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AERO 2486 Aircraft Maintenance Management Study

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  • Course Code: AERO 2486
  • University: Royal Melbourne Institute Of Technology
  • Country: Australia


Diacuss about the AERO 2486 Aircraft Maintenance Management Study.



The massive damage in Aloha airlines can be considered as one of the infamous disaster in the aviation industry. In the year 1988 on 28th April the Aloha Airlines flight 243 had been scheduled by Aloha Airlines in between the Honolulu and Hilo. Due to the explosive decompression in the flight, such massive damage had been occurred. In this incident, 65 passengers as well as crew members have got injured. After the loss of one cabin crew, the safe landing of the aircraft has a significant impact on the aviation history. During the pre-departure of the Boeing 737-200, three round trip had been done from Honolulu to Hilo, Maui, and Kauai. After the completion of the routine takeoff, a little section on the left side had started making whooshing sound. In this situation, it has been noticed by the first officer that cockpit door has got broken.

Due to the explosive decompression had removed the large section of the roof, which resulted the loss of large section of the aircraft skin behind the cockpit area. In this situation, the 58 year old flight attendant had got missed. In the 24000 feet explosive decompression, it has been commented by few of the passengers that while Boeing the aircraft, fuselage crack had been identified by them. However, they were not quite confident about their observation and did not mentioned this to the crew members. They got confirmed about the damage, when they identified the upper row of the rivets as well as the S-10L lap joint, which us between the jet bridge hood and cabin doors. Analyzing the entire incident, it can be said that due to improper maintenance as well as lack of safety management initiative such loss happened.

The purpose of this study is to shed light on the key influencing human factors, which have played an important role for driving the damage. Analyzing the issues, the regulatory recommendations as well as maintenance program has been highlighted in this study.

Human Factors at AA

Analyzing the incident of Aloha Airline 243issue, it can be said that due to lack of safety concern as well as inappropriate performance management initiatives, disaster in the aviation industry has been occurred. Before taking off, the infection team has investigated and the regular maintenance procedure has been done. However, none of the team member noticed the crack in the fuselage. In this case, it can be assumed that due to excessive workload and stress, the poor team performance results such incident. In most of the cases, night shift of the maintenance staffs, makes them tired and stress. After progressively checking the rivets they did not find any crack on the aircraft, in that case the inspection team confirmed that the flight was ready for take-off. Such kind of practices have been done by the inspection team as they wanted to reduce the workload. In this case, lack of seriousness regarding the work, makes such mistakes. On the other hand, it is true that improper design of the B-737 is another important reason behind the multiple fatigue cracking in the aircraft. During the inspection of rivets, the inspection team need to climb the on scaffolding for moving along the upper fuselage by carrying a bright light. However, in this case, none of these practices have been followed while inspecting. As a result, the team members failed to observe the actual difficulty of the aircraft. If the maintenance staffs, would have been trained properly or the engineering team would have developed proper structure for B-737, such incident would have been avoided. On the other hand, another important human factor issue is the safety maintenance procedure, which have been controlled by the maintenance team are attached with the platform. Due to the lengthy process of rivet checking, the performance errors occur.


AA Compliance with Regulatory and Manufacture Recommendations

Analyzing the B-737 design, it can be said that the aircrafts are bonded together with the overlapping skins of the three rows of rivets. The fuselage panels are joined longitudinally about three inches over the edge of both the upper and lower panel. Understanding the position of the Fuselage panel, it can be said that it is joined by the overlapping upper panel edge skin and lower panel that helps to transfer the load through the adhesive bond. In case of B-737 design, it has been identified that the aircraft is designed by the cold adhesive bond, which helps to cure the room temperature with the help of dry ice. In this case, due to the process of cold bond manufacturing difficulties, quality of surface preparation has got affected. Due to such maintenance regarding difficulties, the adhesion process got degraded, in those areas, where the bonds had not developed properly.

