Southwest Airlines Flight 2294
N387SW, the aircraft involved in the incident, photographed in 2008 at Philadelphia International Airport.
|Date||July 13, 2009|
In-flight structural failureRapid decompression
|Site||near Charleston, WV|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-3H4|
|Flight origin||Nashville International Airport (KBNA)|
|Destination||Baltimore Washington International Airport (KBWI)|
Southwest Airlines Flight 2294 (SWA 2294, WN 2294) was a scheduled US passenger aircraft flight which made an emergency landing at Yeager Airport (CRW) in Charleston, West Virginia, on July 13, 2009, after what was described as a "football sized" opening in the airplane's fuselage caused rapid depressurization of the passenger cabin.
The aircraft involved was Boeing 737-3H4 N387SW. It was traveling at 34,000 feet on a scheduled flight between Nashville, Tennessee (KBNA), and Baltimore, Maryland (KBWI). The accident was investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Earlier criticism of the carrier's lax maintenance and inspection practices, for which the airline had been fined $7.5 million in 2008, was quickly echoed. An NTSB spokesman said the hole was limited to 14 by 17 inches, due to the design of the aircraft.
The NTSB investigation into the incident confirmed that metal fatigue was the cause of the crack; specifically, that the damage was caused by pre-existing fatigue cracks that began at the edge of metal sheets on the inner surface of the aircraft's skin.
Less than two years later, a strikingly similar incident occurred, involving another Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-3H4. In response to the second incident, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring more frequent inspections by all airlines of all Boeing 737 Classic aircraft.
- "July 2009". Jacdec. Retrieved 17 September 2009.[dead link]
- Shawn Nottingham and Stephanie Gallman (July 14, 2009). "Jet makes landing with football-sized hole". CNN.
- Eric Torbenson and Dave Michaels (July 15, 2009). "Hole in Southwest jet revives inspection concerns". Boston Herald.[dead link]
- Alan Levin (July 15, 2009). "NTSB: Jet's design limited tear's damage". USA Today.
- Hole in Southwest jet blamed on metal fatigue[dead link]
- "NTSB: Fatigue cracks led to hole in Southwest Airlines 737". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- Southwest Airlines information regarding Flight 2294, official blog
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