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49 Years Ago Today: American Airlines Plane Crash  
User currently offlineSeptember11 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3623 posts, RR: 21
Posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 19583 times:

Newspaper article (daily almanac)

The Columbus Dispatch
Sun., Feb. 3, 2008

----------------------------------------------------------

In 1959, a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed rock 'n' roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. That same day, an American Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed into New York's East River while approaching LaGuardia Airport, killing 65 of the 73 people on board.


Airliners.net of the Future
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 19550 times:
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That makes today "the day the music died"... 

"A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But february made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.


edit: add american pie lyrics

[Edited 2008-02-03 08:55:53]


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User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 19434 times:

http://aviation-safety.net/photos/di...oto.php?id=19590203-1&vnr=1&kind=G

Note the name of the airport SE of LGA, and the colored airway names.

There was a program on cable some years back (IIRC, "Why Airplanes Crash", or maybe something else) and during their segment on AA 191 at ORD, they had an interview with a relative of one of the victims. Turns out that his same fellow had lost his parents in the crash of AA 320 at LGA.


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3866 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 19366 times:



Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 2):
There was a program on cable some years back (IIRC, "Why Airplanes Crash", or maybe something else) and during their segment on AA 191 at ORD, they had an interview with a relative of one of the victims. Turns out that his same fellow had lost his parents in the crash of AA 320 at LGA.

I saw that show, too. I believe the gentleman lost his parents in the crash of AA Flight 1 on March 1, 1962. It was taking off from Idlewild to go to Los Angeles. Flight 1 had an uncommanded rudder deflection shortly after takeoff and crashed in Jamaica Bay, killing all onboard. Use of an improper tool during maintenance caused wire damage in the tail assembly, which led to the crash.

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 19284 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
I saw that show, too. I believe the gentleman lost his parents in the crash of AA Flight 1 on March 1, 1962. It was taking off from Idlewild to go to Los Angeles. Flight 1 had an uncommanded rudder deflection shortly after takeoff and crashed in Jamaica Bay, killing all onboard. Use of an improper tool during maintenance caused wire damage in the tail assembly, which led to the crash.

Thanks, I'd forgotten about the other accident and just assumed it was the LGA one...


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25983 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 19030 times:

The 1959 AA Electra crash at LGA was the first Electra hull loss. It was AA's first Electra and had only been in service a couple of months.

User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 18985 times:

Between 1959 and 1961 how many losses where there of Electras?

I know BN, NW 2 I think and EA taking off from BOS.

Head of the FAA then was a Hispanic.

The BN one from HOU to DAL and the Tell City one were caused by vibrations caused by overspeed I think, but I am unsure. One NW crash was in ORD and the BOS one was caused by collison with birds.

In 1985 a Galaxy Air L188 crashed in RNO. It had been used by John Glenn during the 1984 Presidential Campaign


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25983 posts, RR: 22
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18957 times:



Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 6):
Between 1959 and 1961 how many losses where there of Electras?

Seven, including the Braniff and NW "whirl mode" crashes that caused a wing to separate and resulted in modifications to all Electras which solved the problem. AA wrote off 3 Electras between 1959 and 1962, including another that struck a dyke on approach to LGA in 1960 and one that went off the runway at TYS in 1962. Fortunately both of those were non-fatal.
http://aviation-safety.net/database/...334%&cat=%1&sorteer=datekey&page=1


User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18946 times:

My understanding is that the Electra was a very powerful fast aircraft. That combined with the short stubby wings would cause vibrations to build up as the planes exceeded 450 mph or so. A pressure wave would build up under the wing causing vibrations until the wings fell off. There were modificatiosn but also a speed limit of about 425mph applied which solved the problem...i may be wrong, would appreciate any help.

User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1662 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18894 times:
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I believe Easrtern lost an Electra, taking off from BOS they ingested some birds causing the engines to lose power.

