>>>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.