FLAIRPORT
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DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:02 am

On this day in 1985, DL 191 FLL-DFW crashed short of runway 17L at DFW due to a microburst on approach...

from airdisaster.com:
"Despite the application of maximum power by the crew, the aircraft touched down in a field, careened across a busy highway snapping off light posts, and struck a car with its no.1 engine, killing the occupant. The aircraft then entered the airport property with a groundspeed of 212 knots and impacted two 4 million gallon water towers."
The flight killed 134 of 163 on board as well as the occupant of the car.

it appears that this incident could have happened to any plane that day. just happened to be DL 191.

[Edited 2004-08-03 00:07:27]
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b757300
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:50 am

The movie about DL-191 is "Fire and Rain" and I'm guessing this is the movie you're asking about. The L-1011 actually did touchdown short of the runway and landed briefly onto one of the highways that runs next to DFW. One of its engines crushed a car, killing the driver.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:50 am

Scott, were you working at FLL at the time? If so, what was that like?
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scottysair
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:57 am

Yes, I was working in FLL before from 4 years ago at Delta Terminal north and that was companies with CA 1 Services of the food service with the restaurant in Delta terminal north.
 
scottysair
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:00 am

B757300,

Thanks for telling me about with their movie of Fire and Rain. I will remember with their movie before and do you even has one of their movie at Blockbuster store?

Regards
 
nwa man
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:05 am

The movie about DL-191 is "Fire and Rain" and I'm guessing this is the movie you're asking about.


As is often the case, the book (by the same name) is much better. It's usually available at places like Half Price Books, half.com, Amazon, and the like. It focuses on DL191, the survivors, the grief, and the aftermath, but other crashes with similar details are mentioned and explored as well. IMO, definitely worth a read.



Regards,

N-Dub
Create your own luck.
 
roguetrader
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:36 am

This crash was intensely studied as I believe it was the worst US air disaster up to that time. As usual, there was a chain of unlikely events that all came together at the same time that caused the TriStar to crash. For one thing, the local weather radar officer was on a coffee break or something, which left the next closest radar facility to monitor DFW, an airport which was to the other facility unfamiliar. Its been theorized that someone familiar with the airport would have been able to pinpoint the locally intense thundershower activity and divert traffic. Other aircraft had flown the same airspace minutes before reported no significant problems.

Delta has had three crashes in Dallas, which must make it the worst record of any city for them. I've heard the scenario around this crash is used in flight training simulators to this day. In Dallas at the time, its sounds macabre, but many of us drove out to see the wreckage, which was mainly a still standing upright tail section. Its a very weird thing to see a broken up airliner anywhere, but right on airport property, in full view of arriving and departing traffic - is unbelievable.

What about the poor guy who was just driving on the highway but nevertheless was killed in this airplane crash? This has to be one of the most unlikely ways to die.

Discovery Channel or TLC has done an excellent recreation of this crash using real data, its scary but fascinating.

regards

RogueTrader
 
b757300
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:55 am

This crash was intensely studied as I believe it was the worst US air disaster up to that time.

That distinction goes to American 191 at ORD in May, 1979.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
 
jerion
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:36 am

Discovery Channel or TLC has done an excellent recreation of this crash using real data, its scary but fascinating.

Survival in the Skies had a nice recreation.
I'd love TLC, DSC, or DSC/Wings to rebroadcast the series.

Jerion
L10/D9S/D10/M80/M88/732/733/734/735/73G/738/72S/757/762/763/320/319/318/ERJ
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:47 am

B757300, are you telling me that AA 191 and DL 191 both were involved in horrible crashes? Have most airline retired that number? (I am not superstitous, but i wouldn't fly it!)
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spacecadet
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:49 am

As usual, there was a chain of unlikely events that all came together at the same time that caused the TriStar to crash. For one thing, the local weather radar officer was on a coffee break or something, which left the next closest radar facility to monitor DFW, an airport which was to the other facility unfamiliar. Its been theorized that someone familiar with the airport would have been able to pinpoint the locally intense thundershower activity and divert traffic. Other aircraft had flown the same airspace minutes before reported no significant problems.

