Causes of Structural Failure in Aerospace Engineering


In the span of 20-year period in aerospace engineering, a total of 23 fatal accidents where airframe/structure failure was a constituent, 8% of the total numbering. There were a number of causes including maintenance/pre-flight (twelve cases), overload VFR (six cases), death spiral in IMC (four cases) and turbulence (one case).

Many aircraft’s have particular limits on the amount of a normal operational ‘g’ that the structure will withstand before it will permanently deformed with a further safety factor on top before failure will occurs. over reach these limits at your danger. They can be over reach in the very severest instability, during badly executed aerobatic or spin manoeuvres particularly if the center of gravity is outside the correct range which leads to over-light controls.

Yet another event that easily and often it guides to air-frame failure is, control loss in IMC, or entered deliberately or inadvertently leading to the dreaded death winding. In the US, that has many more fatal accidents than the UK, many fast slippery aircraft have a reputation for this which includes the Beech V tail Bonanza and the Mooney.

structural break-up causes

So how can such catastrophic events be avoided?

Evidently know, what the limits are for your particular aircraft and if it is cleared for even limited aerobatics, which make sure a ‘g’ meter is fitted. Getting aerobatic training from a qualified teacher, don’t be induce to just try like the pilot of a Rallye who managed to wrinkle the wings when he exceeded the normal limit value. It needed expensive new wings, and much to the Club’s displeasure. For clarification, Read Safety Sense Leaflet No 19 ‘Aerobatics’.

winged ac

One should stay away from areas where unusually severe turbulence may be expected such as the arable land of mountains and cliffs in windy conditions, and/or the vicinity or interior of a thunderstorm.

cuby fuselage

Although you fly a slippery aircraft and your licence allows you to fly in clouds – slow down, and it will give more time to deal with a minor upset and probably keep you at less than velocity Va, and the speed at which all control surfaces can be fully utilized. If you are a VFR pilot, be stay out of cloud and if you posses an IMC Classification it is to get you out of trouble and is NOT the same as an Instrument Rating value.


If the aircraft has to be rigged before flight, have check and double check, but don’t hurry and don’t let anyone distract you from flight.

How to Avoid Structural Failure During Flight

Don’t skimp on maintenance, particularly at potentially tough inspection of the steadily destroy structure, and particularly if the aircraft lives near the coast area. Average life span of the UK fleet is getting slowly older everyday. So remember that even a minor brush between the tip of the wing and the doors of a hanger or a bales of straw can exert enormous leverage on the center section structure. Adequately checking of the composite aircraft may not be straight forward.

Thus, these are the main structural loses which has to be avoided in aerospace engineering.


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Hello, I am an aircraft structural analyst with industrial experience and a master degree on aerospace structures. Currently working for an aerospace company as a stress
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