Daily Archives: April 28, 2024

28 April 1988

Aloha Airlines’ Boeing 737-297, N73711.

28 April 1988: Aloha Airlines Flight 243, a Boeing 737-297 airliner, FAA registration N73711, named Queen Liliuokalani, was enroute from Hilo International Airport (IPO) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) with a crew of 5 and 89 passengers.

Captain Robert Schornstheimer in the cockpit of an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737. (Honolulu Star Bulletin)

The aircraft commander was Captain Robert L. Schornstheimer, an Airline Transport Pilot with 8,500 flight hours, of which 6,700 hours was in the Boeing 737. First Officer Madeline Lynn Tompkins also held an Airline Transport certificate. She had flown 8,000 hours, with 3,500 in the B-737. A Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller was  on the flight deck as an observer.

First Officer Tompkins made the takeoff at 1:25 p.m. and climbed in visual conditions to Flight Level 240 (24,000 feet/7,315 meters), reaching that altitude at about 1:48 p.m.

First Officer Madeline Tompkins, Hawaiian Airlines, was th efirst officer aboard Aloha Flight 243. This photograph, taken in 2010, was at an Airl Line Pilots' Association (ALPA) award ceremony.
Captain Madeline Lynn Tompkins, Hawaiian Airlines, was the first officer aboard Aloha Flight 243. She was awarded the Air Line Pilots Association 2010 Pilot Assistance Award for her exceptional leadership in supporting airline pilots who experience serious psychological trauma. (ALPA)

As the airliner leveled at FL240, a portion of the fuselage tore loose and caused an explosive decompression of the aircraft. The flight deck door blew away and Captain Schornstheimer could see “blue sky where the first-class ceiling had been.” The captain took the controls, deployed the speed brakes and began an immediate descent at 280–290 knots (322–334 miles per hour/519–537 kilometers per hour), with a rate of descent as high as 4,100 feet per minute (20.83 meters per second). He turned toward the nearest airport, Kahalui Airport (OGG) on the island of Maui. First Officer Tompkins handled all communications as well as assisting the captain flying the airplane. Captain Schornstheimer described the flight controls as loose and sluggish.

Descending through 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) he began to slow the airliner, but below 170 knots (195.6 miles per hour/314.8 kilometers per hour), it became less controllable so he maintained that speed for the approach to the runway. At the normal point in the approach, the crew lowered the landing gear but the green light for the nose gear did not illuminate. The manual system was activated. The green light did not come on, but neither did the red light. Captain Schornstheimer felt that it was imperative to get the airliner on the ground, so there was no time to troubleshoot the landing gear.

At this time Flight 243 began to yaw and roll. The number one engine had failed. (Both engines were damaged from ingested debris.) An unsuccessful attempt was made to restart.

The Boeing 737 landed on Runaway 02 at Kahalui Airport at 13:58:45, just over ten minutes since the emergency began. The thrust reverser of the number two engine was used to slow the airplane and when it rolled to a stop, the emergency evacuation was begun.

Passengers and crew of Flight 243 begin to evacuate the damaged airliner at Kahalui Airport, Maui. (Unattributed)
Passengers and crew of Flight 243 begin to evacuate the damaged airliner at Kahalui Airport, Maui. (Unattributed)
Clarabelle "C.B." Lansing had been a flight attendant for 37 years.
Chief Flight Attendant Clarabelle Ho Lansing. “C.B.” had been a flight attendant with Aloha Airlines for 37 years.

When the fuselage decompressed, Chief Flight Attendant Clarabelle Ho Lansing had been standing in the aisle at Row 5. She was thrown out of the airplane and fell to the ocean, 24,000 feet (7,315 meters) below. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Cape Corwin coordinated a three-day search along with Coast Guard and Marine Corps helicopters, airplanes and other ships. Her body was never recovered.

Flight Attendant Jane Sato-Tomita sustained serious head injuries and was unconscious. Flight Attendant Michelle Honda and many passengers were also injured by flying debris and the effects of decompression.

