JoePatroni707
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AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sat May 25, 2013 5:42 pm

Today marks the 34th anniversary of the crash of AA191 in Chicago. I remember reading that after the pilots noticed they hand an "engine failure" of the number one engine, they reduced speed to V2. This along with the leading edge slats retracting, caused the left wing to stall and ultimately the crash.

The pilots has no way of knowing the engine had actually ripped off the wing, had they known all the details and they increased speed to keep the left wing from stalling, could they have flown it out, and come back and made a safe landing?

RIP to all those lost May 25, 1979
 
nutsaboutplanes
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sat May 25, 2013 5:48 pm

My understanding is that investigators believe that the aircraft could have been saved had speed been maintained to compensate for the loss of lift that occurred due to un commanded slat retraction. Procedures were adjusted by AA after the findings of the investigation were released to maintain speed as opposed to reduce. I read the actual NTSB report several years ago and if memory serves, procedures at the time instructed pilots to reduce speed.

Even if the aircraft could have been saved, the pilots were completely blind to the fact that they had actually experienced a structural failure and not just a loss of thrust. The electrical systems which included slat disagree indication and stall warning system were damaged when the engine and pylon departed the aircraft and were not operable when they would have benefited the pilots.

There was so much working against the pilots, they were suffering from a lack of information and they did not have the benefit of knowing what they needed to know to save the aircraft.

[Edited 2013-05-25 11:27:46]
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EMBQA
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sat May 25, 2013 6:22 pm

The procedures at the time was to reduce speed. I once watched a program on the accident that had they increased speed they could have flown out of it. The conditions were put into a simulator and most of the crews were able to fly out of it. This accident had major impact to the stall warning system we use today.

[Edited 2013-05-25 11:23:34]
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
SPREE34
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sat May 25, 2013 6:24 pm

I would say no. The aircraft was left in an asymetrical condition. No slats left side, slats deployed right side. If sufficient airspeed could have been attained, overcoming the higher lift on the right side whilst trouble shooting may have been impossible. I'm not familiar enough with the DC-10 HYDs to know, but wonder would the system bleed out enough for the right side to retract due to aerodynamic pressure. ie: are the left and right slat hydraulics common or separate?
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
802flyguy
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sat May 25, 2013 6:39 pm

As many readers here are likely aware, Captain Lux and his crew followed standard engine out procedure. They had no way of knowing about the slat retraction and loss of lift on the left wing. Had they known, it is most likely that they would have traded altitude for the airspeed the aircraft needed.

Whether MDC's decision to route the hydraulic lines at the leading edge of the wing (instead of the trailing edge, like on the L1011) was a bad one is for another discussion. As is AA engine change procedure. As in most accidents, there was not a single cause (the engine separation) bit a series of events.

From the NTSB report: PROBABLE CAUSE: "The asymmetrical stall and the ensuing roll of the aircraft because of the uncommanded retraction of the left wing outboard leading edge slats and the loss of stall warning and slat disagreement indication systems resulting from maintenance-induced damage leading to the separation of the no.1 engine and pylon assembly procedures which led to failure of the pylon structure.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


On a personal note: I still remember getting home from high school and turning on the CBS radio news to hear "...we'll be recovering human remains all day" and the chill I felt even before knowing that it was an air crash. As a kid, I had a special affection for the DC-10; it was the first wide body type I had ridden on and I had felt wonder at seeing the sheer size of the cabin. After the AA crash, I did research on the AA and THY DC-10 disasters (in that pre internet era) and wrote a term paper for my civics class about the design problems of the type and the role of FAA oversight. My teacher told me the paper had scared him!

Was that really 34 years ago?
 
JoePatroni707
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sat May 25, 2013 6:57 pm

Quoting 802flyguy (Reply 4):
Was that really 34 years ago?

Yup..did I make you feel old?
 
