Event Details

Title:Tailcone loss in climb, Air Canada, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 (CF-TLU), East Of Boston, Massachusetts, September 17, 1979
Micro summary:During climb, the tailcone and aft cabin access door on this DC-9 fell off, prompting a return back to the origin.
Event Time:1979-09-17 at 1212 EDT
File Name:1979-09-17-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-80-13
Site of event:Climb; 25,000' msl; 14 minutes after takeoff
Latitude/Longitude:Not available
Departure:General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Destination:General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Diversion)
Airplane Type(s):Douglas DC-9-32
Flight Phase:Climb
Operator(s):Air Canada
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:1
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:At 1212 EDT, on September 17, 1979, Air Canada Flight 680, a scheduled passenger flight to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, departed Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts. About 14 min after takeoff, at an altitude of about 25,000 ft m.s.l., the tailcone along with the aft cabin pressure access door and a portion of the aft cabin pressure bulkhead separatedfrom the aircraft causing rapid decompression of the passenger and flightcrew compartments. The aircraft was landed safely at Logan International Airport about 38 min after takeoff. Of the 45 persons aboard, one flight attendant received minor injuries during the decompression. The aircraft's oxygen system and its elevator control and engine control systems were damaged.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was a fatigue fracture of the aft cabin pressure bulkhead which resulted in a rapid decompression of the aircraft's cabin area. This fracture initiated from a crack below the aft bulkhead access door which was discernible on the X-rays taken during the aircraft's last maintenance inspection but was not detected by the inspectors.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Maintenance
Operations - Rapid Depressurization
Systems - Flight Control System
Systems - Pressurization
Consequence - Damage - Airframe or fuselage


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