As far as the AA 707 crash departing IDL now JFK, I remember reading many years ago that one of the bolts holding the rudder was put in upside down with the nut on the top and the bolt head on the bottom and no cotter pin was used. the nut eventually backed off due to vibrations and the bolt dropped out causing the rudder to swung over.

Although it has been listed in the past that airlines will retire the flight number when that flight was involved in a fatal accident, AA still uses this flight number, flight 1

[Edited 2008-02-03 14:57:49]

[Edited 2008-02-03 14:59:19]

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25983 posts, RR: 22
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18859 times:



Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 8):
My understanding is that the Electra was a very powerful fast aircraft. That combined with the short stubby wings would cause vibrations to build up as the planes exceeded 450 mph or so. A pressure wave would build up under the wing causing vibrations until the wings fell off. There were modifications but also a speed limit of about 425mph applied which solved the problem...i may be wrong, would appreciate any help.

The temporary speed limit was much lower, originally a little over 300 mph and then further reduced to about 260 mph.. See the March 17, 1960 entry in the following FAA history summary (through 1996). It mentions the second "whirl mode" crash and the resulting speed limits.
http://www.faa.gov/about/media/b-chron.pdf

Also see the September 29, 1959, October 4, 1960 and December 31, 1960 entries.


User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 18845 times:
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Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 8):
My understanding is that the Electra was a very powerful fast aircraft. That combined with the short stubby wings would cause vibrations to build up as the planes exceeded 450 mph or so. A pressure wave would build up under the wing causing vibrations until the wings fell off. There were modificatiosn but also a speed limit of about 425mph applied which solved the problem..

Well sorta... The natural frequency of the prop/nacelle/engine & the wing coincided above a particular speed. This phenomena - I believe it was called "Whirl Mode" - caused the wing to self-destruct due to flutter. The answer was to detune the wing & nacelle so the natural frequencies did not coincide, this was accomplished by beefing up the nacelle & wing structures. Lockheeds plan to modify all the Electras was called LEAP.....

I got a chance to ride an Electra jumpseat during a checkride about 20 years ago. The airplane, a freighter, only had a ballast pallet and the 5 of us in the cockpit aboard. You're right about it being a powerful & fast aircraft - damned thing was like riding a rocket!!



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User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18672 times:



Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 6):
Head of the FAA then was a Hispanic.

Elwood Richard "Pete" Quesada was a USAF General and the first FAA administrator. Born in Washington DC, his father was of Spanish extraction and his mother was Irish-American.


User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 18625 times:

thanks guys for all the interesting information and helping me out =)

gosh reducing hte speed of the Electra to 260mph really destroyed the speed advantabe against say the DC-6


User currently offlineNorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1872 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 17659 times:
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If you believe in fate, what's interesting to note is that Waylon Jennings (I think) was supposed to fly with Holly and Valens and at the last minute Richardson asked if he'd give up his seat, he said yes, so the big bopper went, and the rest, as they say is history.

what's also interesting is that i've heard that one of the musicians had a gun in the plane, they were playiing around with it and it went off accidentally, the pilot was killed. I don't know if that's true, but there's always been mystery/speculation around the cause of that crash.

as for the electra, wasn't it actually the world's first commerical turbo prop? amazing the way lockheed has always been way ahead of their time, first with the electra later with the L-1011.



Why are people so against low yields?! If lower yields means more people can travel abroad, i'm all for it
User currently offlineArgonaut From UK - Scotland, joined Dec 2004, 422 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 17325 times:



Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 14):
as for the electra, wasn't it actually the world's first commerical turbo prop?

Way off, sorry to say  Smile . Check the Vickers Viscount, which went into regular service in 1953.



