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Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today  
User currently offlineDr.DTW From United States of America, joined May 2000, 290 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 33328 times:

It was 19 years ago today August 16, 1987, that Northwest Airlines flight 255 crashed on takeoff from DTW at 8:46PM. The MD-80 was airborne for only 14 seconds, before crashing on Middlebelt Road, near the I-94 overpass, at the north end of the airport. The aircraft was filled to capacity, with 149 passengers, and 6 crew. Amazingly, a 4 year-old girl survived the crash, with third degree burns over 30 percent of her body. 156 people were killed, including two people on the ground, who were motorists on Middlebelt Road.

At the time of the accident, it was the second worst air disaster in US history; second only to AA 191 at ORD, 8 years earlier. The fact that more people on the ground weren't killed, is a miracle. The aircraft crashed into a major intersection, and right under Interstate 94. Restuarants, lodging facilities and neighborhoods are all in very close proximity.

I grew up at this airport, and I always spotted at the parking lot right next to the departure runway, 3-Center (now 4-left). My brothers and I frequently watched aircraft departing 3/21-Center that summer, but on that night, we weren't there. I can't imagine what it would have been like, to watch such a tragedy. I was 14 years old at the time of the crash, and I remember that night like it was yesterday.

I live only 6 miles from the crash site, and drive by it every day on my to work. There is a memorial for the crash victims, just yards from the impact site. It is just adjacent to the eastbound ramp of I-94, off northbound Middlebelt Road.

Lets all take a moment, to remember.

Dr.DTW

84 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2595 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 33262 times:

I hate to say it, but I was never aware of this crash, yet it was clearly a major one.

I know NW scrapped their last MD80s a couple of years ago, but still operate a massive DC9 fleet. During what period did NW operate MD80s, and where did they come from?


User currently offlineCpharris5514 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 170 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 33226 times:
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Quoting DTW" class=quote target=_blank>Dr.DTW (Thread starter):
It was 19 years ago today August 16, 1987, that Northwest Airlines flight 255 crashed on takeoff from DTW at 8:46PM.

I almost can't believe it's been that long. I was not living in the Detroit area at the time, but did end up living in one of the suburbs from 1996-2001, and flew out of DTW on numerous occasions. I also remember seeing the still-present burn scar on the I-94 bridge over Middlebelt.

A friend of mine, who still resides in the area, is a now-retired Wayne County, Michigan deputy sheriff. He was called to the scene that day, and told me that it was a sight he never wanted to see again.

May they all continue to rest in peace, and may the surviving families continue to be comforted.   

[Edited 2006-08-16 08:00:21]


From rural Carlisle, Iowa
User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1765 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 33047 times:
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I actually flew out of DTW the day after the accident (on a NW MD80, no less), you could clearly see the accident site from the plane; very freaky thing for a 14 year old ...

- litz


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 33009 times:

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 1):
During what period did NW operate MD80s, and where did they come from?

As of January 2000:

NORTHWEST AIRLINES MD-80 AIRCRAFT IN STORAGE:

Ship No. Aircraft Type Registration Serial No. Line No. Date of Mfg.

9301 DC9-82 N301RC 48054 996 27Jun81
9302 DC9-82 N302RC 48055 1007 10Aug81
9304 DC9-82 N931MC 48057 1023 12Aug81
9305 DC9-82 N307RC 48086 1029 29Aug81
9307 DC9-82 N309RC 48088 1037 20Nov81
9308 DC9-82 N311RC 48089 1038 01Dec81
9310 DC9-82 N313RC 48091 1041 12Dec81
9311 DC9-82 N314RC 49110 1062 17Aug82

Northwest inherited a large fleet of McDonnell Douglas twin-jets from its merger with Republic Airlines on 12 Aug 1986. These included eight MD-80s.

(I am assuming that the lone MD-80 in storage with a non-Republic registration, M931MC, was a replacement for the MD-80 lost in the flight 255 crash?)


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32966 times:

Just a few side notes....

IIRC, in the first few days after this horrible accident, the media was circulating a story that the cause may have been internal company sabotage to the aircraft resulting from hostility between Northwest and Republic work groups. This theory was, of course, later dismissed.

I also recall reading that the following week, a record number of Michigan lottery players bet on the number "255" in the weekly lottery drawing. The story in our local newspaper was titled: "Goulish Lottery Players Bet On Doomed Flight Number."