Boeing 737-297 N73711 was damaged beyond repair. It was scrapped in place. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated 35,496 hours (TTAF) with 89,680 cycles. The cause of the fuselage failure was fatigue cracking around rivets as a result of the vast number of pressurization/depressurization cycles it had experienced, as well as operation in a salty coastal environment. During the NTSB investigation, a passenger reported having seen a crack in the fuselage when boarding the flight, but did not say anything about it to the crew.

Captain Schornstheimer remained with Aloha Airlines until he retired in 2005. Mimi Tompkins also stayed with Aloha and rose to the rank of captain. When Aloha Airlines ceased operations in 2008 she went to Hawaiian Airlines.

Aloha Airlines' Boeing 737, N73711 at Maui. (Unattributed)
Queen Liliuokalani, Aloha Airlines’ Boeing 737-297 N73711, at Kahalui Airport (OGG), Maui, Hawaii. (Unattributed)

The Boeing 737-200 series was a short-to-medium range narrow body twin-engine civil transport. The -200 first flew 8 August 1967. It had a flight crew of two and could carry a maximum of 136 passengers.

The 737-200 is 100 feet, 2 inches (30.531 meters) long with a wingspan of 93 feet, 0 inches (28.346 meters) and overall height of 36 feet, 10 inches (11.227 meters). The wing is swept 25.00° at ¼ chord, and there are 6° dihedral. Its empty weight is 69,700 pounds (31,615 kilograms). Flight 243’s actual takeoff weight was 93,133 pounds (42,224 kilograms). (Its maximum certificated takeoff weight was 100,000 pounds (45,359 kilograms).

Boeing 737-200 three-view illustration with dimensions.

The airliner is powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A low-bypass axial-flow turbofan engines, each producing 14,500 pounds of thrust (64.499 kilonewtons) at Sea Level. JT8D-9A was a two-spool engine with a 2-stage fan section, 11-stage compressor (4 low- and 7 high-pressure stages), nine combustion chambers and a 4-stage turbine (1 high- and 3 low-pressure stages). The JT8D-9A was 42.5 inches (1.080 meters) in diameter, 123.5 inches (3.137 meters) long, and weighed 3,196 pounds (1,450 kilograms).

Maximum speed is 0.82 Mach (544 miles per hour/780 kilometers per hour) and the service ceiling is 35,000 feet (10,700 meters).

The 737-200 first flew 8 August 1967. 1,095 –200s were built. The last one in service with an American airline, Aloha Airlines, was retired 21 March 2008.

Aloha Airlines’ Boeing 737-297, N73712, King Kamehameha, c/n 20210. (NASM-9A 10180)

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

28 April 1961

Colonel Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov
Colonel Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov

28 April 1961: Colonel Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov, Hero of the Soviet Union, flew a prototype Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F interceptor, the Ye-6T/1, 31 Red, to a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude of 34,714 meters (113,891 feet).¹ This exceeded the record set five months earlier by Captain Joe B. Bailey, U.S. Air Force, with a Lockheed F-104C Starfighter, by 3,201 meters (10,502 feet).²

Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-6T/1 prototype, “31 Red”. (Wings of Russia)

The Ye-6T/1 and Ye-6T/3 were converted from the first and third MiG-21F prototypes. These experimental airplanes were built to test various missiles, engines and canard/wing configurations.

Ye-6T/1 was powered by a Tumansky R-11F2-300 afterburning turbojet engine and carried a liquid-fueled Sevruk S3-20M5A rocket engine mounted under the fuselage. The rocket produced 29.42 kilonewtons (6,614 pounds of thrust) at Sea Level. The prototype carried sufficient rocket fuel for 100 seconds burn time.

