Plane Depressurization

L.A. Times:

Southwest passengers recount harrowing ordeal as hole opens in plane fuselage

April 2, 2011

Hole opens in fuselage while Boeing 737 is at 36,000 feet

Here's another reason to wear your seat belts throughout an airline flight, not just during takeoff and landing.

Southwest Airlines Flight 812 experienced rapid cabin depressurization after a section of the fuselage of a Boeing 737 was blown out. I've been on planes that experienced a rapid descent of a few thousand feet but this plane dropped rapidly from 36,000 feet to 11,000 feet.

Kudos to the flight crew for retaining control after depressurization and making a safe landing.

In 1988 there was an incident in Hawaii of explosive depressurization that blew out part of the roof of an airliner. Aloha Airlines Flight 243 was at 24,000 feet at the time. That Boeing 737-200 had a larger hole than the Southwest plane and an Aloha flight attendant standing near row 5 was sucked out of the plane.

Two 737s with structural failures that led to rapid depressurization. Perhaps it's time for the FAA to order an inspection of all 737s