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Rapid decompression forces emergency landing

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PHOENIX (AP) — A Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix was diverted Friday to a military base in Yuma due to rapid decompression in the plane, federal officials said. Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation A . . . (flightaware.com) More...

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bradly1981
bradly1981 0
http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/peopleandpower/2010/12/20101214104637901849.html
rayzeeman
Ray Zimmermann 0
SWA812 http://flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA812/history/20110401/2225Z/KPHX/KSMF
preacher1
preacher1 0
Ray: for some reason, I can't get your link to come up, but this 1st one here is an eye opener about Boeing, particularly in light of the fuselage split and decomp mentioned here in this article. My guess is that this was a 737, and if so, probably the NG
preacher1
preacher1 0
And just an added note on this flight ref our ATC system. If this plane left Phoenix for Sacremento, why was it even in the vicinity of Yuma. Basic geography, without looking at a Jep, tells me that it should have been up in the vicinity of Vegas???????????????
pthomas745
Pa Thomas 0
The route to SAC goes west first and then north to SAC. The aircraft was much closer to YUM than to LAS. And, nobody in the "ATC System" is going to make these decisions for the pilots of the aircraft. They might give some advice and options, but the decision to go to YUM was probably the pilot's.
preacher1
preacher1 0
I know it is the Pilot's choice on a diversion/Emergency, etc. Not knowing the route out there, that routing is a good example of what Airlines and a lot of Pilot's are complaning about; the inefficiency of the ATC. The closest distance between any 2 points is a straight line, yet try to get a DIRECT routing on a routine PAX flight. It's almost impossible except mabe bad weather or running bad late.
sheka
mark tufts 0
metal fatigue is normal since ALL airplanes do several takeoffs and landings each day. i am thinking that the swa jet has been flying quite awhile and i have to give the pilots a two thumbs up for their quick thinking and saving lives
JohnS72
John Sullivan 0
After flying Shuttles, NASA's Hoot Gibson went on to fly Southwest Airlines, and is now flying experimental high-performance private jets. Obviously he used his time at Southwest wisely, since this approach and landing is very similar to one used by the Space Shuttle.
theschoolofchuck
There is a mountain range between Phoenix and KLAS. There is a peak at 12,000ft in this mountain range. I'm guessing that the decompression cruising altitude was much more realistic at a place like Yuma, near sea level. Probably why they didn't go to KLAS.
MarkVogelzang
MarkVogelzang 0
What was the N number? Any previous photos of this equipment? Flickr has a SWA photo set of many of their planes.
preacher1
preacher1 0
I can understand the mountain range. My curiosity is why the routing is west and then up. If he would have had a direct routing, at FL360, that peak wouldn't have really been a factor anyway, but then I'm not a western flyer anymore so I guess they'll do like they want to. Heck of it is, Highways run west and up. Planes ought to go direct, but what do I know. He was down there and did a fine job of bringing it in. As far as the N number, you'll just have to watch CNN. They been showing it all day today
atlwatchdog
Watch Dog 0
Gee,

Was anyone in the lavatory? If so did they die, just like the media said would happen since the oxygen generators and masks have been removed from the lavs?
ZenBonobo
Zen Bonobo 0
What model line was this 737-xxx?
skylloyd
skylloyd 0
It was a 700 the first of the ng's, could have been Ya001.
ZenBonobo
Zen Bonobo 0
Thanks, skylloyd. Is Ya001 a production run of 700s? It seems that 737s like to pop-a-top once in a while. I am thinking of the 1988 Aloha Air incident. I was still a road warrior and I was on a 737 about 3 to 5 times a month back then.
skylloyd
skylloyd 0
Sorry, I should have included that YA001 is a production number at Boeing,we later dubbed the name "YAA-HOO 1)in flight test.I couldn't answer whether they pop-tops, doesn't seem likely.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
Did y'all read the article? Or maybe it's been updated since, but it was a 15 year old 733.
chalet
chalet 0
I guess this the second time that a SW 737-300 has a similar problem. Inevitably the specter of the Aloah 737-200 "convertible" comes up. Does anyone know if any of the various Airbus's types from the smallest one 318 all the way to the 340 had had a similar problem i.e. a hole gaping in the midle of a flight, if so what are the details.
ZenBonobo
Zen Bonobo 0
Alrighty then, 733. I should have paid more attention to the (rayzeeman)link. That was a good turn to Yuma.
AV8R4LIFE
Tony Cartland 0
I have read the primary story above and some of the comments from many of you. I have to say that the way the story was assembled above lends itself to some poor connections between events that are not really related other than the resulting cabin de-pressurization incidents. the root cause for the events mentioned above are not the same root cause. The Aloha aircraft incident that I personally saw the aircraft was a result of multiple flight cycles in excess of the original expectation for the airframe, that resulted in more intense inspections by the aircrew before each flight. The 737-300 models are getting a bit dated, but the phase inspections that performed on the aircraft at scheduled intervals normally will show signs of metal fatigue. The inspection can be by either magnetic eddy current or simple flashlight and grease pencil as prescribed by the OEM as approved by the FAA. The Boeing airframe is designed with pressure relief joints that will allow the aircraft to safely vent in an overpressure situation. Until there is further information on the situation with the SWA 737, all this talk is nothing more than stirring up of noise and dust. We should wait till more complete information fro the FAA and NTSB is shared and not the experts from Fox!
suncoavn
suncoavn 0
wonder how many hours are on that airframe???
grinch59
Gene Nowak 0
Gee Watch Dog, why did you have to say the same thing in two separate articles on this same incident (http://flightaware.com/news/ap/NTSB-Fuselage-rupture-on-Southwest-plane/20992)? Guess your redundancy is showing again.

