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Accident description
Last updated: 18 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Monday 9 May 1988
Time:16:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic B741 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 747-136
Operator:British Airways
Registration: G-AWND
C/n / msn: 19764/107
First flight: 1971-01-20 (17 years 4 months)
Total airframe hrs:1868
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 18
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 286
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 304
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:near Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD/KORD), United States of America
Narrative:
The aircraft was on final approach to Chicago O'Hare Airport when a structural failure of the number three flap track occurred. The aircraft sustained substantial damage to the left wing, left inboard flap assembly, left inboard spoilers and spoiler support beam. The pilot experienced significant uncommanded roll and yaw, but regained control of the aircraft and executed an uneventful landing.
The investigation has revealed a history of flap track cracking problems associated with stress corrosion and design inadequacy. A design change of the member was accomplished in 1971 by the manufacturer, but flap tracks of the earlier design were allowed to remain in service on 239 aircraft. The airworthiness directives and service bulletins applicable to this particular structural member are not adequate in methodology and periodicity to ensure crack detection, and do not require inspection for the cause of the crack-corrosion pits.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Failure of the number three flap track due to stress corrosion cracking. factors contributing to this failure are insufficient design of the member and inadequate inspection and maintenance procedures to detect cracks before they propagate to a critical length."

Classification:

Sources:
» NTSB


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from London-Heathrow Airport to Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL as the crow flies is 6297 km (3936 miles).

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