I think you might want to read the accident report: http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR86-05.pdf

The main causes were a combination of pilot error and a lack of proper procedures for Delta pilots in windshear situations. The pilots have windows - they can see bad weather, they also have weather instrumentation on board, and it is the pilot's responsibility to maintain the safety of the aircraft. Both pilots saw lightning directly in front of them on approach and elected to proceed into a thunderstorm that had moved over their approach course. Thunderstorms can be fast-moving - just because one airplane makes it through doesn't mean the next one will, and every pilot knows this.

What put this plane into the ground was a microburst; that's true. But it was the PIC's decision to fly into that thunderstorm on approach. Both pilots saw it and knew it was there, and every pilot in the world knows the possible effects of thunderstorms, whether or not there's a working wind-shear alert system at a particular airport (actually, there was a wind-shear alert system at Fort Worth, just not at the point where DL191 crashed). In fact, you tell me - you're a pilot, there's a thunderstorm in your approach path, and there's no windshear alert system in place over your approach. Does the fact that there's no alert system make you feel safer on the approach, or the opposite?

The pilots should have gone around, bottom line...

[Edited 2004-08-03 04:08:14]
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
freshlove1
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:55 am

3 crashes in DFW, I only remember 2 where was the 3rd??

DL 191 L1011
DL 1472 (not sure if # is right) 727
3rd????
 
roguetrader
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:35 pm

The 3rd Delta crash was at the predecessor to DFW, Greater Southwest International. Few people even remember it, but it was quite a big and nice airport, eventually it lost popularity to Love, though. Parts of DFW are built on top of it, and you can still see a few remains of the old airport, if you know where to look. This happened in about 1972 on a Delta DC-9 training flight, so 'only' the crew died. They apparently rolled quickly to one side and lost control while in the wake turbulence of an AA DC-10. This incident lead to the 'heavy' designation in ATC communications and the increased separation distances required behind large jets.

Spacecadet, I've studied this and other crashes at length, I even visited the crash site of this Delta loss. I think you're wanting a quick and direct answer for this crash. I just don't think things are black and white and that every crash is avoidable and largely blamed on 'pilot error.' As with almost all air crashes, this one only took place when several different things went wrong at the same time, any one of which alone, had it not happened, could have saved the plane. Today in simulator training, pilots can recover from this exact same data set that took place that day, but only because they know its coming in the simulation program they're using. Put the same weather in another simulation, and they still crash. It was an almost impossibly difficult situation, although this and the loss of a Pan Am 727 in New Orleans also in the early 80s greatly improved wind shear warning technology and implementation. Thank you for your thoughts.

kind regards,

RogueTrader

[Edited 2004-08-03 05:59:45]
 
DeltaAgent1
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:40 pm

Delta flight #1141 on Aug 31, 1988. I am a survivor of that crash, and
I work for Delta today.
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:47 pm

DeltaAgent1:

Very interesting that you were in a crash. I know how touchy the subject is, but would you be interested in sharing your story with us? I understand if you don't, but i think it'd be very interesting to see.
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DeltaAgent1
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:10 pm

Flairport, I don't mind answering questions about my experience that day, but I do have my limitations. Do know that on flight 1141 there were many heros that day, and we didn't all make it. Today, I know that each day I am here is "something extra".
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:20 pm

which is why I didn't just flat out say "tell me what happened"...I appreaciate your courtesy...

I, myself, know nothing about 1141, I'll look it up, though. If you would like to share anything about it, but not on the forum, please feel free to e-mail me!
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texdravid
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:50 pm

I remember that day...it was hot--about 103 F and in the early evening thunderstorms were building and then..the bad news appeared on the T.V.

It is interesting and a bit weird that AA and DL had flight 191's that crashed.

Furthermore, DL did not have a great record at DFW in the 1980's. This flight happened on 8/2/85, and in 1988, another DL flight crashed in clear skies on takeoff.

I'm sure all you DFW airliners.net fans remember these times!!
All of these new items I learned not from CNN or the internet (these were the 1980's) but from 'ol Tracy Rowlett and Channel 8 in Big D!!
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qantasguy
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:15 pm

This is a rather morbid fascination isn't it. I often get asked why I have so many books on airline disasters. I think we as a general public have still got so much faith in aircraft that when something does go wrong, we are still amazed. I for one am always searching for new accounts of old accidents, and would love to see more TV documentaries on them. May we not forget the human side to this fascination.
Airplanes Flown on..B-727-100, B-727-200, DC-9, F-27, B-707, B-717, B-737, B-747SP, B-747-100, B-747-200, B-747-300, B74
 
jsnww81
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:18 pm

Texdravid:

I definitely remember Tracy Rowlett breaking into programming in 1988 to announce the Delta 1141 crash. That was back when he had his giant 1980s 'helmet' hair.

