Re: Wing vs. tail-mounted engines?

Date:         04 Apr 2001 16:41:11 
From: (Don Stokes)
Organization: Daedalus Consulting
References:   1 2 3
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Don Stokes <> wrote:
>(I can't think of any case of failure of the wing box or root structure
>causing an accident on a post-war commercial airliner -- can anyone?)

To answer my own question:

The Aviation Safety Network has a list of airframe failure accidents at:

It seems that the L-188 Electra and Vickers Viscount had a number of
"wings falling off" accidents due to actual design flaws.  Pre-war
designs like the DC-3 and C-46 seem to have fallen out of the sky in
seriously bad weather on a fairly regular basis.

There are few jet aircraft in this list.  They are:

15.07.1964	Boeing 720	Aircraft overstressed and disintegrated
Ansbach, DE	Lufthansa	after loss of control by training crew
				performing a (deliberate) roll.

03.06.1973	Tupolev Tu-144	Canard failed in demonstration flight
Paris, FR	Aeroflot

09.05.1976	Boeing 747-131F	Lightning strike to wing caused fuel
Madrid, ES	Iran Air Force	explosion that unravelled wing structure

14.05.1977	Boeing 707-321C	Separation of horizontal stabilizer due
Nairobi, KE	IAS Cargo	to metal fatigue and inadequate inspection

06.10.1981	Fokker F28	Aircraft disintegrated in tornado
Moerdijk, NL	NLM Cityhopper

12.08.1985	Boeing 747-SR46	Poorly repaired pressure bulkhead failed
Tokyo, JP	JAL		in flight, causing loss of hydraulic control

Of these, only the Lufthansa 720 and NLM F28 count as stress failures
of the main wing -- I'm not even sure about the 720 as to what failed
first -- and in both cases the overstresses were pretty extreme -- it's
not considered normal procedure in commercial ops to fly aerobatics or
into tornadoes...

-- don