Mosolov set two world speed records with the Ye-6T/1 on 31 October 1959, with a performance of 2,388.00 kilometers per hour over a straight 15/25 kilometer course,³ and a 100 kilometer closed course.⁴

Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-6T, prototype MiG-21-F-13

Major General Vladimir Konstantinovich Kokkinai had also set a world speed record with 31 Red. On 16 September 1960, Kokkinaki flew the Ye-6T/1 to 2,148.66 kilometers per hour (1,335 miles per hour) around a 100 kilometer closed course.⁵

Ye-6T/1 and Ye-6T/3 became the prototypes for the MiG-21-F-13 short range supersonic interceptor (NATO designation: Fishbed-C)

A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21-F-13, “63 Red,” at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21-Ф-13 (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21F-13) is a short-range supersonic interceptor with a “tailed-delta” configuration. The MiG-21-F-13 is 13.46 meters (44 feet,  1.9 inches) long, with a wingspan of 7.154 meters (23 feet, 5.7  inches), and height of 4.71 meters (15 feet, 5.4 inches). It has an empty weight of 4,871 kilograms (10,739 pounds), and a normal takeoff weight of 7,100 kilograms (15,653 pounds).

The MiG-21-F-13 was powered by a single Tumansky R-11F-300 engine. This is a dual-spool, axial-flow turbojet with afterburner. It has a 6-stage compressor section (3 low- and 3 high-pressure stages) and a 2-stage turbine (1 high- and 1 low-pressure stage). The R-11F-300 is rated at 8,600 pounds of thrust (38.26 kilonewtons), and 11,200 pounds (49.82 kilonewtons) with afterburner. It is 4.600 meters (15 feet, 1.1 inches) long, 0.907 meters (2 feet, 11.7 inches) in diameter, and weighs 1,124 kilograms (2,477 pounds).

The MiG-21-F-13 had a maximum speed of 1,200 kilometers per hour (746 miles per hour) at Sea Level, and 2,175 kilometers per hour (1,351 miles per hour) at high altitude. It could reach its service ceiling of 19,000 meters (62,334 feet) in just over 13 minutes. Its range is 1,300 kilometers (808 miles).

The -F-13 was armed with one Nudelman-Rikhter NR-30 30 mm autocannon with 30 rounds of ammunition, and two Vympel R-3S infrared-homing air-to-air missiles (NATO: AA-2A Atoll).

Colonel Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov, Hero of the Soviet Union

Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov was born 3 May 1926 at Ufa, Bashkortostan, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He was educated at the Central Aviation Club, where he graduated in 1943, and then went to the Special Air Forces School. In 1945 he completed the Primary Pilot School and was assigned as an instructor at the Chuguev Military Aviation School at Kharkiv, Ukraine.

In 1953 Mosolov was sent to the Ministry of Industrial Aviation Test Pilot School at Ramenskoye Airport, southeast of Moscow, and 6 years later, to the Moscow Aviation Institute. He was a test pilot at the Mikoyan Experimental Design Bureau from 1953 to 1959, when he became the chief test pilot.

Georgy Mosolov set six world speed and altitude records. He was named a Hero of the Soviet Union, 5 October 1960, and Honored Test Pilot of the Soviet Union, 20 September 1967. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded him its Henry De La Vaulx Medal three times: 1960, 1961 and 1962. The medal is presented to the holder of a recognized absolute world aviation record, set the previous year.

Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-8/1, 81 Red. This is the airplane Mosolov flew on 11 September 1962. (Mikoyan)

On 11 September 1962, an experimental Mikoyan Ye-8 that Colonel Mosolov was flying suffered a catastrophic compressor failure at Mach 2.15. Engine fragments heavily damaged to prototype and it began to break apart. Severely injured, Mosolov ejected from the doomed airplane at Mach 1.78. He had suffered a severe head injury, two broken arms and a broken leg during the ejection and became entangled in the parachute’s shroud lines. His other leg was broken when he landed in a forest. The following day he suffered cardiac arrest. During a surgical procedure, he went in to cardiac arrest a second time.

Georgy Mosolov recovering in a hospital, 1962. (Мужская работа)

Mosolov survived but his test flying career was over. His recovery took more than a year, and though he was able to fly again, he could not resume his duties as a test pilot.

Georgy Mosolov served as an international representative for Aeroflot until 1992. He was also a department head at the Higher Komsomol School (Moscow University for the Humanities).

Mosolov was Chairman of the USSR Hockey Federation from 1969 to 1973. He was an Honored Master of Sports of the USSR.

Colonel Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov, Soviet Air Forces, Hero of the Soviet Union, died 17 March 2018, at Moscow, Russia, at the age of 91 years. He was buried at the Vagankovsoye cemetery in Moscow.

