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32 Years Ago Today: AA DC-10 Crash At ORD  
User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2264 posts, RR: 8
Posted (3 years 7 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9865 times:

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the American Airlines DC-10 crash at ORD, which killed all 271 passengers and crew on the DC-10, and two on the ground.

Whenever I depart ORD on one of the 32s (the AA DC-10 took off from 32R) and fly over the crash site, or taxi past the AA hangar that was used as a temporary morgue, I think of that horrible afternoon.

May the victims R.I.P., and may time heal the wounds of those who lost loved ones in the crash.


Seaholm Maples are #1!
46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinetsugambler From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 302 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9852 times:

I'm still struck every time I see that infamous photo of the DC-10 rolling over in the air...

User currently offlinestlgph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9518 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9583 times:

i know the general victinity of the crash site - but what are the cross streets? thanks.


if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2264 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9542 times:

Quoting stlgph (Reply 2):
i know the general victinity of the crash site - but what are the cross streets? thanks.

I believe the crash site is on the north side of Touhy, west of Mount Prospect Road. This land is still vacant; the last time I went by, it was used for police dog training.

Just west of the crash site on the north side of Touhy is a mobile home park. A few pieces of the aircraft landed in the mobile home park, but no mobile homes were seriously damaged.

Had the DC-10 stayed airborne a few seconds longer, it would have crashed in the middle of the mobile home park, and the loss of life on the ground would have been much higher.



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlinetozairport From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8746 times:

You can thank former Air Tran CEO "Forklift" Joe Leonard for that crash. His idea to shortcut an established maintenance procedure caused the damage to the aircraft that caused the engine to fall off. As is typical in aviation, when management makes a criminally bad decision, the pilots die and the manager gets promoted.


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
User currently offlinestlgph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9518 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 8603 times:

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 3):

ah yes, thank you. for some reason i always thought the plane made it farther than what it did.

the other day when i looked the mobile park didn't load on the google maps - hence my confusion. thanks guys. g



if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2780 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 8497 times:

Quoting tozairport (Reply 4):
You can thank former Air Tran CEO "Forklift" Joe Leonard for that crash. His idea to shortcut an established maintenance procedure caused the damage to the aircraft that caused the engine to fall off. As is typical in aviation, when management makes a criminally bad decision, the pilots die and the manager gets promoted.

But as with most plane crashes, it wasn't the only mistake made...my understanding is that the DC-10 was flawed in that it's backup hydrolic system was located adjacent to the primary system so both were damaged also that AA didn't order a stall stick shaker for the First Officer seat in the DC-10. If either of these mistakes weren't made, the plane may have recovered from the engine falling off...


User currently offlinetozairport From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8333 times:

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
But as with most plane crashes, it wasn't the only mistake made...

It is true that the DC-10 had flaws, the chief among them being the co-location of hydraulic lines (UA 232 also highlighted this problem). However, it's asking a lot of an engineer to not only anticipate the failures that occur in the normal operation, but to also anticipate the failures caused by management sanctioning an illegal maintenance procedure. The pilots never trained for the "have an engine fall off whilst at the same time have all of the leading edge devices retract on the same wing" scenario. If they had been able to fly out of it they would of joined the Al Haynes or Sullenberger's of this world as aviators who truly pulled off a miracle.



Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8299 times:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't another major contributor to the crash the fact that pilots back then were trained to reduce thrust on the remaining engines in order to reduce stress. Didn't this directly contribute to the ensuing stall and crash? Had the pilots increased thrust to the remaining engines, they would have been able to maintain lift and possibly go around for landing?

[Edited 2011-05-26 11:35:20]

User currently offlinedragon6172 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8271 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 8):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't another major contributor to the crash the fact that pilots back then were trained to reduce thrust on the remaining engine in order to reduce stress. Didn't this directly contribute to the ensuing stall and crash? Had the pilots increased thrust to the remaining engines, they would have been able to maintain lift and possibly go around for landing?

As I recall they did not stall in that sense. The sheared hydraulic lines allowed the left wing leading edge slats to retract by the aerodynamic forces pushing them. The right wing slats remained deployed, causing asymetrical lift which the pilots could not counteract and the planed rolled over.



Phrogs Phorever
User currently offlineqqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2298 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8223 times:

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
But as with most plane crashes, it wasn't the only mistake made...my understanding is that the DC-10 was flawed in that it's backup hydrolic system was located adjacent to the primary system so both were damaged also that AA didn't order a stall stick shaker for the First Officer seat in the DC-10. If either of these mistakes weren't made, the plane may have recovered from the engine falling off...

As with all aviation accidents and incidents, there is always a series of failures that lead to the event. What's sad is, that while an entire engine separating from the a/c is a severe situation, in the end it was a simple wing stall that resulted in the crash. On the effected wing the slat retracted, causing that wing to stall, which caused the rollover. If the F/O had a stick shaker, as mentioned, he would have known the a/c was stalling and increased power/rudder. The accident was so preventable, even after the loss of the engine, but sadly the crew didn't have the information, or the time to get the information, necessary to prevent the catastrophe. This accident still remains the single most deadly accident in US aviation history. Second is AA's 587, the A300 which went down in Belle Harbor, NY.

It is still so very sad.



The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3594 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 8162 times:
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Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 8):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't another major contributor to the crash the fact that pilots back then were trained to reduce thrust on the remaining engines in order to reduce stress. Didn't this directly contribute to the ensuing stall and crash?

IIRC AA pilots were trained to fly a minimum engine out speed. So when they identified the left engine was out they raised the nose until they attained the correct speed. Unfortunately this speed was below the stall speed for no slats. Had they simply leveled off and accelerated they could have flown out of it, but that's not how they were trained nor did they have sufficient information to come to that conclusion on their own.

[Edited 2011-05-26 12:12:10]


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User currently offlineRmTrice From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8071 times:

With both Delta and American flight 191 being horrific aviation disasters, do other airlines still have flights numbered 191? I searched to see if Southwest did and apparently they do not.

User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8040 times:

Actually, not only did that a/c only have a stick shaker on the first officers side, but after the engine departed the a/c. the circuit breaker for it popped off making it unusable. To reset the circuit breaker one of the pilots would have to get out of his seat and go to a circuit panel at the back of the flight deck to reset it.

So besides the buffet they may or may not have felt, they had no warning of the impending stall. But they did know that high angles of bank raise the stall speed considerably. That's just basic airmanship.

Also if the pilots had let the aircraft fly out at the regular climb speed they wouldn't have stalled, but the engine out checklist indicated that they should slow the a/c down by about 20 knots or so as part of that procedure. Needless to say, McD deleted that from the engine out checklist soon after the crash.


User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3541 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7872 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 13):
Also if the pilots had let the aircraft fly out at the regular climb speed they wouldn't have stalled, but the engine out checklist indicated that they should slow the a/c down by about 20 knots or so as part of that procedure. Needless to say, McD deleted that from the engine out checklist soon after the crash.

Well, it's not like that procedure was crazy to begin with. The thinking was (and still is) - if you have an engine out, altitude is more your friend than airspeed (to a certain point), especially immediately after takeoff.

And since the airplane can still fly just fine at a speed below a typical all-engine post-takeoff climb, you might as well sacrifice airspeed to grab a better rate-of-climb so you can get higher and have a better shot of making it to a runway.

Unfortunately for AA 191, they didn't realize the airplane was sans slats on one wing because of the hydraulic/electrical complications of physically shedding an entire engine. Hence the imbalance in lift and subsequent stall/wingover that doomed the airplane.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlinerwy04lga From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3176 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7762 times:

Quoting RmTrice (Reply 12):
With both Delta and American flight 191 being horrific aviation disasters, do other airlines still have flights numbered 191

The LEX incident was Comair 5191.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7712 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 13):
To reset the circuit breaker one of the pilots would have to get out of his seat and go to a circuit panel at the back of the flight deck to reset it.


So when the pilot has to get out of his seat and go to the back of the flight deck to get to this circuit breaker, does he have the say "excuse me to the flight engineer"?


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1465 posts, RR: 44
Reply 17, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7695 times:

I remember that famous photo on the front page of our local newspaper. I was eight years old. Very sad indeed.


Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2630 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7650 times:

An then the infamous "grounding" that lasted most of the summer. Remember what a mess that was?
And the press went wild-----another DC-10 lost in a spectacular fashion.
The DC-10 stigma was so bad for months after the grounding DC-10's were flying nearly empty.
NW was ops TPA-MIA or MIA-TPA on -10's for stupid money------to match PI-----and there were many days I flew in near solitary splendor. Or NA to LAX. So many empty seats we used to gather in the seats near the forward galley elevator area and have a party with the F/A's all the way to the west coast. Wonderful!



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offline71Zulu From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3088 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7489 times:

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 11):
nor did they have sufficient information to come to that conclusion on their own.

I know it's probably asking a lot but if ATC had told them the engine had departed they might have been able to handle it better. ATC saw what was happening but did not mention it.

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 15):
The LEX incident was Comair 5191.

5191 was the Delta number. The Comair number was 191 and the call sign was Comair 191.



The good old days: Delta L-1011s at MSY
User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7449 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 16):
So when the pilot has to get out of his seat and go to the back of the flight deck to get to this circuit breaker

I meant the F/E...... sorry. But did they have time for ANYBODY to determine what was going on? I don't think they had enough time.


