Dr.DTW
Topic Author
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu May 25, 2000 1:13 pm

Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:42 pm

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
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:38 pm

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?
 
cpharris5514
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 3:36 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:58 pm

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 avatar
litz
Posts: 1918
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 6:01 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:45 pm

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
 
N702ML
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:00 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:08 pm

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?)
The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Southwest Airlines.
 
N702ML
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:00 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:21 pm

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.
The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Southwest Airlines.
 
DAYflyer
Posts: 3546
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:35 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:33 pm

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
 
jasond
Posts: 648
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:23 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:49 pm

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.
 
iowa744fan
Posts: 906
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 1:31 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:54 pm

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).
 
quickmover
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 4:28 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:55 pm

What was the cause of the crash?
 
Junction
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:50 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:04 am

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.
 
N702ML
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:00 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:25 am

Yes....it was operating DTW-PHX-SNA.
The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Southwest Airlines.
 
Junction
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:50 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:25 am

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.
 
barney captain
Posts: 1452
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 5:47 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:39 am

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
Southeast Of Disorder
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:41 am

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
 
quickmover
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 4:28 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:44 am

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.
 
ASFlyer
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:25 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:50 am

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.
 
N702ML
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:00 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:51 am

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.
The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Southwest Airlines.
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:59 am

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!
 
quickmover
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 4:28 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:12 am

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?
 
cpharris5514
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 3:36 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:19 am

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
 
Bridogger6
Posts: 665
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:21 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:28 am

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!
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:34 am

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!
 
Junction
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:50 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:37 am

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.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © AirNikon

 
flydreamliner
Posts: 1928
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:05 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:49 am

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"
 
Cadet57
Posts: 7174
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:02 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:50 am

Quoting Dr.DTW (Thread starter):
August 16, 1987

6 days before I was born...

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 22):
I'm no pilot

Then dont make statements like:

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 22):
but I think they could have,
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
isitsafenow
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 9:22 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:54 am

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 year at this time in a Detroit Newspaper.

The audible warning "flaps...flaps" was inop. No one knows why.
The flaps were never set let alone an inproper position.
The crew as distracted on the ground by a gate agent and F A two different
times while going through checks still at the gate. This was brought out in
the voice recorder.

The plane behind them on T O noticed no flaps but did not relay the message to the crew.
The crew relialized on taxi out they would not make SNA because of the curfew.
This convesation was on the voice recorder....One said" we won't make the
Orange tonight.." and the other replyed sometime like...your right...

The flight orginated at MBS. The inbound was NW flight 750 MSP-DTW-MBS.
The full report has been published a little over one year after the accident.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
dtw9
Posts: 898
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 10:09 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:55 am

heres a link to the Northwest 255 memorial page http://www.flight255memorial.com/
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:12 am

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 25):
Then dont make statements like:

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 the facts, go read the NTSB report. It's not difficult, and I have read it, so I'm operating from a position of knowledge in that respect. I doubt you have. But this is a public forum for civil aviation - opinions are expressed here, so you'd better get used to it.

If you're a pilot and you have a correction, feel free to make it. But you're not and you don't, so don't tell people what they can and can't say.

Freakin' kids these days...

[Edited 2006-08-16 19:18:19]
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
dkf747
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:23 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:31 am

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 Middlebelt was blocked off. I could see it, but it was kinda far down the road. I'll never forget that night.
 
Tan Flyr
Posts: 1579
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2000 11:07 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:34 am

Quoting Iowa744fan (Reply 8):
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.



Quoting Cpharris5514 (Reply 20):
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.

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 almost anything else. If you casually read Flying magazine or other aviation publications, stories about accidents, close calls etc usually have this (GGTI) as a primary or a contributing factor.

That being said, hindsight is 20/20 and we are all guilty of that also... but it is a reminder that we all should remember. Better late than never.

May they all have rest in peace and we pray that the families have comfort during this annual reminder.
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:41 am

Here's a summary of the events from Wikipedia:

Northwest Airlines Flight 255 was a flight scheduled to fly from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan near Detroit to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, with an intermediate stop at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The flight crashed after takeoff in Detroit, on August 16, 1987, killing all of the crew and passengers except for a 4-year-old girl, who was seriously injured, according to a report by the FAA's Office of Aviation Research.

The aircraft was a twin-engine McDonnell Douglas MD-82 with FAA tail number N312RC. Northwest 255 was carrying 149 passengers and 6 crew. During the takeoff phase, the wings of Northwest 255 began to roll to the left and to the right after climbing only 50 ft. The left wing then struck the light poles and the roof of a building that was used by a rental car agency. The MD-82 crashed, killing all aboard the plane except for 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan of Tempe, Arizona. Two motorists on a nearby highway (I-94 which is adjacent to the airport) were also killed.

