US Airways B752 near Orlando on Mar 22nd 2008, wing panel fell off

Last Update: March 19, 2020 / 22:20:25 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 22, 2008


US Airways

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 757-200

ICAO Type Designator

On Mar 18th 2020 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the incident was:

The installed wing panel clips failed due to fatigue, likely caused by the incorrect installation of the fasteners in response to SB 757-57-0027. Contributing to the incorrect installation was the SB's lack of clarity in the instructions and figures on the correct orientation of the clips and spacers.

The NTSB re-rated the occurrence from accident to an incident arguing: "The NTSB has reviewed the data extracted from aircraft's flight data recorder (FDR), and in conjunction with statements from the flight crew, the Safety Board found that there was no substantial change to the aircraft's handling characteristics after the panel separated from the wing. Because of this, the NTSB has classified this event as an incident."

The NTSB reported the sequence of events:

On March 22, 2008, at about 9:00 am EDT, a USAirways Boeing 757-200, flight number 1250, registration N921UW, lost a left upper wing trailing edge panel during cruise flight at FL270. Initial reports were that the flight crew had experienced "light chop" at the time. The flight was enroute from Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida (MCO) to Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL). The panel struck the window of passenger row 19ABC and cracked only the outer portion of the window. Pressurization was not lost. The flight crew continued on to PHL. Upon approach to PHL the flight crew informed ATC that they could not increase their airspeed due to possible airframe damage. The flight landed uneventfully. There were 174 passengers and 6 crew members on board with no reported injuries.

The NTSB described the impact on the passenger window:

The passenger windows are two pane design, with outer pane carrying normal cabin pressure loads and the 'middle' pane to carry fail-safe pressure in the event of loss of outer pane during flight. It would appear that the middle pane safely carried fail-safe load in this event. At the time of the event Boeing had no records of a depressurization event associated with failures of any of the 737/747/757/767/777 model passenger windows, but there have been outer pane cracking or departure events.

The 757 passenger windows are certified for pressure only with no regulatory or Boeing requirements for impact. The outer panes are made of stretched acrylic material, which is durable for day-to-day service, but cracks can be initiated when subjected to impact with sharp object or an object with significant energy such as the panel in this incident.

Boeing subject matter expert estimated that the weight of the fixed trailing edge panel, part number 113N1611-9, and hardware that separated with the panel was approximately 35 pounds.
Aircraft Registration Data
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 22, 2008


US Airways

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 757-200

ICAO Type Designator

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