User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7435 times:

Quoting planespotting (Reply 14):
And since the airplane can still fly just fine at a speed below a typical all-engine post-takeoff climb, you might as well sacrifice airspeed to grab a better rate-of-climb so you can get higher and have a better shot of making it to a runway

But the captain reduced power to slow the aircraft down, and as soon as the power was reduced, the aircraft stalled.
This is all in the NTSB long report.
Usually power controls climb and angle of attack controls speed.


User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7222 times:

Quoting dragon6172 (Reply 9):
Quoting dragon6172 (Reply 9):
As I recall they did not stall in that sense. The sheared hydraulic lines allowed the left wing leading edge slats to retract by the aerodynamic forces pushing them. The right wing slats remained deployed, causing asymetrical lift which the pilots could not counteract and the planed rolled over

Thanks, I brushed up on the crash details. Looks like the slats retracting on the left wing increased the stall speed to 159 knots. Had they powered up, to ZANL188's point, they would have been able to power out of it.


User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7197 times:

It didn't matter what the flight crew did, their fate was sealed years before during the design phase of the DC-10. If the DC-10 had a asymmetry detection system, hydraulic fuses or two stick shakers maybe the accident could have been prevented. But McDonnell Douglas's design omitted all of the above. Leaving the crew with no indication they were stalling, the loss of a complete hydraulic system and with asymmetrical lift that they could not correct. All at the most critical time in a flight.

User currently offlinecrAAzy From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 803 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7107 times:
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I remember sitting on the picnic bench in my back yard in Hanover Park, IL. A friend and I were eating watermelon when we saw a big black cloud of smoke rise into the air in the distance as we looked out over the field behind the house. Mom was just inside, in the kitchen, and when we went to tell her about the smoke the news flash came across the TV about the crash.
I was 8 years old at the time and I still remember how haunting that picture of the DC-10 rolling over on it's side was at the time.   


25 ltbewr : While this was a great tragedy, important lessons were learned from it, most importantly that certain mx procedures specified by the manufacturer must
26 Post contains images KBUF : N110AA (the a/c involved in the accident) in better days:
27 homsar : There was also a Delta 191 that crashed in the 1980s (?).
28 Maverick623 : US operates flight 191 PHL-PHX-SAN, B6 operates 191 JFK-LAS, and CO operates 191 MIA-IAH.
29 WA707atMSP : DL 191 was the flight number of the DL L-1011 that crashed at DFW in 1985, after encountering wind shear on final approach. DL 191's route was FLL-DF
30 WA707atMSP : Another design flaw that contributed to the accident was McDonnell Douglas' decision to route the hydraulic line along the leading edge of the wing.
31 YYZYYT : Call me superstituous, but if I ever need to fly YYZ-YYJ, I'll avoid AC 191. Let's play "what if", had the co-pilot on AA191 not slowed, and thus avo
32 moman : If they had kept the airspeed, the wing would not have stalled. The left wing stalled only because of the slat assymetry - and it would have a minima
33 YYZYYT : What about the lack of hydraulics - did they have control surfaces to fly with? I'm not quibbling, I am curious. In the investigation that folowed, d
34 rwessel : I believe only one hydraulic system was impacted. Thus they'd have had full control over everything (except the slats on the left wing). In the UA232
35 YYZYYT : Thanks for clearing that up - don't know where I got the idea that all 3 systems were severed.
36 474218 : When the engine fell off it took the engine driven hydraulic pump with it. At that point it didn't matter where the hydraulic lines were routed they
37 pecevanne : I took off 1 hr earlier in MXA flight 803. Was a beatiful day I knew about the accident in Televisa news, Mexico, at 8PM Still in my mind those pictur
38 type-rated : Boeing aircraft has such a system. If one of the slats retracts, the other will retract accordingly to maintain asymmetry. I think that since AA remo
39 TZTriStar500 : If you're implying he had anything to do with this at AA, that's entirely untrue. Joe Leonard worked for AA as an assistant VP of maintenance from 82
40 type-rated : When CO & NW inspected their DC10 pylons, they both found cracks in them. At issue was McD said the engines should be removed first, then the supp
41 TrnsWrld : One thing I want to talk about as everyone here makes it seem like the pilot had a good amount of time to slow the aircraft and do a few other things
42 Post contains links rwessel : They didn't slow down all that much (they were in the process of reducing airspeed from 165kts to 153kts - the maximum speed was 174kts, and the stal
43 BP1 : I lost family in that crash and it changed my life forever. At one point, on a US flight while sitting next to an NTSB investigator he said that the t
44 mayor : I think back now and wonder what would have happened if the a/c was taking off in the opposite direction........that particular runway was lined up in
45 rwessel : I had not heard that. It also seems somewhat unlikely, after all, those are pretty big tires, and the landing gear would absorb a fair bit of any suc
46 type-rated : With a nose high attitude like you have while taking off you can lose speed very quickly, especially when one engine is not producing thrust. (It was
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