In the year 1987, AD 87-21-08 was issued by FAA, which was ordered for the inspection process in some locations of SB 737-53A1039. The Boeing aircraft model 737 was introduced with AD with the line numbers of 1-291. Here the Aloha Flight 243 lined in 152 numbers. In case of AD, the lap splices require S-10, S-14, S-10 and S-24 on the left and in case of right side, it needs to inspect before the accumulation of 30,000 landing. As per the technical requirement of FAA AD 87-21-08, the failure of lap splice starting point at S-10 left, the damage has occurred in the aviation industry. In that case, it can be said that in order to avoid such incidents, improvement in aircraft designing process is very important. With the introduction of the effective cold bond process, the situation could have been managed.

In the year 1972, the Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1039 was introduced for inspecting the lap splice corrosion. In the year 1974, the tear strap report has been published with the purpose of allowing the safe decompression of the fuselage flap. The revision process of inspection has been introduced to inspect the fatigue crack of the SB 737-53-1039 has been identified. Although various maintenance initiatives have been taken but in the 2nd revision, the maintenance team failed the failure to identify the fatigue crack.

 AA Maintenance Program 

Analyzing the incident in AA, it can be said that safety measures have become necessary for the maintenance team. The maintenance program of Aloha airlines is being maintained by following the FAA regulations. Using the D-check program, the Aloha Airlines maintain its inspection process. By making the interval of the 15,000 flight hours. In that case, it can be recommended that if the interval can be increased 20,000 flight hours, in that case the performance efficiency can be effectively maintained.

In the post-accident investigation, it has been identified that S-4R slice has been inspected as well as repaired for the revision of AD 87-21-08. However, due to lack of visual inspection, the cracks have been grown. In this case, it can be said that the crack would have been observed if the current inspection efficiency would have been mentioned by AD. By following the NDI techniques, the training is being provided to the staffs in Aloha Airlines. In the investigation of NTSB, it has been identified that due to short coming of the maintenance program, the accident occurred. On the other hand, FAA also failed for updating the scope of AD 87-21-08, which covered the lap joint issue. After the identification of the early production difficulties in the B-737, premature fatigue cracking, corrosion and low-bond durability have been proved by the maintenance team.

By continuing this it can be said that due to lack of excellence as well as structural efficiency corrosion has been shown in the Aloha Airlines. It is true that from almost 19 years after the accident, near about 89,680 takeoffs have been done by the Boeing 737-200 aircraft. Due to excessive workload in the high corrosive environmental situation, moisture and sea evaporation damage the aircraft skin. In such cases, the lap joint still increase the question of passengers’ safety. In this situation, effective implementation of the Supplemental structural inspection program can help to address the internal as well as external difficulties of the aircraft.


In this study, based on the FAA report, the Aloha Airlines and its fatigue crack as its consequences have been observed. Due to improper maintenances and technical issue, massive amount of loss has been faced by the airline authority. Analyzing the issue, it can be said that the improper cold cohesion and the combination of stress and work pressure, the accident took place. However, these accident has shed light on the various maintenance difficulties that can prevent such situation in future in the history of aviation.


Reference list and bibliography 2018. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5th  Mar. 2019].

Davis, Russell A. "Aging Aircraft NDT." NDE of Aerospace Materials & Structures III. 2016. 2019. Retrieved from: [Accessed on 5th Mar, 2019]. 2019. Lessons Learned. [online] Available at: [Accessed on 5th Mar, 2019].

O’Connor, Sarah L., and Thomas Hardiman. "34 Human error in civil aircraft maintenance and dispatch: the basis of an error taxonomy." Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics: Volume 1: Transportation Systems (2017). 2019. Retrieved from: [Accessed on 5th Mar, 2019].

Staley, J. T. "Corrosion of Aluminium Aerospace Alloys." Materials Science Forum. Vol. 877. Trans Tech Publications, 2017.


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