huffingtonpost – They called it “the plane that became a convertible.” In 1988, on a routine flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Aloha Airlines flight 243 depressurized mid-flight, ripping the top off the plane. A flight attendant, the only one who wasn’t strapped in, was sucked out of the plane with it.
The accident was a wake-up call for the aviation industry. For years, deregulation had attracted more companies to the sector, increasing pressure on airlines to extend the lifespan of their fleets and skip maintenance to keep them in the air.
After the accident, airlines and regulators decided to solve the safety problem head-on. The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority required every airline to report its maintenance, testing and accident data, and set statutory limits for how many times each piece of equipment could be used before it had to be retired.