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Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:05 pm
by deevee
Hi all,

I was about 5 years old on a plane taking off from either New York or New Jersey and bound for the Soviet Union in 1988 (I believe it was around md year). I think the airline was Pan Am and I believe the aircraft was a 747.

Almost immediately after takeoff, one of the engines exploded and we had to do an emergency landing in a field shortly after the runway. I don’t believe there were any injuries in the incident.

I’ve scoured the internet high and low for any info about this incident but can’t find any details.

Does anyone know of any info about this incident?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:17 pm
by T18
I cannot find anything in the NTSB database that come close tho your description from 1980-1990 for a 747 in the NY/NJ area, I would expect an incident like that to have been investigated by the NTSB so I'm thinking maybe your recollection of the aircaft type may be off.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:26 pm
by hOMSaR
Are you sure you landed “in a field” and not just at another airport?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:31 pm
by CWL757
deevee wrote:

Almost immediately after takeoff, one of the engines exploded and we had to do an emergency landing in a field shortly after the runway.

I doubt you ended up in a field without injuries and I'm sure there would be records of it. You sure it wasn't a dream!?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:16 pm
by codc10
deevee wrote:
Hi all,

I was about 5 years old on a plane taking off from either New York or New Jersey and bound for the Soviet Union in 1988 (I believe it was around md year). I think the airline was Pan Am and I believe the aircraft was a 747.

Almost immediately after takeoff, one of the engines exploded and we had to do an emergency landing in a field shortly after the runway. I don’t believe there were any injuries in the incident.

I’ve scoured the internet high and low for any info about this incident but can’t find any details.

Does anyone know of any info about this incident?


There certainly weren't any off-field landings involving a 747 in 1988, although it is possible that you were aboard for an air return (JT9D compressor stalls weren't exactly rare occurrences), and maybe even a relatively benign runway excursion, like a missed turnoff. It's unlikely to be anything of particular historical significance, though.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:36 pm
by EvanWSFO
PA did fly 747's to Moscow as late as 1989, but something like this would be available online somewhere.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:19 am
by September11
Notable Pan Am 747 incidents:

PA93 - Sep 1970
PA841 - Dec 1973
PA1736 - Mar 1977
PA830 - Aug 1982
PA73 - Sep 1986
PA103 - Dec 1988

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:42 am
by Pontius

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:17 am
by PSAatSAN4Ever
As of early 1987, Pan Am had a one-stop flight to Moscow from JFK, with a change in planes from a 747 to a 727, which continued on to Leningrad:

http://www.departedflights.com/PA020187p41.html

Not sure how they dealt with the flight 72./74 thing.

http://www.departedflights.com/PA020187p73.html

Perhaps your plane returned for an emergency landing, and you evacuated the plane outside?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:30 am
by richierich
1988 is still fresh in some peoples' heads on this site, so to say that if a B747 (of any airline) landed off-airport on a field, well that would definitely be something people would remember.

Not trying to write-off your memories as nonsense but is it possible that in your 5 year old mind it was a bigger incident than it really was? It is a very impressionable age. True story, there was a small brush fire in an open woodland near where we were living when I was 4-5 years old. I distinctly remember it as it kind of scared the 5-year old me, wondering if nearby homes (ours included) would burn down. In reality, it was a minor event that the good old Shannondell Fire Dept. probably had under control in 15 minutes, yet I can remember the crackling of the flames and the swirling dark smoke. 5 years olds are at a funny age because they are aware of the world around them but can't quite process everything in a way that makes sense.

As somebody else said, you may have come back and made an emergency landing, either at the same airport or a different one than you took off from, but it sounds unlikely that plane came to rest on grass other than a minor taxiway overrun or something of that nature. If that's the case, it is unlikely that we will ever know the true answer to your question without a lot more detail...

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:37 am
by deevee
It may have been a 727 but yes, this was the route. We flew to Moscow and continued on to Leningrad. The plane was in the air for probably less than 2 seconds before the explosion and it came back down and rolled past the runway into a field. I also thought for sure this would appear in official records somewhere.

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
As of early 1987, Pan Am had a one-stop flight to Moscow from JFK, with a change in planes from a 747 to a 727, which continued on to Leningrad:

http://www.departedflights.com/PA020187p41.html

Not sure how they dealt with the flight 72./74 thing.

http://www.departedflights.com/PA020187p73.html

Perhaps your plane returned for an emergency landing, and you evacuated the plane outside?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:48 am
by deevee
My mom was traveling with me so what few details I have were confirmed by her. We definitely didn’t end up on asphalt, that much I remember for sure.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:01 pm
by timz

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:37 pm
by longhauler
I can certainly understand the skepticism about this incident among the "old timers" like myself.

Any aircraft that ended up in an evacuation in an open field after something as mundane and controllable as an engine failure would be HUGE. In fact, we'd still be arguing about it today! Add in a 747 of Pan American and it would be on Mayday!

However, as we all like a puzzle on this site, I am assuming this Gentleman is sincere in his request and accurate in his description. So, between us all, we should be able to find this incident.