Not trying to be tacky 19 years later, but just posting a few of the things I recall from that time.


User currently offlineDAYflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3807 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32933 times:

I hate to admit this, but I dont even recall hearing about this crash. Time to go to aviation-safety.net for a review.

God bless the families. Sounds like a horrible accident.



One Nation Under God
User currently offlineJasond From Australia, joined Jul 2009, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32880 times:

Much respect to you for keeping the candle burning for the victims of this tragedy. Official cause of accident appeared to be failure of the flight crew to configure the aircraft for take-off. Thats my recollection of it anyway.

User currently offlineIowa744fan From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 931 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32853 times:

For those who don't recall this accident:

In a nutshell - from what I remember - the aircraft as mentioned was an MD-80 that was flying from DTW to SNA. Apparantly, the aircraft was delayed and was trying to get off the ground to beat the curfew into SNA. I think that the official ruling was pilot error as the flaps were not set correctly (if not the flaps, then something was not set correctly) and the aircraft wasn't able to get the lift that it needed. Needless to say, it crashed in the suburb of Romulus (am I spelling that correctly?) killing 156 people.

It was one of the 8 MD-80s that Northwest got from the Republic merger. In fact, Northwest got their whole fleet of DC-9s at that time from the merger (they have since purchased additional DC-9s from outside sources).


User currently offlineQuickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32853 times:

What was the cause of the crash?

User currently offlineJunction From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 32833 times:

Quoting Iowa744fan (Reply 8):
DTW to SNA

If SNA was involved in the routing of that aircraft it had to have been continuing on from PHX. I was living in PHX at the time and it was a non-stop flight from DTW to PHX with mostly Phoenix area residents on board.


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32779 times:

Yes....it was operating DTW-PHX-SNA.

User currently offlineJunction From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32779 times:

One other thing I can remember about this crash is it was deemed so tragic an event that even The Weather Channel covered it live. A very unusual action for that network.
Also, the A/C involved was in complete Republic Airlines livery except for the red tail. Several RC acquired MD80s kept a hybrid livery with NW for a few years after the merger.


User currently offlineBarney Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 965 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32722 times:

Quoting Junction (Reply 10):
If SNA was involved in the routing of that aircraft it had to have been continuing on from PHX. I was living in PHX at the time and it was a non-stop flight from DTW to PHX with mostly Phoenix area residents on board.

True. I was a gate agent working flights in PHX (for a different carrier) at the adjacent gate where 255 was to arrive. Most people got the word before they left home to pick up loved ones, some, did not. A very traumatic evening to say the least. The concourse was sealed off and the Delta Crown Room was used as a place of refuge for those poor souls. The media was an absolute disgrace (my apologies to those of you who may be in the media - I realize you're not all like the ones that night). One poor man came up to me sobbing. He told me that as he was getting out of his car, a reporter with a camera rolling asked who he was there to meet (his wife) and where she was coming from (DTW). The reporter then "informed" this shocked man that his wife had been killed in a plane crash. Turns out, she was on a different flight. Nice.

As I recall, there was one miracle survivor that night, a baby approx 18 months of age.

As someone else posted -thanks for keeping the candle burning  Sad



...from the Banana Republic....
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32722 times:

Quoting Iowa744fan (Reply 8):
I think that the official ruling was pilot error as the flaps were not set correctly (if not the flaps, then something was not set correctly)

IIRC, the report found that the aircraft was incorrectly configured for takeoff, but a contributing factor was that there was no power (tripped circuit breaker or something) to the system that was suposed to warn the pilots that the aircarft was improperly configured.

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineQuickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32710 times:

If they had enough speed and power to get off the ground without flaps, then after 14 seconds in the air, why didn't they have enough speed to continue?

I'm not a pilot, so forgive my ignorance.


User currently offlineASFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 1173 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32677 times:

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 13):
As I recall, there was one miracle survivor that night, a baby approx 18 months of age

This is true. Someone earlier mentioned that she was 4 years old. She was, in fact, a lap child (under 2 yrs) and was found where she was when the plane crashed... in her mothers lap. Very sad indeed.


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32662 times:

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 15):
If they had enough speed and power to get off the ground without flaps, then after 14 seconds in the air, why didn't they have enough speed to continue?

I recall reading that the aircraft was able to get off the ground and was barely climbing.