Georgy Konstantinovich Mosolov (RIA Novosti)

¹ FAI Record File Number 8661

² FAI Record File Number 10352

³ FAI Record File Number 9062

⁴ FAI RecordFile Number 4576

⁵ FAI Record File Number 8871

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

28 April 1937

Pan American Airways' Martin M-130, China Clipper, at Macau, 1937.
Pan American Airways’ Martin M-130, China Clipper, at Macau, 1937.

28 April 1937: The first transpacific flight by a commercial passenger airliner is completed when Pan American Airways’ Martin M-130, China Clipper, arrived at Hong Kong. The flight had departed San Francisco Bay, California, on 21 April with 7 revenue passengers and then proceeded across the Pacific Ocean by way of Hawaii, Midway Island, Wake Island, Guam, Manila, Macau, and finally Hong Kong. The Reuters news agency briefly reported the event:


China Clipper Lands At Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, April 28.

The Pan-American Airways flying boat China Clipper landed at 11:55 this morning from Manila and Macao. This links the Pan-American and Imperial Airways, completing the commercial air link round the world. —Reuter.

The Straits Times, 28 April 1937, Page 1, Column 4.

Pan American Airways’ China Clipper, a Martin M-130, NC14716, over Oakland, California. (Clyde Herwood Sunderland/Library of Congress 94509042)

The Oakland Tribune reported:



Plane Crew Feted at End Of Historic Hop From U.S. Via Philippines

     HONGKONG, April 28.—(AP)—A 30-year dream of ’round-the-world air service became reality today with the arrival of the Hongkong Clipper from Manila on the first regular flight between the two cities.

     The clipper, bridging the last 700-mile gap in the America-Asia service, placed the final link in an airplane chain whereby it is possible to encircle the world in less than a month, using scheduled commercial planes.

     The craft brought 2500 pounds of American cargo, including 100,000 letters and newspapers from the United States only six days old. The papers left Alameda, Calif., last Thursday aboard China Clipper, being transferred to the Hongkong Clipper at Manila. ¹

     A large crowd welcomed the clipper at Kaitak Airport. Included were Acting Governor N. L. Smith and representatives of all of the colony’s government and commercial activities.

     The clippers’ pilot, A. E. Laporte, and crew were escorted to a dais at the hangar, where the acting governor gave a speech of welcome.

     The plane, on its return flight on Thursday, is expected to carry 2500 pounds of cargo, including 40,000 letters.

     At a reception for the fliers, the acting governor said:

      “We are celebrating the welding of the last link in world air communication. The lessening of the physical gaps is the surest way of ending misunderstandings which have occurred between nations in the past.

“Hongkong offers congratulations, welcomes this American transpacific air service and hopes it will be another bond in the chain of goodwill.”

     Laporte said the Manila-Hongkong flight was “uneventful,” despite poor weather conditions necessitating intermittent blind flying.

Oakland Tribune, Vol. CXXVI, No. 118, Wednesday, 28 April 1937, Page 1, Column 3

The China Clipper, NC14716, was the first of three Martin M-130 four-engine flying boats built for Pan American Airways and was used to inaugurate the first commercial transpacific air service from San Francisco to Manila in November, 1935. Built at a cost of $417,000 by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, it first flew on 20 December 1934, and was delivered to Pan Am on October 9, 1935.

The airplane was operated by a flight crew of 6 to 9, depending on the length of the flight, plus cabin staff, and could carry 18 passengers on overnight flights or a maximum 36 passengers.

Martin M-130 China Clipper, NC14716, at Honolulu, Ohau, Hawaiian Islands. (Unattributed)
Martin M-130 China Clipper, NC14716, at Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. (Unattributed)

The Martin M-130 was 90 feet, 10.5 inches (27.699 meters) long with a wingspan of 130 feet, 0 inches (39.624 meters). It was 24 feet, 7 inches (7.493 meters) high. Its maximum takeoff weight was 52,252 pounds (23,701 kilograms).

