Hull Breach in American Airlines Flight

Friday, October 29, 2010
By George Hatcher

Click to view full size photo at
Contact photographer

What: American Airlines Boeing 757-200 from Miami,FL to Boston,MA
Where: Miami
When: Oct 26th 2010
Who: 154 passengers and 6 crew
Why: A half hour after takeoff, the plane developed rapid decompression at 31,000 feet requiring oxygen masks, an emergency descent and a return to Miami.

Maintenance found a one by two foot hole in the hull.

George’s Point of View

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance!

Even with AD Directives issued, this was still missed. Was there telltale evidence prior to this event that could have prevented endangering 154 passengers and six crew?

The hole in the hull is not unprecedented. Sixteen months prior to flight AA-1640, Southwest Airlines (SWA) flight 2294, (another Boeing suffering a hole in the hull in July 13, 2009), the FAA has already issued Airworthiness Directive 2010-01-09 mandating inspection requirements. At that time, they ascribed the hull failure to a design fault: Fuselage skin failure due to preexisting fatigue at a chemically milled step.

It’s an easy enough thing to visualize-picture slightly squeezing an empty cola can, then blowing into it; and repeating the process, over and over. In a soda can, it would not take the 20 years this plane has been flying for the stressed areas to develop a crease, and eventually crack.

Not that a soda can is expected to sustain the significant pressures at 10,000+ feet, nor does it have the design flaw of chemical milling, nor is its skin made of single and double bonded layers. If it were, one could theoretically presume and anticipate metal fatigue to occur at the weakest location–the edges of where the metal is double-bonded.

In the Southwest Airlines event, it was observed that the progression of metal fatigue tends to be higher at the borders between chemically milled and non-chemically milled bays.

The inspection requirements in SB 737-53A1301 require inspections to detect cracks in the vulnerable areas (the chem-mill step) to avoid sudden fracture and failure of the fuselage skin panels.

Did this plane undergo “repetitive external non-destructive inspections to detect cracks in the fuselage skin“?

Carriers out there, when there are directives which indicate potential problems, pay attention!

If not for the stellar performance of this flight crew, this plane would have been a statistic.

Thank you, John D King for sending the links.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


One Response to “Hull Breach in American Airlines Flight”

  1. […] Hull Breach in American Airlines Flight | George Hatcher's Air … SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Hull Breach in American Airlines Flight | George Hatcher's Air …", url: "" }); […]


Leave a Reply

RSS Plane Crash News

  • 2006 new york city plane crash
    Immediately before the crash, radar measurements show Lidle's aircraft was flying at 112 mph (180 km/h) at 700 feet (210 m) altitude [10] in the East 2006 New York City plane crash - Virtual tour - Panorama - Review of 360°. The 2006 New York City plane crash occurred on October 11, 2006, when a ...
  • Trauma supports provided to people affected by Fond du Lac plane crash
    Investigators may soon gain insight into why an ATR 42 aircraft carrying 25 people crashed shortly after takeoff near Fond du Lac. Morgan Modjeski, Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Published on: December 16, 2017 | Last Updated: December 16, 2017 6:00 AM CST. Photos of a plane crash near the northern ...
  • Airplane crash today
    Plane Crash. Some Evacuation Orders Lifted For Skirball Fire, 265 Schools To Remain Closed FridayThe Skirball Fire has burned 475 acres east of the 405 Freeway near Mulholland Dr Get real-time updates and eyewitness reports on air travel from Breaking News, #breaking- #Chopper11 over scene ...
  • Report details minutes before Dec. 4 plane crash at Rockford airport
    ROCKFORD — A preliminary accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board details the moments that led up to a Dec. 4 plane crash at Chicago-Rockford International Airport. The pilot just before 6 p.m. requested a local instrument flight rules clearance and subsequently was cleared to ...
  • Plane Crash in Saudi Arabia - Jeddah
    Plane Crash in Jeddha Saudi Arabia.
  • Plane crash survivors fearful to fly again
    Survivors of the plane crash near Fond-du-Lac, Sask., are fearful to fly again. The experience will have a lasting impact — both mentally and physically. However, for such a remote community, the survivors may not have a choice about whether to step foot on a plane again.
  • Jeddah airplane crash 15 Dec 2017 || Saudi Arabia || major crash
    Saudi Airlines Cockpit View | Landing Riyadh - Duration: 4:17. StudyOnBoard 505,815 views · 4:17 · Plane crashes on takeoff at Goa airport - 15 injured - Duration: 0:42. euronews (in English) 23,860 views · 0:42 · Shocking! Saudi Arabia Plane Crash 266 members Death! 33 members Serious at Jeddah ...
  • Plane crash survivors fearful to fly again
    Survivors of the plane crash near Fond-du-Lac, Sask., are fearful to fly again. The experience will have a lasting impact — both mentally and physically. How...
  • 911 briefs (Dec. 16, 2017)
    The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office on Friday released the photo of a man the agency is looking for in connection to a homicide Thursday morning in Stockton. Detectives are trying to find Branden Iseli regarding the fatal stabbing of a man about 7 a.m. Thursday in the 2100 block of South D Street, ...
  • Barossa wine industry maestro Colin Gramp, Orlando, recalls plane crash tragedy behind Last ...
    Tuesday, October 25, 1938. It began like any normal day at Adelaide's elite private school, St Peter's College. The boarders had dressed in their old-world, British-style uniforms – staid and stuffy shirt, collar, tie, and jacket, breakfasted and set off to morning classes. Colin Gramp, 17, in his second last ...


  • Air
  • AirCrashConsultants
  • Airfleets
  • AOPA
  • Bird Strike Database
  • Bird Strike Database Query
  • EASA
  • FAA
  • Find A Pilot
  • Frixo
  • IATA
  • International Civil Aviation Organization
  • Montreal Convention MC99 English
  • Nasa
  • NOAA
  • NTSB
  • RITA
  • U.S. Office of Special Counsel
December 2017
« Nov    
  • 93-year-old Tenn. woman evicted, arrested after not paying rent - SAD & MEAN
    about 15 hours ago
  • Crash happened as copter was approaching to land | Peterborough Examiner
    about 15 hours ago
  • Plane crash survivors took half an hour to pry open emergency exit
    about 15 hours ago
  • Airplane accident reported at Hemet-Ryan Airport
    about 21 hours ago
  • Delta Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing at Narita International Airport
    about 23 hours ago