The plane could have possibly continued to slowly climb, but one of its wings struck a light post in a rental car parking lot.

The impact with the light post and damage to the wing resulted were what caused the aircraft to stop climbing and the resulting accident.

I was only about 12 years old at the time, and these are just things I remember reading in the following years, so forgive me if I am wrong.

I do recall an excellent story in Life Magazine several years later titled: "Anatomy of a Plane Crash," that retold the accident and investigation very well.


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined exactly 13 years ago today! , 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32636 times:

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 15):
If they had enough speed and power to get off the ground without flaps, then after 14 seconds in the air, why didn't they have enough speed to continue?

With no flaps, they made a very late liftoff with a very low rate of climb - remember, they were fully loaded. The runway they were using was fairly short, if I remember correctly (I believe it has been lengthened now), which would have been fine had they set the flaps properly but didn't leave them much room for error.

They clipped several tall light poles in a parking lot just past the end of the runway, which caused further drag on one of the wings. They then rolled uncontrollably and crashed.

If not for the light poles, they may have been able to stabilize the climb and gather enough speed to remain in the air. But don't go blaming the poles for the crash; the cause of the crash was the failure to set the flaps properly with a contributing factor being the warning system that didn't work correctly (it's been a while since I read this report; I think there was some weird issue with the warning system that caused it to fail to sound under certain circumstances. I don't think it was strictly an electrical problem, but I'm not sure if I'm remembering it right).

As for the 4 year old girl, she's all grown up now... but apparently leads a very private life and does not want to talk about the crash. (And she's perfectly entitled to that.)



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineQuickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32612 times:

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 18):
With no flaps, they made a very late liftoff with a very low rate of climb - remember, they were fully loaded. The runway they were using was fairly short, if I remember correctly (I believe it has been lengthened now), which would have been fine had they set the flaps properly but didn't leave them much room for error.

I know this is a what if, but here goes. If they detected the flaps were not down say late in the take off roll, could they have set them at the end of the runway or right after take off? I know the flaps drop slowly, but would they have dropped fast enough to make a difference?


User currently offlineCpharris5514 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 170 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 32602 times:
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Quoting Jasond (Reply 7):
Official cause of accident appeared to be failure of the flight crew to configure the aircraft for take-off. Thats my recollection of it anyway.

That's what I recall, and I've also heard that a possible reason for that (not to excuse it, just a reason) was that the flight was running somewhat late, and wanted to get to SNA before that airport's curfew for turbojets at the time (10:30pm? 11:00p?). In short, the cockpit crew may have been "looking ahead" and computing if they were going to make that curfew once they got off the ground in PHX. Probably all of us have "rushed" something, only to experience the consequences. Sadly, this one was fatal . . . times 156.  candle 



From rural Carlisle, Iowa
User currently offlineBridogger6 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 715 posts, RR: 10
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 32574 times:

It's so weird... I was only one at the time but I had a ticket book on this flight for the DTW-PHX segment, a segment I have flown many times with NW. Anyway, my parents decided they wanted to fly out on a Wednesday instead of a Sunday evening, and paid change fees and all to take the later flight. Scary stuff!

User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined exactly 13 years ago today! , 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 32549 times:

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 19):
I know this is a what if, but here goes. If they detected the flaps were not down say late in the take off roll, could they have set them at the end of the runway or right after take off?

I'm no pilot but I think they could have, but it's totally hypothetical. Their problem was, because of the warning system not working, they didn't know what was going on. Unless they had spontaneously realized their mistake, they had no reason to think their takeoff settings weren't already correct. And no pilot is going to go randomly pulling levers to try to correct things that they think are correct to begin with.

If the warning system was working correctly, they would have known the flaps were incorrectly set before the takeoff roll. So it wouldn't have been an issue. Without the warning system, they would never have known the problem except by total chance even after liftoff. They'd have to have the time to stabilize the flight, then they'd go through a checklist again to see why their takeoff roll was so screwy and then they'd probably discover the error. But again, that's back to assuming those light poles weren't there, which they were.

Hypothetically, most crashes could have been prevented any number of ways. I think realizing the error and setting the flaps during the takeoff roll (assuming it's after the abort point) would probably be the least likely and least reliable way they could have done it, though.



I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineJunction From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 768 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 32539 times:

Quoting Junction (Reply 12):
the A/C involved was in complete Republic Airlines livery except for the red tail

I stand corrected...it didn't even have a red tail yet.