CairnterriAIR
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sun May 26, 2013 1:06 pm

Like what was said above...there were so many things working against the pilots in such a short period of time, once the engine separated their fate was sealed. Had they known exactly what was going on out on the leading edge of the wing, then perhaps they could have managed to build up the needed airspeed. BUT...one other factor was taking place...fuel was spilling out of the wing, that mixed with severed lines and possible electric arcing, had they regained control and reached sufficient altitude, a large explosion could have taken the plane down. Such a case took place in 1970 with an Air Canada DC-8 that made a hard landing which resulted in an engine separating. The crew aborted the landing but was unaware of the extent of the damage. The aircraft's wing exploded during the go-around resulting in a crash.
 
stratosphere
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Sun May 26, 2013 9:33 pm

It's hard to say but as in most crashes the perfect storm chain of events came together to make it happen. That crash did bring about changes in design like the stall warning system and hydraulic changes. Plus AA's pilot training for engine out procedures were changed As to the question could they have saved it? Who knows they didn't have a whole lot of altitude to play with but it's quite possible they could have had they known what was going on and kept their speed up instead of letting their excess speed bleed off. It was one of many accidents and incidents the revelaled vulnerable areas of the DC-10.
 
Slcpilot
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 12:04 am

This accident is probably one of very few where the proper procedures and actions by the crew doomed the aircraft. Off the top of my head I can't think of any others.

Can you?

Fly Safe,

SLCPilot
I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
 
flyingturtle
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 12:42 am

The Überlingen disaster, where the one crew followed the TCAS RA, while the other one followed the operations manual, which stated that TCAS is only an aid, while ATC's request must be followed.


David

[Edited 2013-05-26 18:37:13]

[Edited 2013-05-26 18:52:12]
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 1:42 am

I don't think that's what he means. I think he means where did the crew following the proper procedures directly lead to a crash. (Not where it was a mtc fault with no crew input like TWA800)

The only one I can think of that might be close is Concorde out of CDG. IIRC the BEA report stated that if they had rejected they might have had a chance for some of the people to survive going off the end of the runway. it certainly would have saved the people on the ground.
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flyingturtle
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 2:23 am

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 10):
I don't think that's what he means. I think he means where did the crew following the proper procedures directly lead to a crash. (Not where it was a mtc fault with no crew input like TWA800)

Yeah, I first misunderstood his posting, and so I changed it. TWA800 and the likes could not have been survived with either correct or uncorrect decisions...

The Concorde is a good example. We had a thread once about a turboprop that took off, and after the airspeed was deemed unreliable (or so I remember), they landed straight ahead on the very same runway. Nothing happened, though.

Perhaps one could add some of the ATC-caused accidents to the list. IMHO, following ATC orders is always following proper procedures... there, the Linate Airport disaster (a runway incursion) comes to mind.


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
Max Q
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 5:01 am

This accident was entirely due to poor design. No Boeing or Lockheed Aircraft of that era or since would have suffered such a failure.


The slats and /or leading edge devices on those had a lockout system that would not allow one to retract by itself.
Those AA Pilots never stood a chance, they did what they were supposed to do but their Aircraft let them down.


Poor DC10 design caused a lot of crashes and cost a lot of lives in this accident and several others.


And then, of course there was the MD11, another problem child.


Douglas lost it's way after the merger with Mcdonnell , years and years of building superb Aircraft came to an end with the rushed, haphazard design of the DC10 and later the MD11.


A real shame.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 6:17 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 12):

This accident was entirely due to poor design. No Boeing or Lockheed Aircraft of that era or since would have suffered such a failure.

Not entirely. If AA maintenance had followed the proper procedure in removing and replacing the DC-10 engines during service the engine would not have come off the wing.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Max Q
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 6:24 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):

Not entirely. If AA maintenance had followed the proper procedure in removing and replacing the DC-10 engines during service the engine would not have come off the wing.

True, but a redundant design as used in Boeing and Lockheed Aircraft would have provided a fail safe back up for that
poor procedure.
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flyingturtle
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 9:22 am

I forgot to mention that AA191 could have been saved if procedures were followed.

I speak of the maintenance people who used a forklift to hold the engine in place while removing the bolts, contrary to the Douglas manuals.


Upon much thought, I could not come up with ANY accident that was caused or rendered possible by adhering to procedures. This is especially true when you combine the procedures that are used by engineers, aircraft assemblers, maintenance personell, aircrew, ATC, crew schedulers and everybody else that has to do with airplanes.



David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: AA191 Could It Have Been Saved?

Mon May 27, 2013 7:05 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 15):
Upon much thought, I could not come up with ANY accident that was caused or rendered possible by adhering to procedures. This is especially true when you combine the procedures that are used by engineers, aircraft assemblers, maintenance personell, aircrew, ATC, crew schedulers and everybody else that has to do with airplanes.

BOAC 911 comes to mind. Breakup in severe turbulence. However since then weather reporting and procedures for avoiding mountain waves have changed.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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