As far as your comment, maybe you should have been in the lavatory. Then you could have reported back to us on whether you died or not! SARCASM DEFINITELY INTENDED!!!
skylloyd
skylloyd 0
It was a 300 and I stand corrected, the initial info. I received from Boeing buds was incorrect-I apologize.
chalet
chalet 0
This very same SW 733-300 was found to have cracks in the fuselage a few years ago but they did not find anything in the area where this gap occured. Looks like all high cycle -300 operators are in for a lot of time on the groundinspecting the fuselages one milimeter per hour lest they risk suffering something catastrophic.
dral6503
Ed Berling 0
The first I read about this hole it was describded as 'a small hole', quickly followed in the next two days as 'a three inch long tear' to a 'three foot long rip' to finally, today, 'a five foot rip in the skin'. Now SW has found even more rips. Sounds like hundreds of delayed or cancelled flights this week.
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
I feel that the fault on this aircraft as I feel that the NTSB will ultimately determine is that this is a product of faulty maintenance on behalf of SWA. I have worked in the industry as a mechanic for over 25 years, much of that on the 737 aircraft, and some of that time was spent working with Southwest Airlines. I left because they did not meet my standards. For those with short memories keep in mind that they were fined over 7 million dollars for failure to do inspections on top of the fuselage of the aircraft, shortly after that, they had a diversion with major decompression with a 1 foot square and diverted into Charleston West Virginia. Now they have a similiar fault that blew out a much larger hole. Surprising to me is that they ground a large number of there fleet, and not surprising found cracks in a few of them. In my opinion, this is only a warning for a much larger catastrophic fault that SWA is going to have and I hope people do not loose there lives when this happens. The 737 Aircraft are great planes, and good to work on, but as with any plane they have to be properly maintained. I have been watching FOX news, and I must say they are not doing justice. I am glad they are in the news and not the NTSB.
chalet
chalet 0
Sparkie624 what is the design limitation for the 737 as issued by Boeing, it must be something like say 50,000 cycles or 50,000 hours whichever comes first but of course full compliance with O&M directives is an absolute must. I know that these parameters are issued for military aircraft whose useful lives were extended by structural modifications, the F-15, F-18 (Canada and Australia), P-3, C-5 come to mind but of course there are other types too.
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
I think it is 80,000 hours or cycles, which ever comes first. Piedmont Regional Airine flying Dash 8 a/c have quite a few planes at 79000 hours and cycles. Different planes have different specs, but I think most are around 80,000. Once it passes a certain amount of hours or cycles, then it must enter an aging a/c program for progressing inspections to detect items such as what happened to SWA on both occassions and also why they got fined for not doing the inspections properly.

I personnally look at SWA as a minimums airline. Minimum cost, Minimum service, Minimum Maintenance.
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
Food for thought: I know that SWA pushes beyond believe to do maintenance quickly. A good example is a Wheel Assy Change in 10 minutes, Brake Change in 20 minutes. That is the parameters that I was given while working for them. They push to get everything done now. Not efficiently, just fast and get it done. With this in mind, how could NDT inspections be done on 67 planes that fox news says has been inspected and found good and returned to service in 2 days. They have a total of 4 Maintenance bases, that is to do more than 17 detailed NDT inspections of these aircraft with only 3 other faults found. My question, HOW CAN THEY DO THE INSPECTIONS PROPERLY. There are only a finite number of inspectors NDT qualified and that would be spending less than 1 1/2 hours per plane to complete these inspections.

I would like to hear from an NDT person as to how this is possible to cover the entire top of the fuselage of each of these planes in less than 1 1/2 hours and do it effectivly? I am sure that supervison is standing by saying hurry up, this has to be fixed. It's costing us money.
jasscarff
James Scarff 0
Thanks for all these knowledgeable posts. That's what makes FlightAware such a useful site.
chalet
chalet 0
sparkie624 do you know if any of Airbuses from the small 318 all the way to the 340 series have had any kind of fuselage gapping like this 737-300's and the American 757 out of MIA last year. I know for a fact that Airbus had two serious problems with composite rudders (an American A300 plunged to the ground in Brooklyn when the rudder snapped killing 260 people on board plus 5 on the ground), also some had cracks in the main landing gear a 330 I guess.
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
Airbus has not been around along enough to get into the Aging Aircraft program. If I was to guess, they will probably be worse than boeing. Just a guess and my opinion.

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