'the rank is but the guinea stamp'
User currently offlineArcher From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 15665 times:
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Not a good day! (2/3/59)
The AA Electra was N6101A and was the plane in all the advertising. It was in service only 10 days.
Capt. Albert DeWitt was captain and app. 3 months from retirement. Had over 30,000 hours. Earnest
K.Gann in Fate is the Hunter spoke about it with words, something like, "fooled by the stupid instrumentation
in a brand new airplane." The altimeters were different and there was no glide slope to that runway at LGA.
Just a localizer that keeps you on centerline. The glide slope guides you vertically to the runway end.
Eastern's Electra was N5533. I rode it from LGA to ALB in the summer of 1960. Birds were the problem.
A great story in Airways a year ago or so about an Reeve (?) Electra landing on glare ice on a short runway.
Strong crosswind, forgot to say that.
Nobody checked the surface. They went sideways until the captain straighted it out with power then full
power to get flying again. They were so low off the end of the runway that the water was stirred up from
the prop. "wash". They made it. A great and powerful airplane. Beautiful looks too!
KLM lost one in Egypt.


User currently offlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2630 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 15594 times:



Quoting RC135U (Reply 12):
Elwood Richard "Pete" Quesada

The General was a pretty tough cookie. He stood firmly behind Lockheed and the airlines that ops the L-188's and did so in the face of a HUGE media frenzy. The uninformed media just went berzerk over the L-188 incidents which created such a toxic atmosphere for the people under pressure to investigate the accidents it is almost a miracle they were able to get their work done. It did not help that the media scared so many citizens about the saftey of the L-188's that their government representatives, Senators up on Capitol Hill, etc. were screaming at the General to ground the aircraft, before they really were able to track down the problems. It was a really wild atmosphere, highly politically charged, and the General just did a fantastic job of holding it all together and holding the damned uninformed politicians and media at bay long enought to sort things out and get to the truth of the matter.

Propeller auto-procession with the consequent dynamic coupling of the wing structure was really something the Lockheed engineers were surprised to find. The aircraft had been tested way beyond the requirements of the FAA at that time. However, back in those days without computers to provide very accurate data in the designing and testing process the state of the art in designing structures was still going down the learning curve the hard way.
Just as other manufactures each had certain area(s) that the always had trouble with, Lockheed had also had a record of having issues with flutter in the past. (L-14 rudder and P-38). Its just the way it was back in those days. There were bugs and they just had to be worked out. Just goes to show how wonderful it is that advanced methods of design by highly accurate computer generated data have brought us to the point of near perfect design, compared with what we had in the old days.

The L-188 was a tough bird in general and after all the dust settled, it went on to prove itself for many more years thet most of the people in the industry ever imagined they would. EA was loathe to retire them from their shuttle service but finally did so back in 1977. Also VG ran the hell out of their L-188 shuttle fleet well into the early 1990's.
Oh and let us not forget Reeve who found them a perfect fit for their frigid ops up in the Alaskan Aleutian chain with horrible winter weather. I believe Atlantic is still in love with their fleet.

In spite of it's structural issues and sometimes ops issues, once the mods were performed and ops issues were resolved, IMO the L-188 turned out to be one hell of an airplane. Powerful, and fast.  bigthumbsup 



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 15174 times:



Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 17):
IMO the L-188 turned out to be one hell of an airplane. Powerful, and fast.

I'll second that - look at all those P-3s that have served various navies around the world for the past 40+ years.


User currently offlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2630 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 13737 times:



Quoting Archer (Reply 16):
Birds were the problem.

Well, they certainly were the initiating contributors to the crash, but like most other crashes they are but one of a series of events leading up to the loss of the aircraft.

The bureaucratic agencies were quick to blame the birds for causing near total loss of engine power, but Allison wasn't having that at all. They claimed that for the most part the engines never did more than burp a few times as they ingested, minced, broiled and ejected those birds.

The argument was still going on when a NA Captain who was listening to one of the investigators lamenting over the possible causes, came up with a very plausible theory.

It seems the aircraft in question had had a number of mx squawks regarding the locking-pin (in the seat-tracks) for the F/O's seat. Only a temporary "fix" had been made, to supposedly lock the seat in only one position.