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Photo © AirNikon



User currently offlineFlyDreamliner From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2759 posts, RR: 15
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 32496 times:

Does anyone happen to know if there is a given day of the year in which we remember and honor those who have fallen in civil aviation disasters?


"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
25 Cadet57 : 6 days before I was born... Then dont make statements like:
26 Isitsafenow : Answering some above questions... The little girl who survived now lives in the south and does not remember the accident. This was brought up last yea
27 Post contains links Dtw9 : heres a link to the Northwest 255 memorial page http://www.flight255memorial.com/
28 Spacecadet : Uh, why not? You got a problem with opinions being expressed in a public forum? Do you have issues understanding the words "I think..."? If you want
29 Dkf747 : I was northbound on 275 near 94 when it happened. I didn't know about it until I got home. (8 miles). I went back down Middlebelt to Ecorse where Midd
30 TAN FLYR : We all have been guilty of "Gotta get there itus" do one degree or another, driving, flying, whatever. But GGTI will get you in more trouble than alm
31 RoseFlyer : Here's a summary of the events from Wikipedia: Northwest Airlines Flight 255 was a flight scheduled to fly from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airp
32 Post contains images NW727251ADV : The name of the sole survivor of Northwest 255 is, Cecilia Cichan. I dont know where some of you all are getting your information from but Cecilia wa
33 BHMNONREV : Cecelia, who lost both of her parents and an older brother in the crash, went to live with a relative in Birmingham, AL where she was raised in relat
34 Falcon84 : I had just started to work at CO less than two months before, and heard about it from a NW agent down in baggage claim. We immediately turned on a TV
35 Thegooddoctor : The memorial website for some reason makes no mention that there was a memorial placed outside of the airport, but there was no mention of the one pla
36 Junction : FYI...This is a link to download a very interesting detailed PDF file of this crash. It has several pictures including the car rental building that wa
37 SRT75 : I remember this quite well, as I was living in the area at the time, and it was in all of the papers (News & Free Press). As to cause, I seem to reca
38 Dtw9 : I had a link up but pulled it . too graphic[Edited 2006-08-16 22:32:46]
39 NW727251ADV : Well no offense but your post is totally useless without the link. If someone my be offended by the content then you could put a disclaimer but witho
40 Junction : I know, I’m sorry, but I got caught up in the text before I saw the rest (it was 45 pages). Starts out tame, but then – oops! Are you sure it's o
41 Dtw9 : I pulled my link after further thought.I don't want to be the one to offend anyone. One thought on the crash of 255 was that the aircraft was original
42 Planespotting : The first officer on this flight was a man named David Dodds; who was an alumnus of my alma-mater, the University of Dubuque. Every year the aviation
43 Post contains images Richierich : This is a Google Earth pic of the Middlebelt/I-94 interchange today. You can see the railroad track crossing Middlebelt Road, as seen in some of the
44 Post contains links ChrisI1024 : The Northwest 255 training slideshow: http://www.ogrish.com/archives/train...ident_august_1987_Dec_04_2005.html We all know how the Internet works. Th
45 Andrewuber : I remember this date all too well - I was there. The night of the crash, the Civil Air Patrol unit I was a part of was activated. We were assigned to
46 Post contains links Aviateur : Thank you for the reminder. All these years later, the NW crash at Detroit remains one of America's worst-ever disasters. To this day it is the third-
47 Amazonphil : Here is the NTSB report as to the probable cause of the accident.. amazonphil NORTHWEST FLT 255 (NW255) CRASHED AFTER TAKEOFF FM RWY 3C AT DETROIT ME
48 Amazonphil : Another factor in the crash was that the takeoff was done on the shortest runway with a 4 knot tail wind, besides the non use of the flaps and slats f
49 Luv2fly : I also remember that night as I was still living in MI at the time and had just flown home that same day from Florida in the original Midway Airlines.
50 Nwafflyer : Where does this put NW on the scale of safety? Seems to me they should be right up at the top as one of the safest carriers. If I think about American
51 AeroPeru : I remember this day all too well. I'm from Detroit and was just completing Army basic training in Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas. I knew my parents were co
52 Dr.DTW : A note to the moderator, or site administrator: Please delete the post by ChrisI1024, which included a link to crash scene photos. Some of the picture
