24,000 feet (7,300 m) about 23 nautical miles (43 km) south-southeast of Kahului, Maui, a small section on the left side of the roof ruptured with a “whooshing” sound. The captain felt the aircraft roll left and right, and the controls went loose. The first officer noticed pieces of grey insulation floating over the cabin. The door to the cockpit was gone so the captain could look behind him and see blue sky. The resulting explosive decompression tore off a large section of the roof, consisting of the entire top half of the aircraft skin extending from just behind the cockpit to the wing leading edge.

NO LOST PARTS FOUND.  Despite an extensive search of the ocean at the estimated location of the incident, neither Ms. Lansing’s body nor the piece of the fuselage that was blown off the plane were ever found. The flight crew reacted heroically, and the pilots surely had white knuckles when they finally brought the wounded bird down through great airmanship.

NTSB FINDINGS Investigation by the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the accident was caused by metal fatigue exacerbated by crevice corrosion. The plane was 19 years old and operated in a coastal environment, with exposure to salt and humidity. Does this sound familiar?

For excellent pictures of the mid-disaster see www.disastercity.info/flt243/index.htm

THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL CASE OCCURRED MUCH EARLIER IN 1952

EXTRACTS FROM WIKIPEDIA:

THREE BRITISH COMETS-FLAGSHIP OF BOAC exploded in mid-air as the result of- explosive decompression (a sly old aeronautical enemy) that doomed Great Britain’s primacy into commercial jet transport. The De Havilland DH 106 Comet was the first production commercial jetliner developed and manufactured by De Havilland, Headquartered at Hertfordshire, Great Britain. The Comet’s 1st prototype first flew on 27 July 1949. It featured an aerodynamically clean design, with four de Havilland Ghost turbojet engines buried in the wings, a pressurized and large square windows. For the era, the Comet offered a relatively quiet, comfortable passenger cabin and showed signs of being a commercial success at its 1952 debut. THEN… several Comets came down in pieces from high altitude.

ANATOMY OF THE TRAGEDY A year after entering commercial service the DH 106 Comets began suffering problems, with three of them breaking up during mid-flight in well-publicized accidents. This was later found to be due to catastrophic metal fatigue in the airframes, a problem not well understood at the time. The Comets were withdrawn from service and extensively tested after the fact to discover the cause; the first incident had been incorrectly blamed on adverse weather; however, the exhaustive testing revealed fatal design flaws, including dangerous stresses at the corners of the square windows and installation methodology; As a result, the Comet was extensively redesigned with oval windows, structural reinforcement and other changes. Even so, by then the Boeing 707 had gained world trust as a jetliner that flew twice as fast as any prop-driven airliners of its time; while Britain, never recovered from its BOAC prestige and financial loss.

PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COST ARE THE MAIN CONCERN OF AIRLINER MAKERS AND OPERATORS.  Naturally, Airbus does not wish to admit failures in design consideration, especially when weight considerations are paramount. Airbus says: Oh! A320 are proven aircraft with thousands safely in service all over the world. Yes but under the circumstances above? In our mind aircraft destined for short flights in saline airports need to have such problems ironed out in design modifications (Airbus knows where to begin, and so do I, but they do not wish to admit fault). Meanwhile the operators probably say: Well, Airbus directives have not instructed us to inspect the upper part of the fuselage for smoky rivets or other signs of skin distress.

SO WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE MALAYSIAN AIRCRAFT? We submit it exceeded the altitude at which its weakened fuselage could stand the pressure differential, and “blew up”. In all probability the pilots thought they were safe, when they radioed that they were going to a higher altitude. Such experienced pilots no doubt considered that a prudent measure given the flight parameters given for their aircraft, but they were wrong. Thousands of small pieces showered down over miles of ocean water never to be seen again. That may be all that is found. If it is any consolation to relatives of the missing, we believe they died an almost instantaneous, unexpected death. May they rest in peace until the ocean gives up its dead, and may their loved ones find closure and keep the missing in their memories, for then, they will continue to live on.

Note: The Public relations cover up of the real events has already started when spokespeople blame the weather, and they lie when they say the pilot had requested to change his flight plan, when they distinctly said they were going to a higher altitude. Airbus Industries will do anything to preserve their international prestige, but as with the DH Comet, in the end, all will be known. It will be interesting to see what the USA NTSB has to say.

Respectfully,

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

e-mail >gonzedo@yahoo.com

P.S. The author worked for many years as an Aircraft Design Engineer


December 28, 2014 at 10:16 PM
7 comments »
  • January 14, 2015 at 9:45 AMfalloncurlewis

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks.
    REPLY: Sure! We share all! – gonzedo

  • January 19, 2015 at 8:24 PMnsbenycalumni

    The very crux of your writing while sounding reasonable initially, did not settle perfectly with me after some time. Somewhere throughout the paragraphs you were able to make me a believer but only for a while. I however have got a problem with your leaps in logic and you would do well to help fill in all those breaks. If you can accomplish that, I would undoubtedly end up being amazed.

    REPLY: “Leaps in logic” ?. Uncertainty of the events, and how they evolve; and how they are colored by a press which will tend to protect Airbus Industries for their fallacies, may give that impression. As the facts begin to accumulate, Indonesia’ Government, and The CEO for Air Asia seem highly inclined to “tell it like it is”. Good for them, and good for the flying public. We will soon see!, and I will then have more to tell about this incident. You amazed? why? I do not purport to be prophet or magician. Only an experienced Aero-design engineer, saying that history repeats itself – unfortunately.
    gonzedo

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