My thoughts are that what he experienced was a compressor stall close to V1. A compressor stall of a high bypass ratio engine at take-off thrust would be startling and very very vivid. It would look like an "explosion" although likely contained and not dangerous. However, if the Captain elected to reject the take-off and they were close to V1, then the possibility of a runway overrun is quite likely.

Past the end of the runway and on rough terrain, an evacuation would result. This chain of events could closely mimic what the OP experienced. The only thing that doesn't match up, is his thoughts that the aircraft was airborne. To reject a take-off after liftoff is a big decision, although it has been done. When doing so, the Captain accepts that it is unlikely to keep the aircraft in the runway area and the only reason for doing so would be the thought that the aircraft was damaged to the point of not being able to fly at all ... as the simple loss of an engine is quite managable.

Perhaps, thinking the aircraft was already airborne was not correct.

Either way, 1988 is not as transparent as things are today. Where a runway overrun is often noted and discussed today, 30+ years ago it is unlikely to have made it into the news to the point that one could find it archived online.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:51 pm
by codc10
An engine failure of any kind after becoming airborne would never (even in 1988) result in an instantaneous landing in a jet aircraft, unless the failure was absolutely catastrophic in nature, with an immediate loss of control. In other words, essentially a crash.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:04 pm
by longhauler
codc10 wrote:
An engine failure of any kind after becoming airborne would never (even in 1988) result in an instantaneous landing in a jet aircraft, unless the failure was absolutely catastrophic in nature, with an immediate loss of control. In other words, essentially a crash.


Exactly. Unless the Captain chose to stop the take-off as he feared integrity of the aircraft, accepting an off airport landing.

There have been several rejected take-offs after V1 and a couple "rejected take-offs" after being airborne. The investigation revealed in all cases that the Captain did not think the aircraft could fly.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:39 am
by spacecadet
I was on a DC-10 in 1980 at the age of 8 that experienced a compressor stall followed by a fire that certainly looked and felt like an explosion, and we turned around and landed back at EWR. I feel like the entire event is seared in my memory, but it's been 40 years and I know that memory is fluid. I'm sure some details in my memory are wrong, just as I'm sure the OP's memory isn't 100% reliable about what sounds like it was probably a very similar event a similar amount of time ago.

The amazing thing is I *did* find an FAA report in what was then known as the NASDAC database about my flight. If my flight was in there, then this flight should be. I searched and the closest thing I could find was this: https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100: ... 010062979I

If the OP's mixing up a couple flights, that could be it. It probably wasn't going to Moscow and it wasn't a 747, but it was a large jet taking off from JFK in 1988 that had an engine problem that *could* have seemed like an "explosion" if the vibration mentioned was particularly bad and the shutdown sudden.

I expanded the search to cover more years and searched for Pan Am flights, 747 flights, flights out of JFK or EWR, etc. and didn't find anything closer. That said, the search *is* kinda flaky and sometimes I feel like it's not returning all the relevant results. It took me a few tries before finding my own flight mentioned above again, for example. So there could be more in there that I didn't find.

If anyone's wondering, this is was my flight that I mentioned at the top of the post: https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100: ... 202085789I

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:29 am
by adambrau
Depending on the day you flew Pan Am to Leningrad in 1988, the routing would either be:

1. JFK-SVO nonstop 747 on PA and then connecting on something else to LED.
2. JFK-FRA nonstop 747 on PA connecting next day on a Pan Am 727 FRA-SVO-LED.

Sounds like there may have been an engine issue which required a return to field - ie airport not a literal field.

Adam

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:17 am
by trijetsonly
spacecadet wrote:
I was on a DC-10 in 1980 at the age of 8 that experienced a compressor stall followed by a fire that certainly looked and felt like an explosion, and we turned around and landed back at EWR. I feel like the entire event is seared in my memory, but it's been 40 years and I know that memory is fluid. I'm sure some details in my memory are wrong, just as I'm sure the OP's memory isn't 100% reliable about what sounds like it was probably a very similar event a similar amount of time ago.

The amazing thing is I *did* find an FAA report in what was then known as the NASDAC database about my flight. If my flight was in there, then this flight should be. I searched and the closest thing I could find was this: https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100: ... 010062979I

If the OP's mixing up a couple flights, that could be it. It probably wasn't going to Moscow and it wasn't a 747, but it was a large jet taking off from JFK in 1988 that had an engine problem that *could* have seemed like an "explosion" if the vibration mentioned was particularly bad and the shutdown sudden.

I expanded the search to cover more years and searched for Pan Am flights, 747 flights, flights out of JFK or EWR, etc. and didn't find anything closer. That said, the search *is* kinda flaky and sometimes I feel like it's not returning all the relevant results. It took me a few tries before finding my own flight mentioned above again, for example. So there could be more in there that I didn't find.

If anyone's wondering, this is was my flight that I mentioned at the top of the post: https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100: ... 202085789I


Thanks to your link, I think this is it:

https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100:18:::NO::AP_BRIEF_RPT_VAR:19870516033349I

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:12 am
by Argent
Transcribed from the May 18, 1987 edition of the New York Daily News (ah ... '80s gossip):

Marvin Mitchelson’s trip aboard Pan Am’s Flight 90

“I never prayed so hard in my life,” said celebrity lawyer Marvin Mitchelson yesterday - still shaking from a scare aboard a Zurich-bound Pan Am jumbo jet that was forced to turn back to Kennedy Airport Saturday night after one of its engines conked out.

The plane carried 358 passengers and a crew of 13. Airport officials confirmed that Flight 90 had to make an emergency return but blamed it on a hydraulic leak. However, Mitcheslon said the plane was 10 minutes out of JFK when "I looked out the window and saw a ball of fire from a left engine.”

“There was a lot of commotion,” he said. “A few moments later, I heard a loud bang which really shake the plane. The pilot said that the engine had blown, but there was no more danger of fire. He said that we were going to dump some fuel for a couple of minutes before returning to Kennedy.”

“We were told to put our heads between our legs - the whole bit - and we landed rather roughly. I snuck a peek out the window during landing and I could see emergency vehicles everywhere.”

Mitchelson was one his way to Geneva with his client, Edith al-Midani, who issuing her Saudi husband, Muaffack for divorce for half of his estimated $1 billion. Earlier, Edith had been awarded $5.5 million by a judge in California as the price for al-Midani’s wish to try the case in Switzerland.

But divorces were the furthest thing from Mitchelson’s mind yesterday.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:49 pm
by Woofbite
Could you be confusing it with this incident?

http://www.airplanemart.com/video/00001 ... B_1965.php



deevee wrote:
Hi all,

I was about 5 years old on a plane taking off from either New York or New Jersey and bound for the Soviet Union in 1988 (I believe it was around md year). I think the airline was Pan Am and I believe the aircraft was a 747.

Almost immediately after takeoff, one of the engines exploded and we had to do an emergency landing in a field shortly after the runway. I don’t believe there were any injuries in the incident.

I’ve scoured the internet high and low for any info about this incident but can’t find any details.

Does anyone know of any info about this incident?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:52 am
by spacecadet
trijetsonly wrote:


Interesting - yeah, that seems to fit. It did return to the airport like many suspected, but otherwise it's a Pan Am 747 engine explosion out of JFK around that time.

My searches *should* have come up with that, but I had a feeling my filters weren't being reset when I tried to reset them, so not all the relevant results were coming up for me.

Anyway, glad you found it. Hopefully the OP sees that link.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:10 am
by BartSimpson
Woofbite wrote:
Could you be confusing it with this incident?

http://www.airplanemart.com/video/00001 ... B_1965.php

deevee wrote:
Hi all,

I was about 5 years old on a plane taking off from either New York or New Jersey and bound for the Soviet Union in 1988 (I believe it was around md year). I think the airline was Pan Am and I believe the aircraft was a 747.


Yeah sure. Traveling back in time for 23 years and replacing the Soviet Union with Honolulu, and you have a perfect match...

Seriously, don't you think the OP at least gets his own birth year right?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:45 am
by trijetsonly
deevee wrote:

spacecadet wrote:
Interesting - yeah, that seems to fit. It did return to the airport like many suspected, but otherwise it's a Pan Am 747 engine explosion out of JFK around that time.
My searches *should* have come up with that, but I had a feeling my filters weren't being reset when I tried to reset them, so not all the relevant results were coming up for me.
Anyway, glad you found it. Hopefully the OP sees that link.


So now it's up to deevee:
Is it possible, that everything happened 1987 already?

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:10 pm
by deevee
My mom is adamant that it was a NY to Moscow flight in 1988, not Zurich. Could it have been an Aeroflot plane? She said there was some joint venture between Aeroflot and Pan Am around that time.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:25 am
by catiii
deevee wrote:
My mom is adamant that it was a NY to Moscow flight in 1988, not Zurich. Could it have been an Aeroflot plane? She said there was some joint venture between Aeroflot and Pan Am around that time.

One would think memory could easily differentiate between Pan Am and Soviet era Aeroflot...though given the state of affairs at Pan Am in 1988 maybe the paxex wasn’t all that different.

Re: Incident in 1988 in either New York or New Jersey?

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:58 am
by BoeingGuy
longhauler wrote:
codc10 wrote:
An engine failure of any kind after becoming airborne would never (even in 1988) result in an instantaneous landing in a jet aircraft, unless the failure was absolutely catastrophic in nature, with an immediate loss of control. In other words, essentially a crash.


Exactly. Unless the Captain chose to stop the take-off as he feared integrity of the aircraft, accepting an off airport landing.

There have been several rejected take-offs after V1 and a couple "rejected take-offs" after being airborne. The investigation revealed in all cases that the Captain did not think the aircraft could fly.


That’s the only criteria stated in the Boeing manuals for rejecting above V1. If in the Captain’s judgement, the airplane is incapable of safe flight.