CcrlR
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United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Tue May 08, 2012 10:32 pm

His health was failing since being diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year.


http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120508/news/705089775/

RIP Dennis
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rjm777ual
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Tue May 08, 2012 10:35 pm

Very sad to see heroes die...
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777fan
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 12:29 am

Quoting CcrlR (Thread starter):
His health was failing since being diagnosed with a brain tumor in January of this year.

Oh man, that's too bad; he saved more lives in an hour than most firefighters will save over an entire career. I wonder what (if) UA will do to acknowledge this loss.

Very well written article/obit, BTW. We should all be as fortunate to be remembered so fondly by so many.

777fan

[Edited 2012-05-08 17:33:16]
DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
 
GSPSPOT
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 12:33 am

RIP Captain Fitch. Your heroism is burned into our memories.
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ADent
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 12:36 am

That's a shame. I worked with his daughter at ORD that summer. Hard to believe that was 23 years ago.
 
warden145
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 1:03 am

Thank you for posting this...so sad to hear about it. Learning about the events in the UA 232 incident played a large role in my developing interest in aviation when I was young, to the point where the flight crew were my childhood heroes. My deepest condolences to Captain Fitch's family, and may he rest in peace.

[Edited 2012-05-08 18:09:04]
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solarflyer22
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 1:11 am

Yeah, I remember him from TV and what a great guy. He literally invented a new flying technique on the fly. I hope UA does something to honor his outstanding work that day.
 
747400sp
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 1:13 am

He was a good pilot, he save many of lives on board that wounded DC10 in 1989, I hope he will be well spoken about at his funeral. My thought and prayer go out to his family.
 
MCOflyer
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 1:16 am

My deepest condolences to Fitch's family. May he RIP.

KH
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AirlineBrat
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 3:53 am

When one contemplates the very essence of human life, Mr Finch represents the pure goodness of the human soul. May we all lean from his grace.
I'm leavin on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again....
 
airxliban
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 3:55 am

Rest in peace, Captain Fitch. Your heroic acts 23 year ago gave 185 people a new lease on life. They would not be here were it not for the four of you in the cockpit that fateful afternoon. You are an inspiration to all of us.
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b727fa
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 4:03 am

So sad...thanks for sharing.
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stratosphere
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 4:07 am

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 6):
Yeah, I remember him from TV and what a great guy. He literally invented a new flying technique on the fly. I hope UA does something to honor his outstanding work that day.

Actually he didn't that honor goes to AA Capt Bryce McCormick in Jun of 1972 who used asymetric thrust to control his DC-10 by using varying engine thrust after the bulk cargo door let go the cabin floor collapsed and took out some control cables. McCormick had practiced this in a simulator before his incident ever happened. I am sure Denny Fitch probably knew this being a DC-10 instructor..Still amazing to even pull it off. Kudos to him and prayers to the family.. However I have to put this in..Again mechanics get no glory but this man would never have been in that situation if UAL Maintenance mechanic inspectors would have caught that flaw in the C-1 disk that eventually migrated and caused it to fly apart.

[Edited 2012-05-08 21:18:16]
 
kaitak
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 4:08 am

What a nice article!

Did he go back to flying after the crash; the article suggests that he became a motivational speaker immediately afterwards.

Also, are the other pilots still alive; I know Capt. Haynes was quite close to retirement age at the time; what about FO Records and FE Dvorak?
 
warden145
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 5:02 am

Quoting kaitak (Reply 13):
Also, are the other pilots still alive; I know Capt. Haynes was quite close to retirement age at the time; what about FO Records and FE Dvorak?

Last I heard, Captain Haynes is still with us...but I don't know about now, and I don't know about the other two. I second the question...
ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
 
L-188
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 5:19 am

Wow.

Him yesterday and Arnie Scheder from Ice Pilots today. Both 69.
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747WanSui
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 5:25 am

RIP.

It was just a few weeks ago that I saw him in the latest Mayday episode, "Impossible Landing," describing flight 232. I wonder when he was interviewed for that episode - was it after his brain cancer diagnosis? Did he get a chance to see himself in that episode while he was still alive?

With respect to the other pilots, I have not been able to find any obituaries/death records for them as of yet.
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flashmeister
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 5:33 am

Capt. Al Haynes is still with us. No idea about Dvorak.
 
Chicagoflight
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 11:35 am

United should name a 777 or 747 in his honor .

I have e-mailed United Airlines through Unitedhub.com to do just that. I urge all a.netters to do the same.

[Edited 2012-05-09 04:40:58]
 
UAL777UK
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 11:52 am

Such a hero, RIP. I met him once on a flight and he was just so humbling, listening and meeting him was an honour.
 
VgnAtl747
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 12:05 pm

Quoting stratosphere (Reply 12):
However I have to put this in..Again mechanics get no glory but this man would never have been in that situation if UAL Maintenance mechanic inspectors would have caught that flaw in the C-1 disk that eventually migrated and caused it to fly apart.

Let's try and keep this thread positive and honor the memory of a skilled aviator instead of pointing fingers.
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combatshadow
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 12:45 pm

Wow, Arnie, Mr. Fitch and the Sukhoi Superjet and crew/pax missing... This has been quite a downer for the last 24 hours around here. My thoughts and prayers for all.

[Edited 2012-05-09 05:46:13]
Bob
 
BWI5OH
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 3:14 pm

RIP Captain Fitch. Thank you for your heroics that saved and gave 185 souls a new outlook on life and how short it can be. I too have e-mailed United and requested they do something to honor his heroism and dedication to human life and United Airlines.
"It's all fun and games until the cops show up"
 
PIA777
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 5:43 pm

Quoting kaitak (Reply 13):

Well here is a 2001 commercial for United and he is part of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VywUQz-DtHs

PIA777
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N766UA
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 6:03 pm

What awful news. Capt. Fitch was a hero and a professional. My deepest sympathies for his family and friends, but also for the industry as a whole. He was an enormous asset to our profession and was highly revered. I know he'll be missed by many, regardless of whether or not they knew him personally.
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Yflyer
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 6:25 pm

Quoting 747WanSui (Reply 16):
It was just a few weeks ago that I saw him in the latest Mayday episode, "Impossible Landing," describing flight 232. I wonder when he was interviewed for that episode - was it after his brain cancer diagnosis? Did he get a chance to see himself in that episode while he was still alive?

I haven't seen that episode, but it's not uncommon for documentaries to use footage of old interviews rather than doing their own. So it's possible that Mayday simply recycled an interview he did for something like Seconds From Disaster, which did an episode about United 232 years ago.
 
GCPET
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 6:37 pm

RIP Captain Fitch. My condolences are with his friends and family.

GCPET
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BC77008
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 7:00 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 6):
I hope UA does something to honor his outstanding work that day.

No mention of it on UA's intranet site. Seemingly too busy with campaign to 'save' IAH and are apparently tickled pink about being in the Fortune 100 for the first time.
"He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought 'Well isn't this nice...'"
 
tjf4375
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 7:01 pm

Really sad news, I remember him from Black Box and numerous other documentaries, he always came across as a really genuine nice guy. Thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time, but I hope they will take comfort from his enormous courage, skill and bravery that day in 1989.
 
ferengi80
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 7:24 pm

God Bless, Denny. You were a true hero, a word that is used far too readily these days.

Rest in Peace.
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NDiesel
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 7:38 pm

Condolences to the family - a lot of people are alive today thanks to Fitch. A true hero indeed, alongside the rest of the crew onboard UA232. R.I.P.
Delta MD-11 JFK-CDG - Upon sunrise I fell in love with Aviation
 
A300 American
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 8:12 pm

Extremely sad, not a blip on the major media outlets. Pathetic!!!! A true hero

RIP Captain Fitch!

 
 
steeler83
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 8:20 pm

Wow... My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

He was a good man!
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Chicagoflight
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 8:56 pm

Quoting A300 American (Reply 31):
Extremely sad, not a blip on the major media outlets. Pathetic!!!! A true hero

Was front page on the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Daily Herald websites.
 
thegoldenargosy
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 9:35 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 27):
No mention of it on UA's intranet site. Seemingly too busy with campaign to 'save' IAH and are apparently tickled pink about being in the Fortune 100 for the first time.

It's really a shame and disrespectful to his family and former coworkers that UA did not thing to mark his death. One of the FA's from UA232, Susan White Calender is still flying and I'm sure she's not the only still flying for UA. It's a slap in the face to them.
 
1stfl94
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 9:53 pm

RIP to a true hero, thoughts with his family and colleagues.
 
skycub
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 10:57 pm

May he rest in peace.

I have gone through initial inflight training at three different airlines. At all three, the story of UA232 has been discussed as the epitome of Crew Resource Management.

I still remember when this happened. Back before the internet, back before 400 channels of cable TV.... watching network television and the television show I was watching being interrupted for "breaking news."

It is hard to believe that was almost 25 years ago.

A question, if I may....

I do recall that one of the flight attendants was killed in the accident but the other 10 working crew members survived. Does anyone from United know how many of those crew members are still flying or how many went back to work?

As a flight attendant for a major US carrier.... I must commend the actions of all of the crew members aboard flight 232.

I also recall that, at the time, the video images of that DC-10 crash-landing in Sioux City was supposedly the most watched image ever on network television in the United States.

Every crew member on that flight, including Mr. Fitch displayed incredible and heroic actions that day. From the pilots who managed to get the crippled plane to the airport, to the flight attendants who prepared and kept calm a plane-full of nearly 300 people for what must have seemed to be an eternity as they descended into Sioux City to the air traffic controller who stayed calm while talking to the crew through what could have only been an incredibly stressful situation...

The one thing I remember about the accident was Captain Haynes flying a crippled jetliner and keeping it airborne despite all the odds telling the air traffic controller that the runway he wanted to try to land on was the one that would keep the plane furthest from the populated areas of the city.

The crew of UA232, including Mr. Fitch, is the crew I would be honored to fly with any day.

May he rest in peace.
My opinions are my own. They are not representative of my employer, my union or my co-workers. They are all mine.
 
skycub
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 11:09 pm

Quoting Chicagoflight (Reply 18):
United should name a 777 or 747 in his honor .

I have e-mailed United Airlines through Unitedhub.com to do just that. I urge all a.netters to do the same.

I agree with you whole-heartedly and have done so. Thank you for the suggestion. I encourage other anetters to do the same.
My opinions are my own. They are not representative of my employer, my union or my co-workers. They are all mine.
 
boeing772lrfan
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Wed May 09, 2012 11:28 pm

Thank you so much for the suggestion--I have just sent them a message. Hopefully, with enough support, they will be inclined to honor him in this way. After all, his love for aviation just shone through all his interviews.

Godspeed and God bless, Captain Fitch--Thank you so much for being an inspiration to the aviation community and to enthusiasts. I wish I could have met him in person, but I felt his impact nonetheless, through the news stories and documentary interviews.

Quoting Chicagoflight (Reply 18):
I have e-mailed United Airlines through Unitedhub.com to do just that. I urge all a.netters to do the same.


[Edited 2012-05-09 16:29:17]
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BreninTW
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 12:15 am

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 34):
Susan White Calender is still flying and I'm sure she's not the only still flying for UA. It's a slap in the face to them.

The OBIT the OP linked to states that Ms. Callender was the one who broke the news to people at UA.

Quote:
Callender, who has since become a family friend, spread the news of Fitch's death to United staff at a training event Tuesday. "It was a hard day of crying," she said. "Everyone loved Denny; he was larger than life. And his laugh ... he had a deep hearty laugh."
 
contrails
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 12:30 am

This is sad news.

The images of UA 232 cartwheeling on the runway are etched into my memory, as I am sure they are in the memories of all those who watched it on TV that day.

There are a lot of people who are alive today because of him. He should be remembered.
Flying Colors Forever!
 
jetstar
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 12:39 am

I had the privilege of attending one of Capt. Fiitch’s presentations on the events of UA 232. This was at a gathering of airport operators and flight departments who hold a monthly dinner meeting at a local country club, which are sponsored each month by an aviation company.

I would say there were about 200 people in attendance, which is much more than the regular monthly meetings. Normally at these meeting the sponsoring company would put on a sales type presentation or status reports of new airplanes, but at this meeting the sponsoring company’s entire presentation time was turned over to Capt. Fitch.

He had a video which incorporated all the various agencies radio communications broadcasts, both over the air and internally, the FAA Air Traffic Control, the airport tower and the responding Fire and Ambulance departments. These broadcasts were in the order by time and accompanied by what ever video footage was available.

Normally at these meetings during a sales presentation, some people are talking quietly at the dinner table or head out to the bar, but during his presentation, and I would say it lasted just over an hour nobody said anything and nobody left their table, even to go to the bathroom, that’s how absorbing his presentation was.

During the presentation he would stop the video and interject his comments, he said that once they figured out how to control the airplane using just the engines, they got a little more confident and thought they would be able to at least get the airplane on the ground in at best a survivable condition, basically a controlled crash.

After the presentation Capt. Fitch described in his own words what was going in the cockpit while in flight. Also what was amazing is when he showed a slide of the cockpit section that had broken completely off and was over 100 feet from the main wreckage in the corn field. It was impossible to tell it was the cockpit as it was compressed to about waist high, and the rescuers had no idea that this was the cockpit with 4 crewmembers still alive in it and it took the rescuers 35 minutes to come over to check out this big piece of mangled wreckage and were surprised to hear voices calling for help.

Another factor is in keeping the loss of life down was that Saturday was a weekend drill day for the Iowa Air National Guard unit based at Sioux City airport and their fire department was deployed as well with their specialized fire apparatus to help fight the fire, and other guardsmen also responded to assist with the rescues and aided the survivors.

One thing I remember him saying was when he talked to UA’s maintenance department afterwards, he found out that because there was absolutely no procedure to handle this type of emergency, they could not help out in any way and because of it they did not want to communicate with the airplane because they felt they were talking to soon to be dead pilots.

The most stirring part was at the end of the presentation when he talked about the people who died and he got very emotional, he said afterward that every time he gives his presentation, when he gets to this point he cannot help but to think that did he do his best to try to save everyone, and he thinks back to that day and gets very emotional. Capt. Fitch expressed his faith in God and felt the God helped him and his fellow crew members survive along with a majority of the passengers.

At the end he got a standing ovation for the attendees and I was able to go up to him and shake his hand and thank him.

Capt. Fitch surely is an aviation hero, while 111 passengers lost their lives that day, 185 other passengers lived thanks to Capt. Fitch, Capt. Haynes, First Officer Records and Second Officer Dvorak.

RIP Capt Fitch.

JetStar
 
skycub
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 1:20 am

I wanted to add, for anyone interested, there is an excellent book I read many years ago written by one of the survivors of UA232 titled: "Chosen to Live."

It is a very good read and having just checked Amazon.com it is available at a very reasonable price.

I recall the author of the book writing in detail about what took place in the cabin on UA232 and his life afterwards.

He was actually one of the many passengers, thanks to the heroic actions of the crew, that simply walked away from the wreckage. I remember him writing that a few days after the crash, he went to the doctor because he was having problems breathing and the doctor asked him if he had been exposed to any smoke in the previous few days. He surprised the doctor by answering: "I was on the plane that crashed in Iowa a couple days ago."

Another part of the book I specifically recall, is the author assuring a young child on the plane that everything was going to be okay and the author never finding out what became of that child.

Finally, I recall from the book.... just as a piece of trivia.... is that UA 232 was not supposed to have a completely full load of 274 passengers onboard that day. However, the previous United flight from Denver to Chicago had cancelled and many of the passengers were rebooked on flight 232. The author, Jerry Schemmel, was among those from the previous flight who was cleared as a standby passenger at the last minute on flight 232 and considered himself lucky, at the time, to be accommodated on flight 232.
My opinions are my own. They are not representative of my employer, my union or my co-workers. They are all mine.
 
747buff
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 3:39 am

Quoting SkyCub (Reply 42):

Finally, I recall from the book.... just as a piece of trivia.... is that UA 232 was not supposed to have a completely full load of 274 passengers onboard that day. However, the previous United flight from Denver to Chicago had cancelled and many of the passengers were rebooked on flight 232. The author, Jerry Schemmel, was among those from the previous flight who was cleared as a standby passenger at the last minute on flight 232 and considered himself lucky, at the time, to be accommodated on flight 232.

Unfortunately, his best friend/business partner was also travelling with him and did not survive. And Capt. Fitch was originally seated in first class where virtually everyone was either killed on impact or very critically injured.
At Eastern, we earn our wings every day!
 
bralo20
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 6:38 am

It seems that the news about Capt. Dennis Fitch has also arrived the Belgian media, the story about his dead is featured in one of the newspapers.

May he rest in peace...
 
ferengi80
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Thu May 10, 2012 12:34 pm

Quoting kaitak (Reply 13):
Did he go back to flying after the crash

Yes, he did. He was Captain on the 777 until he retired.

Quoting kaitak (Reply 13):
Also, are the other pilots still alive

Yes, all three are still with us. Al Haynes and Bill Records returned to flying after the accident, Records flying the 744 Transpacific routes. Dudley Dvorak became a mechanic in Chicago.
AF1981 LHR-CDG A380-800 10 July 2010 / AF1980 CDG-LHR A380-800 11 July 2010
 
TrijetsRMissed
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Sat May 12, 2012 8:21 pm

I would encourage our local a.netters of the greater Chicago area to attend Denny's wake tomorrow. I certainly will. Per the OP's article: Visitation is from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at Yurs Funeral Home, 405 Main St., St. Charles.

RIP Denny. A true hero in every sense of the word.

http://yursfuneralhomes.com/view_service.php?ID=1026
There's nothing quite like a trijet.
 
geedo
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Sat May 12, 2012 10:28 pm

We can all be thankful that this skilled and very cool under fire pilot was at the right place and time to get those people back on the ground. I remember the appearance he made on a documentary where he shared his surviver's guilt. What a great man and I hope he gets his heroe's sendoff.
I've got Titanic hopes and they aren't sinking
 
September11
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RE: United 232 Pilot Dennis Fitch Dies

Sun May 13, 2012 12:30 am

I loaned a book about United 232 from the library and read it last week. A great book with pictures taken at the crash scene as well as pictures of survivors and their family members. I am sorry to hear the passing of this man.

[Edited 2012-05-12 17:31:25]
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