The NA Captain figured that when the bells and whistles started going off the EA Captain turned the aircraft over to the F/O so that he (the Captain) could try to trouble-shoot the situation. The F/O, who suddenly found himself grabbing the control yolk and (no doubt) having to stand on a rudder pedal, broke the temporary "fix" holding his seat in place, which then slammed all the way aft. causing the F/O (who was gripping the yolk) to suddenly pull all the way back on the said yolk, thus causing a stall and loss of control of the aircraft. Simultaneously, he likely lost his foothold on the rudder pedals as well and that may have been what caused the sudden last second roll-over.

Sure enough, when the investigators went back and sifted through the remains of the aircraft they found that the temporary "fix" to the seat had been nothing but some (unauthorized) cheap thin wire,-------- which was found broken.
Go 'figya.



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 33
Reply 20, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 13433 times:



Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 17):
The General was a pretty tough cookie. He stood firmly behind Lockheed and the airlines that ops the L-188's and did so in the face of a HUGE media frenzy.



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
Braniff and NW "whirl mode" crashes that caused a wing to separate and resulted in modifications to all Electras which solved the problem.

'The Electra Story' by Robert Serling is a superb depiction of the history of the Electra, included detailed analysis of both the BN and NW crashes, as well as the following grounding of the aircraft, and solution to the whirl mode issue.

Tom at MSY



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25983 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 13201 times:



Quoting Argonaut (Reply 15):
Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 14):
as for the electra, wasn't it actually the world's first commerical turbo prop?

Way off, sorry to say. Check the Vickers Viscount, which went into regular service in 1953.

The prototype Fokker F-27 also made its first flight 2 years before the Electra,and the first F-27 (a U.S.license-built Fairchild F-27) went into service in September 1958 with West Coast Airlines (predecessor of Air West/Hughes Airwest/Republic) in September 1958, 4 months before the Electra.

Quoting Tom in NO (Reply 20):
'The Electra Story' by Robert Serling is a superb depiction of the history of the Electra, included detailed analysis of both the BN and NW crashes, as well as the following grounding of the aircraft, and solution to the whirl mode issue.

The Electra was never grounded. The FAA only imposed a speed restriction. Some people thought it should have been grounded but it wasn't.


User currently offlineFlightopsguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 13182 times:

I loved flying the Electra! We would wait for the last section on the WAS-NYC Air Shuttle which was always sked as an Electra. Do you'all know that the floor of the pax cabin was wood?

The Allisons were fabulous engines both on the L-188 and the Allegheny CV-580's that we flew regularly in those days.
We lived just a mile or so from the approach at DCA to runway 18 (in those days) and you could always tell when an Allison powered aircraft came overhead.

Thanks ImperialEagle for all the great info.



A300-330 BAC111/146/J31/41 B99/1900 CV580 B707-777 DC8/9/10 L188/1011 FH227/28/100 SB340 DO228 EMB2/170 CR2-900 SH330-60
User currently offlineBAC111 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 13104 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 21):



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 21):
The prototype Fokker F-27 also made its first flight 2 years before the Electra,and the first F-27 (a U.S.license-built Fairchild F-27) went into service in September 1958 with West Coast Airlines (predecessor of Air West/Hughes Airwest/Republic) in September 1958, 4 months before the Electra.

IIRC, the U.S. license-built was designated the FH-227 (Fairchild-Hiller) to differentiate from Dutch-built F-27.


User currently offlineSWABrian From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 299 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (6 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 12899 times:

BAC 111,
The FH-227 was a US variant but it was a later stretch of the basic airframe. Fairchild also licensed built the original shorter airframe. Aircraft built in the US were designated F-27 and the Dutch airframes were F.27s. Ozark flew the FH-227, along with Air New England. West Coast, Bonanza, Pacifc (and the combined Air West), and Aloha all flew the F-27.


25 FLY2LIM : In the late seventies, there was an airline in Peru called Lansa. They flew the Electras exclusively (probably got them cheap somewhere) and lost all
26 Post contains links and images Viscount724 : This was the first F-27 in airline service anywhere in the world, a Fairchild-built F-27A, delivered to West Coast Airlines in Seattle in July 1958 a
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