53 NW727251ADV : Dude get real! I get so sick of you extra sensative people on here. You act as if he was being beligerant. He asked if it would be okay to post a lin
54 UK_Dispatcher : I do not find this hard to believe - it is sickening how low some so called 'gentlemen of the press' will stoop for a bit of sensationalism. I like t
55 JIM650 : It has always puzzled me somewhat that no one on board the aircraft noticed that the flaps and slats were retracted. I don't know what percent of pax
56 STLGph : If you notice, a few of the passengers on board were listed as "Captain."
57 Isitsafenow : 3C-21C is 8800 ft apx and the plane rotated apx 6600. In the 80's, that runway was primarily departures but there were exceptions. If I remember righ
58 NASCARAirforce : Not to nitpick, but that is actually now 3L not 4L (4L is the new runway). I was 12 at the time of the crash and living in Livonia about 12 miles nor
59 TWAL1011727 : The MD80 series ( and almost all other transport catagory A/C) will stall usually between 170-210 knots - flaps retracted. The flaps reduce that spee
60 Post contains images AvConsultant : Was The Weather Channel around in 1987? That's horrible!! You're correct it's a popular myth. She was in a car seat still strapped to the seat. There
61 Post contains links Dtw9 : Surprised nobody has brought up the fake priest from Canada that went around giving confort to the victims families Source http://www.sdreader.com/php
62 AvConsultant : That's right!! That was the other messed up thing with the crash. I thought the looters were bizarre and then the fake priest or were the 2 combined?
63 Post contains links SDWranglers : I think there were some earlier questions about why the warning system wasn't working. In trying to find out more about this crash I came across this
64 Dr.DTW : Another interesting point of discussion: The event which sealed the fate of flight 255, was when the left wing hit a 42 foot light pole, as it banked
65 NW727251ADV : And the exact same thing happened (in a much larger scale) during the crash of United Airlines Flight 232. Several "lap children" were catapulted lik
66 Amazonphil : A study was done and written by I believe by Richard Collins, (the guy that writes articles in Flying Magazine), that if the pilot would had even...L
67 ThePinnacleKid : I'm sure some people did notice... but they probably didn't think anything of it. In addition, aircraft do not require flaps extended in order to tak
68 Amazonphil : The F100 is a whole different aircraft when compared to an MD80. I don't believe they even have slats...but I might be wrong on this one. I'm also no
69 ThePinnacleKid : I agree totally with what you said, and I honestly, didn't mean to give the illusion that the MD-80 does or could take off with flaps 0... I don't kn
70 Amazonphil : I have a fellow mechanic friend that told me once of an occasion where he and his family went somewhere in an MD80 and the pilots forgot to put down t
71 F9Animal : I thought thunderstorms moving in was another reason for the rush....... I also understand that NWA was the partial reason for the crash, since they
72 Dr.DTW : There was NO witness who noticed that the flaps and slats were not extended. Actually, a pilot in the Northwest aircraft behind flight 255, testified
73 Amazonphil : Read reply 47...the NTSG states they were not extended.
74 Isitsafenow : Apparently the NTSB did not concur. safe
75 Type-Rated : Just curious, were these ex-RC pilots flying this particular MD-80 or NWA pilots that moved down from something like the 727?
76 AS739X : I was on the United flight that took off in front of #255. We were a UA 727 to Cleveland. The most memorable part to me what the ghostly face my Mom h
77 Isitsafenow : Republic............................ safe
78 Luv2fly : We had weather on and off the whole day, and yes it was getting worse that evening.
79 Dr.DTW : Type-rated asked: Just curious, were these ex-RC pilots flying this particular MD-80 or NWA pilots that moved down from something like the 727? Both t
80 Kdtwflyer : How high up was the contact with the first pole? Middle of pole? Top of pole?
81 AS739X : Luv2fly: There was thunderstorms, yes. When our plane was in line I watched a TWA 727 depart and behind I saw lightning all over the sky. Then we depa
82 Luv2fly : Yes that whole day the weather was hot humid and showers, I flew back to DTW from Florida that day and even earlier in the day, flying you could and
83 Dr.DTW : Kdtwflyer: The pole was 42 feet high, so the contact must have been near the top of the pole. After this impact, which took off 18 feet of the left wi
84 1011 : My uncle had to work at the crash site. After getting off duty he was involved in a car accident because he was so distraught while driving home. He j
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