The flying boat was powered by four air-cooled, supercharged, 1,829.389-cubic-inch displacement (29.978 liters) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S2A5-G engines. These were two-row, 14-cylinder radial engines with a compression ratio of 6.7:1. The S2A5-G was rated at 830 horsepower at 2,400 r.p.m., and 950 horsepower at 2,550 r.p.m. for takeoff, burning 87-octane gasoline. They drove three-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic constant-speed propellers through a 3:2 gear reduction. The engine was 3 feet, 11.88 inches (1.216 meters) in diameter and 4 feet, 8.75 inches (1.441 meters) long. It weighed 1,235 pounds (560 kilograms).

The airplane had a maximum speed of 180 miles per hour (290 kilometers per hour), and a cruise speed of 130 miles per hour (209 kilometers per hour). The service ceiling was 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and its range was 3,200 miles (5,150 kilometers).

Martin M-130, NC14716, China Clipper, moored at some distant exotic locale.
Martin M-130, NC14716, China Clipper, moored at some distant exotic locale. (Unattributed)

¹ There may be confusion as to which airplane was flown from Manila to Hong Kong. Most newspapers identified it as China Clipper, while the Oakland Tribune called it Hongkong Clipper.

Pan American’s Hong Kong Clipper was a Sikorsky S-42, NC823M, which had entered service in December 1934. Many newspapers dated 28 April 1937 showed a photograph of NC832M arriving at Auckland, New Zealand, after a four-day, 7,000-mile survey flight from the United States.

Entering service in 1934, the airline had originally named the NC823M West Indies Clipper. This was changed to Pan American Clipper, and later, Hong Kong Clipper. The airplane crashed on takeoff and sank near Antilla, Cuba, 7 August 1944.

Pan American Airways System’s Sikorsky S-42, NC832M, over San Francisco Bay, 1935. (NASM SI-90-3001)

© 2020, Bryan R. Swopes

28 April 1927

Charles Lindbergh watches as the Spirit of St. Louis is towed from the Ryan factory to Dutch Flats for testing. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
Charles Lindbergh watches as the Spirit of St. Louis is towed from the Ryan factory to Dutch Flats for testing. (Donald A. Hall Collection)

“This morning I’m going to test the Spirit of St. Louis. It’s the 28th of April — just over two months since I placed our order with the Ryan Company. . . Today, reality will check the claims of formula and theory on a scale which hope can’t stretch a single hair. Today, the reputation of the designing engineer, of the mechanics, in fact of every man who’s had a hand in building the Spirit of St. Louis, is at stake. And I’m on trial too, for quick action on my part may counteract an error by someone else, or a faulty move may bring a washout crash.

The Spirit of St. Louis, by Charles A. Lindbergh, Charles Scribner’s and Sons, 1953, Chapter 35 at Page 120.

Ryan NYP N-X-211, Spirit of St. Louis, front view, at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California, 28 April 1927. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
Ryan NYP N-X-211, Spirit of St. Louis, front view, at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California, 28 April 1927. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
The Ryan NYP N-X-211, Spirit of St. Louis, right front quarter view, at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
The Ryan NYP N-X-211, Spirit of St. Louis, right front quarter view, at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
Ryan NYP N-X-211, Spirit of St. Louis, right side view, at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California, 28 April 1927. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
Ryan NYP N-X-211, Spirit of St. Louis, right profile, at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California, 28 April 1927. (Donald A. Hall Collection)

The Ryan NYP, registration N-X-211, has been towed from the Ryan Airlines Company factory in San Diego, California, to nearby Dutch Flats for its first test flight. Air Mail pilot Charles A. Lindbergh, representing a syndicate of St. Louis businessmen, has contracted with Ryan to build a single-engine monoplane designed for one man to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris.

“I signal chocks away. . . and open the throttle. . . I’ve never felt an airplane accelerate so fast before. The tires are off the ground before they roll a hundred yards. . . .”

And the rest is History.

Spirit of St. Louis takes to the air for the first time at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California, 28 April 1927. (Donald A. Hall Collection)
Spirit of St. Louis takes to the air for the first time at Dutch Flats, San Diego, California, 28 April 1927. (Donald A. Hall Collection)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes