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UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Wed Feb 28, 2001 7:52 am

On the thread about NW 757-300s going to Washington National, someone mentioned a UA DC10 low on fuel landing there a few years ago. Any more info? Is it dangerous to land a DC10 there? I presume the fuel emergency must have been pretty serious if a plane a LOT heavier than the usual for DCA (757-200) landed there instead of flying another 30 miles (a matter of minutes) to Dulles or BWI.

And while we're on the subject of airliners needing to land wherever they are at the time, I am still searching for decent info about the TACA 737 that lost both engines over New Orleans and landed on a riverbank, undamaged, on it's gear, and was flown away again and returned to service? I have seen one photo and all the rest I know is here in this post (and that the engines were shut down due to overheating flying through rain / hail).

Info please!
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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Wed Feb 28, 2001 7:58 am

There was a good post on the UA DC-10 in this forum a while back, I'll see if I can't dig it up.

It was something like this - it was bound for IAD (dulles) but after several missed approaches in bad wx, it elected to divert due to low fuel. However, BWI was closed or something?!?!?! don't quite remember, and it ended up having to land at DCA

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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington Nati

Wed Feb 28, 2001 7:58 am

I remeber talking with my dad about this. Apperently the DC-10 was very low on feul, and I belive it was in a holding pattern for IAD (but i'm not sure about that) and they could not wait any longer, so as a result, they diverted to the closest posible airport which was DCA. They came in very slow, and put that sucker down on the numbers. Full reverse, and full braking. The plane taxied in under its own power. The next day, there was an engineering pilot crew, which took the DC-10 to IAD. They put just enough fuel for the short flight. The engineering pilots love to fly planes in situations like that. That is their job. When someone asks them what they do for a living, they reply "I fly broken planes." Those guys could do anything.
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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Wed Feb 28, 2001 8:00 am

I found the thread that explains the DC-10 incident


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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Wed Feb 28, 2001 8:02 am

The only link I can find re TACA @ MSY is:


Tom in NO
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RE: Taca 737 Engines Out Incident

Wed Feb 28, 2001 8:41 am

The TACA 737 engines-out landing was quite an event around here (New Orleans) in May of 1988. He ran through a severe thunderstorm, lost both engines, tried to make a local GA airport, Lakefront Airport, couldn't reach it, observed a long levee (a raised area that parallels a body of water for flood control purposes) covered with grass, and landed on it.

I was out of town at the time (LAS at an airport management conference), but made it home the next day, bought the local paper (which I still have in a file at work), and took a ride in a Cessna 152 over the levee a couple of days later (my pictures of it were OK, but I didn't have a zoom lens). The 737 had been removed from the levee to another stretch of grass (longer and wider).

Boeing and TACA originally planned to tow the 737 off the levee and barge it to Lakefront, but Boeing figured they could fly it off the levee. So, after they repaired the engines off she flew from the levee.

The ATC written transcript on the incident was quite interesting (it's in my file at work, so I can't condense it now).

At the time, I believe it was (to that date) the only successful landing of an engines-out jetliner on something other than an airport.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Wed Feb 28, 2001 9:06 am

Whoa thats scary-there was something on MSNBC this weekend about plane crashes and the TACA crash was the only one I caught...that was pretty cool...I was gonna post on that eventually...
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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Wed Feb 28, 2001 10:59 pm

... drove my 737 to the levee/
but the levee was dry...
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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:17 am

This is silly...I went to that 'thread' and someone posted a supposedly excerpted newspaper 'story' dated 1998 that talked about how the plane had to land at 'Regan' National Airport.

Nice try.

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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:18 am

ILUV767 has it all right except the plane was originally bound for BWI. I wish I could have seen it going down river on final!

Does anyone know what happened to the flight crew?

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RE: ChrisNH

Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:45 am

what are you getting at? Your post doesn't make any sense. You mispelled Reagan and it was in fact renamed in Feb of 1998, so there is nothing inacurrate in that regard in the newspaper story

Check your facts next time otherwise you just end up looking like a prat

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Taca @ MSY; UAL DC10 @ DCA

Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:53 am



The TACA event was quite remarkable, as the photo shows. As I recall it, they changed one engine while the aircraft was still on the levee. Once they flew it off the levee back to MSY, the other engine was changed. The aircraft is now in service with SWA as N697SW.

As a result of the TACA event, the 737-300s (and -400s and -500s) had their engine spinners redesigned. The original spinners had a " > " shape, and it was discovered that that shallow angle allowed too much water into the core of the engine in heavy precip events. The spinners were redesigned and have a blunter " ) " shape, which deflects much more water into the fan/bypass section, and thus right out the back end.

Re: the UA DC-10 at DCA, the word that I had through the grapevine was that the flight was ORD-BWI and the dispatcher had designated MDT (Harrisburg PA) as the alternate, safely on the north side of an east west line of thunderstorms in the area. A cell was on the airport at BWI when they arrived, and rather than head for MDT, the crew (on their own, absent any communication with their dispatcher) elected to stay "on-line" and head for IAD. When weather and/or ATC delays at IAD caught them, they then decided to head for DCA, which wasn't an approved alternate per their Ops Specs for the DC-10. Had they diverted to anywhere but DCA, it would have been a non-event, since aircraft diversions for weather are not an uncommon occurence.
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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:56 am

If I'm not mistaken, aren't the DC-10, A300, A310, and 767 all cleared for operations into DCA under certain weight restrictions (probably mostly empty!). I think this was the subject of another thread and I was very surprised to hear it....
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RE: UA DC10 Low On Fuel Landing At Washington National

Thu Mar 01, 2001 2:18 am

Conrails, if you had seen it, you would have seen something much more spectacular than simply seeing a DC10 coming down the river.

The reports say that the plane was actually going UP the river, flew past the airport, and did a 180 at the USA Today building, came back, and landed on 18. (Now 19) Obviously, all the other flights were cleared out of the area for it.

It caused quite a stir in the area surrounding the Potomac River near the 14th street bridge.

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