I was only five years old when DL191 went down, so I don't remember it very well, but I remember the DL1141 crash pretty vividly. It was the first plane crash I followed in the news and on TV.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:19 am

>>>I remember that day...it was hot--about 103 F and in the early evening thunderstorms were building and then..the bad news appeared on the T.V.

Precisely my recollection, very hot, and very hazy as well. I was sleeping off my graveyard shift when a huge crack of thunder woke me up. I lived in Coppell at the time, just NE of DFW, and my backyard was about 1 mile east of the (then) 17L (now 17C) extended centerline. After the thunder woke me up, I went out into my back yard, and it was so hazy that you couldn't even see where the cell was.

DL191 was the first transport I can think of lost to a thunderstorm that was equipped with a (then) newer generation digital FDR, and as a result, they were able to "capture" more parameters, and that's what made more accurate flight simulator re-creations possible.

This info also helped Dr. T. Ted Fujita in his research on microbursts. Fujita had studied several other crashes, including Eastern 66 (727) at JFK, and more recent to the DL191 accident, Pan Am 759 (727) at MSY in 1982. In addition to a book he wrote on the EA/PA (and other) crashes, he would also write a book specifically on the DL191 crash, entitled, appropriately enough, "The DFW Microburst". It may interest some to know that the cell that knocked down DL191 wasn't some 50,000 or 60,000 foot tall monster, but was only topping out in the low 20,000 foot range. Fujita's book also has some color aerial photos of the L1011's main gear tire tracks from the first touchdown in the muddy field -north- of highway 114, tire tracks across 114 itself, plus other ground scars -south- of 114 on the way to the eventual impact with the two water tanks. The book's other graphics are excellent, and if you can find a copy on Amazon.com or elsewhere, it'd be an excellent addition to any aviation collection.

One of the beneficial things to come out of the DL191 accident was the development of Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR). Today, there is a TDWR antenna ball just north of I-635 between MacArthur and Beltline which many folks think is for DFW, but this one actually serves Love Field. DFW is served by a separate TDWR, and the antenna for it is sited on the south shore of Lake Lewisville, up around where highway 121 goes under the big railroad bridge NE of Lewisville proper.

Between TDWR, predictive windshear on the aircraft today, and Fujita's work which helped folks understand the mechanics of the microbursts better, the DL191-type of accident is alot less common.


[Edited 2004-08-03 18:22:01]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
transglobal2
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:42 am

Delta Agent,

How old were you at the time of crash?

Thx
 
brons2
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 2:03 am

You can download the CVR off of Airdisaster.com for DL191, it's an interesting listen.

You can hear the 2nd officer say in the background "there's lightning coming out of that one" and then the captain just kind mutter "uh-huh". You hear the 1000 ft callout, then the plane suddenly accelerates right before entering the microburst, then the captain says, "you're gonna lose it all a sudden........there it is". (the FO is flying). Then both the captain and second officer exclaim "push it up, way up", and then you hear the big RR's spool up, then back down a bit, then at max.

A couple of seconds later the captain exclaims "hang on to the son of a bitch" and the second officer asks "what's the Vref?" About that time the GPWS activates "whoop whoop pull up, whoop whoop pull up". You hear a lound bang which probably is the plane smacking down on Texas Highway 114, and then the landing gear alarm goes off for a few seconds, and then some expletives and the end.

Quite a ride, it really shows how quickly things can go south on you when you get behind a situation.
Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
 
richierich
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 2:06 am

B757300, are you telling me that AA 191 and DL 191 both were involved in horrible crashes? Have most airline retired that number? (I am not superstitous, but i wouldn't fly it!)

Here are some US airlines' Flight 191s I found:
JetBlue 191 JFK-LAS
United 191 IAD-LAX
Continental 191 MIA-IAH
AirTran 191 ATL-DCA
Northwest 191 LGA-MSP-SAN

There maybe others but clearly 191 is often used as a flight number.
None shall pass!!!!
 
arkhem
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:20 am

I believe that both AA and DL have retired 191
 
iflyatldl
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:22 am

AA and DL retired those flight numbers several years ago.
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
 
DeltaAgent1
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:03 am

TransGlobal2,
I was 18 years old at the time
 
A340Spotter
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:36 am

RogueTrader,

Very good information passed on in this forum.

To me, DL191 represents the biggest reason I got into the airline business. I have studied numerous reports, newspaper articles, video footage, etc. about 191 and it got me so interested in aviation and why planes crash that I became a flight dispatcher eventually.
I lived in NJ at the time of the accident, but had flown through DFW about a year prior (on Braniff II for those interested) and was deftly afraid of flying. By studying this accident in school, as well as others, I actually got over the fear...

Interesting subject here and one that brings out a lot of memories.
Jeffrey
"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
 
roguetrader
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:28 am

Jeffrey (A3402Spotter):

Thanks for your words! So many people try to look for a quik and easy answer - but this rarely is possible in the loss of a large commercial airliner. Its a personality trait that some people will want to assign blame to something identifiable, like wind shear or pilot error. This crash in Dallas is no more or less 'important' than any other crash, from some points of view.

However, this crash took place at a moment when technology was pretty good on both sides of a spectrum - we can look at great details of the flight instrumentation AND YET we can also see the conditions at DFW at the time. However, in the ealy 80s we had not yet coordinated the two views. In other words, certain situations at DFW combined with certain cockpit experiences (like those of the Delta TriStar) did not yet produce the perfect result, which in this case would have been 'go around'. Today, this same data set will usually mean a flight survives, but this doesn't mean too much to the families of the dead....

kind regards,

RogueTrader
 
DeltaAgent1
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:50 am

RogueTrader, I do agree with you, to a degree, however, it does mean something to the families of the dead, as there was something learned about this, and their
loved one's did not perish "totally" in vain. The solace of what was learned is something most families and survivors can hang on to. I do know!
 
Matt D
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:55 am

I remember that dreadful day. At first, I was annoyed that the news interrupted my "Gilligans Island" reruns, but then when I saw the story, my heart sank.

19 YEARS???

I remember it like it was yesterday.
 
JayDavis
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:02 am

I lived in Lubbock, TX at the time. CNN basically carried the feed from Channel 8 and we watched all the coverage.

What is interesting to me now is that anytime there are even the "slightest" hints of bad weather at DFW, the airlines operate so much more differently than they did back then, in my opinion. Whenever a storm is out of the south and the planes are taking off in that direction, as soon as they practically leave the ground at DFW, they are hard banking to the east or west, they do not fly their normal pattern of heading south towards Grand Prairie and Arlington and then heading east or west, they do it almost immediately.

I do remember that the Captain was sort of portrayed as a druggie almost or that he had some cold medicine in his system, etc.....which is kind of sad, because he died and couldn't defend himself.

I sure miss the DL L-1011's into DFW. Saw one with ATA yesterday leaving DFW and I'm sure it was packed full of servicemen back to Iraq.


Jay
 
Type-Rated
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:55 pm

I have a freind who was a non-reving DL F/A on 1141. She has since retired from DL when they offered a "package" back in the mid-90's.
From what she said about the crash was that it seemed like a normal take off except for the fact that the plane didn't seem to "catch" as it usually does on take off. They reached V1 and rotated, but the aircraft just stayed on the runway and ran off the end. She said it felt like a very hard landing. But it caught fire very quickly and this is where most of the fatalities came from. My freind to this day has back problems related to this crash.
One of the contributing factors was a F/A in the cockpit joking around with the crew while they were taxiing out. The Captain asked for the flaps to be set and the F/O never confirmed that action and the Captain proceded with the next checklist item. In fact, I believe this was the crash where someone in the cockpit said "we'd better leave something good on the CVR, in case we crash or something". This accident lead to sterile cockpits on the ground as well.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
OttoPylit
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Sun Aug 08, 2004 12:01 am

RogueTrader's story about a third Delta crash is correct. I myself just recently first read about it in the book "Leaving on a Jet Plane" published in 2002 by William Ippolito, a retired Delta captain, telling the experiences of his profession. Its a very good book and I highly recommend it.

A Delta DC-9 was on a training flight with 2 students and an FAA observant. This was before simulators and airlines had to use the actual equipment for training purposes. This was also before wake turbulence was a big issue, it was not really worried about. As the DC-9 came in behind the AA aircraft, the wake turbulence basically flipped the DC-9 onto her back and down into the ground. It was after this incident that wake turbulence began to be studied and after smoke and wind tunnel testing was completed, it was determined that aircraft should be seperated well enough so that wake turbulence would not be a factor.
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Sun Aug 08, 2004 2:21 am

Otto:

Actually, I was working on my commercial rating at the time of this accident and we were well taught the dangers of wake turbulence and how to avoid it. (1972). It was common for ATC to give you a clearance with "Caution: Wake Turbulence" attatched even back then.
Directly across the street from where this accident took place is the AA training center. Back in 1971 I visited this center and they had simulators for every type of aircraft they flew at the time... DC-10, 747, 727, 707, etc.
They had the fixed motion CPT trainers (Cockpit procedure trainers), as well as full motion simulators (though not as advanced as the ones we have today).
Even as early as 1970 EA had DC-9 simulators. This is where we did our DC-9 transition training.

Thanks for the reference to the book, I think I will run down to the bookstore this afternoon and see if I can find it. Sounds like a great read.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
OttoPylit
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Sun Aug 08, 2004 9:51 am

Well, maybe he(Ippolito) was just referring to Delta not having the simulators then. After all, during the early '70's, Delta basically still was just a small regional carrier, just arriving into the age of big jets like the 747, DC-10, and L-1011. He refers to Delta not getting full motion simulators until the late '70's and early '80's.

Thanks for the correction.

OttoPylit
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Sun Aug 08, 2004 11:33 am

DL was considered a major carrier even back in the early 60's. Maybe a DL expert can assist here.

I know they concentrated on North-South routings and lots of internal flights in the Southern US. They were a major carrier up and down the eastern seaboard as well as the upper midwest to anywhere in the south. ORD used to be a "focus" city for them back in the 60's and 70's. They stopped that when they created the CVG hub in the 80's. Some of their more popular flights were NYC-Anywhere Florida and ORD-Anywhere Florida. I also believe they were the launch customer for several different kind of aircraft including the DC-8 and 9 (IIRC). In the 60's if you were traveling ORD-MIA, you had a choice of EA,DL, and NW and that was it. Delta was the one with the DC-8-63's and "Royal Service" premium cabin service.

Delta was always considered pretty much an industry leader even back then. Therefore, I would be very surprised if they didn't have full motion simulators back in the early 70's.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
OttoPylit
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Mon Aug 09, 2004 12:31 am

Just by going from the book, when Ippolito was hired in 1963 by Delta, he took the job, although he yearned to fly for big international carriers like Pan AM and TWA. But he accepted a job with this smaller, only domestic airline and wondered if he should have held out until TWA or PAA were hiring. Throughout the book, until he had seniority to fly the L-10 and the new 767, he mentions that the airline used actual airplanes for their training flights, as the airline had yet to have simulators. He makes it clear how he is fortunate that the airline can use simulators, instead of putting yourself at risk in a new airplane to actually learn it, and having to arrange for planes to be used when they are not flying(i.e.-at night). He speaks of the safety of simulators after the DC-9 crash in Dallas and the DC-8(?) training crash in MSY, where some training pilots were having to land with engine outage, lost control, and crashed into a hotel.

He then also mentions how wonderful and advanced sims are as the first time he flew the 757 was also the first time he was ever on a 757. Once up on the flight deck, everything still looked like the 767, so he felt fine, as long as he didn't look past the cockpit door and into the single aisle cabin.
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: DL 191...19 Years Later

Mon Aug 09, 2004 3:48 am

It's all a matter of prespective. In the 1960's compared to PanAm and TWA with their overseas routes, DL and UA and AA were all "small domestic" airlines with no overseas routes. And they were all cosidered major air carriers of the time.

I think the point the author was trying to make was that he would have preferred to work for an international carrier, rather than a domestic. The use of the word "small" is irrelevent.

I still would find it very hard to believe that Delta didn't have full motion flight simulators until the advent of the 767. I think a Delta expert might want to help out here as I don't know the answer for sure.

Even with simulators, pilots always have to demonstrate proficiency in the real aircraft, hence the training flights. Simulators help by making the process cheaper and shorter.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!