The NTSB investigation indicated that the flaps were in the up position and the slats were in the retract position, opposite their normal position for takeoff. The cockpit recorder showed that the taxi checklist was not recited by the pilots; the reason for this is unknown to this day. In addition, the airplane takeoff warning system was not functioning; it would have warned the pilots that the flaps and slats were not working.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
NW727251ADV
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 5:55 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:14 am





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 was FOUR years old at the time, not a toddler. It is a popular myth that her mother, Paula Cichan, saved young Cecelia's life by wrapping herself around the seat that her daughter occupied, protecting Cecelia from the post-crash fire. However, Cecelia was located by rescue workers in her seat—several feet away from her mother's body. Paula Cichan died in the crash, along with Cecelia's father, Michael Cichan, and her 6-year-old brother, David Cichan.

Cecelia Cichan was sent to live with relatives in Birmingham, Alabama, in the aftermath of the crash, who took precautions to ensure that she was not constantly hounded by the media. She is now a devout Catholic, and she graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the spring of 2006 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She avoids reporters and does not give interviews. As a result, little else is known about her life since the crash.

As mentioned, the crash of the McDonnell-Douglas MD-82 was attributed to pilot error as they failed to set the flaps for take-off configuration which was probably done in haste as the pilots were in a hurry to get the plane into the air to beat the noise abatement curfew at John Wayne/Orange County Airport in California, their final destination.
NWA   N O R T H W E S T A I R L I N E S
 
BHMNONREV
Posts: 1209
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:17 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:14 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 31):
killing all aboard the plane except for 4-year-old Cecelia Cichan of Tempe, Arizona.

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 relative anonimity. As it should have been....

My heart still goes out to her..
 
Falcon84
Posts: 13775
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 11:52 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:31 am

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 and saw it on a special newscast from one of the networks.

It was a real jolt, since I had just joined the industry, and I've never forgotten that crash.

Still amazing that one person survived. Just amazing.
Work Right, Fly Hard
 
thegooddoctor
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:12 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 4:57 am

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 placed in Downtown Phoenix near Symphony Hall. I thought this was strange since about 110 of the 156 passengers on board were from the Phoenix Metro area.
The GoodDoctor
 
Junction
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:50 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:14 am

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 was hit, and the cars themselves from the roadway. It looks like this is data from the county health department, but I can't tell for sure.


I pulled this link, because even though there was some interesting info, there was also some horrible pics I didn't notice before.
Sorry

[Edited 2006-08-16 22:17:59]

[Edited 2006-08-16 22:20:34]

[Edited 2006-08-16 22:30:14]
 
SRT75
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:42 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:20 am

Quoting NW727251ADV (Reply 32):
It is a popular myth that her mother, Paula Cichan, saved young Cecelia's life by wrapping herself around the seat that her daughter occupied, protecting Cecelia from the post-crash fire.

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 recall that the issue at the time were improperly set slats (leading edge), not flaps (trailing edge).

I also seem to recall a bit of tension from NW employees when it was announced that the cause was pilot error. If I recall correctly, the pilots thought the announcement was premature and an effort by the airline and McDD to divert attention from any mechanical or maintenance issue.
 
dtw9
Posts: 898
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 10:09 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:25 am

I had a link up but pulled it . too graphic

[Edited 2006-08-16 22:32:46]
 
NW727251ADV
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 5:55 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:29 am

Quoting Junction (Reply 36):
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 was hit, and the cars themselves from the roadway. It looks like this is data from the county health department, but I can't tell for sure.


I pulled this link, because even though there was some interesting info, there was also some horrible pics I didn't notice beofer.
Sorry

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 without the link you are not providing any useful information.

Its like me saying, hey everyone. I've figured out the key for eternal life but I can't tell you guys because its ultra-sensative info. It would be like, why mention it in the first place then???
NWA   N O R T H W E S T A I R L I N E S
 
Junction
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:50 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:36 am

Quoting NW727251ADV (Reply 39):
If someone my be offended by the content then you could put a disclaimer but without the link you are not providing any useful information.

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 ok to post a link like that? I am very tolerant, and still just about fell out of my chair. Let me see how people react to the link after mine, or I can e-mail it to anyone who contacts me directly and wants it.
 
dtw9
Posts: 898
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 10:09 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:48 am

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 originally supposed to takeoff from the 21's, but as a weather front had just gone through it was told to taxi to 3C instead. One wonders if it had taken off to the southwest,would the outcome have been the same.
 
planespotting
Posts: 3026
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:54 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:58 am

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 department hosts the Dodds Memorial Golf Outing, a fundraising event dedicated in his memory.
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
richierich
Posts: 3307
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:19 am

Big version: Width: 920 Height: 801 File size: 73kb


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 crash pictures.
I believe the memorial can be seen as well, tucked up between the on-ramp and the Interstate.

Wow - can't believe it has been 19 years. Its strange how you don't hear about this crash too often these days.

RIP to all the victims and I hope the survivor is dealing with this in her own special way today. I'm sure she is aware of this crash every August 16th. She has been through more than most of us ever will and I respect her right to have a private life.

One sad, final anecdote. I was reading about this crash today on a different website and one thing caught my attention. In 1987, this crash was the second worst in the USA at that time (following AA crash at ORD in 1979). It is currently the 7th worst crash - meaning there have been five worse crashes in the 19 years since this tragedy. Something to think about....
None shall pass!!!!
 
ChrisI1024
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:21 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:24 am

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. This link leads to a presentation about a plane crash and there are a few photos of corpses. If seeing these sorts of photos might upset you, don't click on the above link. Needless to say, if you're at work you probably don't want to click the link.

This link goes to Ogrish.com which hosts some pretty revolting stuff, so you might not want to click around the site.
 
andrewuber
Posts: 2142
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 10:45 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:30 am

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 protect the site from looters and other "unauthorized" individuals. While we were never within sight of the wreck, I do remember how sad it was being there. Our unit covered Middlebelt Road on both sides of the crash site.

Modern cockpits have takeoff warnings and all kinds of alarms and lights if the aircraft is not properly configured for takeoff (as NW255 wasn't). I wonder if any of this technology is a result of NW255.

RIP NW 255.

Drew
I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
 
aviateur
Posts: 562
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:25 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:54 am

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-worst crash in U.S. history, is it not (if we exclude September 11th, which, if you ask me, hardly qualifies as an air crash per se)?

Meanwhile, however, I'm not sure I would describe NW's present fleet of DC-9s as "massive," as the poster does above.

PS

www.askthepilot.com
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
 
Amazonphil
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:37 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:56 am

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 19):
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?

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 METRO AIRPORT. WITNESSES SAID NW255 ROTATED FOR TAKEOFF 1200-1500 FT FROM THE END AND LIFTED OFF NR THE END OF THE 8500 FT RWY. AFTER LIFTOFF, THE WINGS ROCKED LT AND RT AND THE ACFT FAILED TO CLIMB NORMALLY. 18 FEET OF THE LT WING SEPARATED WHEN THE WING CONTACTED A LIGHT POLE 2760 FT BEYOND THE RWY END. THE ACFT ROLLED STEEPLY TO THE LEFT AND STRUCK POLES, A BLDG, AND AUTOMOBILES BEFORE CRASHING INTO A RAILROAD EMBANKMENT. THE ACFT WAS DESTROYED. THE EVIDENCE INDICATED THAT THE FLAPS AND SLATS WERE IN THE UP/RETRACT POSITION AND HAD NOT BEEN DEPLOYED FOR TKOF. NEITHER PLT RECITED THE ITEMS OF THE TAXI CKLIST. STALL WARNINGS WERE ANNUNCIATED BUT AN AURAL TKOF WARNING WAS NOT ANNUNCIATED BY THE CENTRAL AURAL WARNING SYSTEM (CAWS). AND Irtysh-Avia (Kazakhstan)">IT WAS CONFIRMED THAT 28 VOLT DC PWR WAS NOT PROVIDED TO THE CAWS PWR SUPPLY #2. THE REASON FOR THE LOSS OF ELECTRICAL PWR WAS TRACED TO A CIRCUIT BRKR BUT NO MALF OF THE CB WAS FND. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, SEE NTSB/AAR-88/05.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

CHECKLIST..NOT PERFORMED..PILOT IN COMMAND
LOWERING OF FLAPS..NOT PERFORMED..COPILOT/SECOND PILOT
LOWERING OF SLATS..NOT PERFORMED..COPILOT/SECOND PILOT
If it ain't Boeing, I ain't goeing!
 
Amazonphil
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:37 pm

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:15 am

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 for takeoff

amazonphil
If it ain't Boeing, I ain't goeing!
 
luv2fly
Posts: 11056
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:57 am

RE: Northwest 255, 19 Years Ago Today

Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:17 am

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. And the day was very hot and thunder storms on and off through out the day.
You can cut the irony with a knife

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos