We were reminded of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 on its 33rd anniversary this week. See the fascinating video below from the amazing disaster and what was dubbed “miracle landing” below. Do you remember Aloha Airlines flight 243?
What happened to Aloha Flight 243.
On April 28, 1988, a roof rupture occurred during mid-flight, and an eighteen-foot section was torn off, extending from behind the cockpit to the wing. The cockpit door broke off, and the sky was visible from within the aircraft. The cause of the accident was stated as “explosive decompression caused by metal fatigue and maintenance error.”
The plane amazingly landed safely on Maui after being rerouted, although passengers and crew sustained 65 injuries.
There was one fatality, Clarabelle Lansing. The flight attendant with nearly 40 years of experience was ejected mid-air from the plane following explosive in-flight decompression. Her body was never found.
A safe landing was not the least bit certain since one of the engines failed, and the crew was uncertain about the landing gear as well. Passengers were evacuated on Maui via the emergency slides.
The 19-year old plane had only flown just 35,000 hours at the time of the accident. It had, however, amassed almost 90,000 take-offs and landings due to the unique, short duration of Hawaii interisland flights. That aircraft was reported to have the second-highest number of flight cycles of any 737 at the time of the accident.
History of Aloha Airlines.
Aloha Airlines was highly regarded here in Hawaii. They started business as Trans-Pacific Airlines in 1946, flying a single DC-3. The company was widely seen as the people’s choice interisland carrier for more than 60 years.
Then, following years of struggling, Aloha ultimately went bankrupt and ceased operations. Subsequently, Mesa Airways attempted unsuccessfully to acquire the name for its also now defunct Go! Airlines, which operated here in Hawaii.
Aloha Airlines lost direction and had inadequate financial resources. They continued to the end operating an aging fleet of aircraft. Aloha Airlines also ventured into the mainland to Hawaii market without adequate preparation or resulting success. They entered bankruptcy in 2004, and although they did emerge briefly in 2006, the once iconic carrier never recovered.
Amazing video coverage and movie about Aloha Airlines flight 243.
1. CBS evening news covered the incident that day:
2. A movie was also made about the incident: