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grandtheftaero
Topic Author
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 1:05 pm

AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:45 am

Hello All:

Here's a link to an article about the AA 191 crash if you are unfamiliar: http://www.airdisaster.com/special/special-aa191.shtml

Reports say that when the engine disconnected, it flew up and over the wing before crashing onto the runway. This is by design. Was this behavior built into the design for a specific reason (if so, what was the reason) or was the behavior a "byproduct" of the completed design?

Anyone know? Thanks!

--Shane
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 10:14 am

>>>This is by design.

I think if you'll go to the original NTSB report (and not a website's condensed version of things) I think that you'll find the reason the engine cut loose and went over the top of the wing was a failure where the top of the engine pylon met the wing. The aircraft and undergone an engine change at the airline's maintenance facility in Tulsa some weeks earlier, and they'd concocted their own procedure of removing the engine and pylon (together as one unit) from the wing using a forklift, instead of the more time-consuming remove the engine, remove the pylon, which was the approved procedure. They reattached the engine/pylon to the wing as single unit, and in so doing, damaged the the mounting hardware on the wing. The damage (cracks) went un-noticed, and eventually the attachment point failed. After AA191, they found similar damage on other DC-10s that had undergone engine changes using the same procedure.

[Edited 2003-12-13 02:43:36]
 
Mr Spaceman
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 10:20 am

Hello GrandTheftAero.

I can't get the link you provided to work. There's a lot of info out there on the web about this particular airliner crash.

Do you know if the left engine fell off while the DC-10 was in a level climbout, or if it came lose during a bank. I'm just thinking about the possibility of the engine flying over the top of the wing instead of fall straight down might be because the aircraft was banking.

Anyhow, here's a link with of a photo of that crash.

http://www.planecrashinfo.com/w790525.htm


Chris  Smile

 
OPNLguy
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 10:25 am

 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:25 am

Here is another possible factor:

A large ducted fan is still a propeller. In climb, the descending blade has a higher angle of attack than an ascending blade, therefore the thrust might not be symmetrical about the longitudinal axis of the engine. As viewed from behind, the right side of the engine may be producing more thrust.

If so, and the engine comes loose, that side will have a tendency to turn toward the descending blade side, in a manner similar to an engine failure on a light twin rotating into the dead engine. Only this is just one engine we are considering, and gyroscopic precession probably has some effect on the large fan.

Gyroscopic precession, stated simply has it that force applied to the rim of a gyroscope will take effect 90 degrees later in the direction of rotation. Therefore, with the direction of rotation as it is, the descending blade on the right side may cause the engine to pitch up. This tendency would be augmented by the thrust itself.

Just the opinion of one old rotor-head.

 
OPNLguy
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:33 am

There are several diagrams of the attachment point hardware in the NTSB report, and IIRC, the fracture was such that the engine (at takeoff power, mind you) just plain pivoted around the part of the attachment structure that was still intact.
 
n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 12:15 pm

There's an account of this crash in Michael Crichton's Airframe, and I believe the implication there (or perhaps it was an explicit statement, I can't recall) was that the crew was at fault, and if they had followed procedures, a lost engine would have been something they could have recovered from. Whereas just about everything I've read on here and in the accident reports has indicated that there was nothing much that could have been done, and the crew's airmanship was top-notch.

Naturally I'd be more inclined to believe the latter sources, but I would like to ask the question directly: is there anything the crew could have done to recover from that incident? As I understand it, the loss of hydraulic pressure is what really doomed the airliner as without it the slats retracted and a stall was unavoidable. If my understanding is incomplete or incorrect, I'd certainly appreciate a more accurate account of the tragedy.
 
grandtheftaero
Topic Author
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 12:17 pm

OPNLguy,

Thanks for the info. I'm familiar with this accident and I suspected that it had something to do with aft attachment hardware separating before the forward attachment hardware. I should point out that the website I pasted into my first message was not the first place that I read/heard of this particular behavior being "by design". I just took it as truth after I had heard it so many times. Thanks, again, for confirming my first and more accurate hypothesis.

--Shane
 
POSITIVE RATE
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 1:10 pm

Do you know if the left engine fell off while the DC-10 was in a level climbout, or if it came lose during a bank. I'm just thinking about the possibility of the engine flying over the top of the wing instead of fall straight down might be because the aircraft was banking.

The left(number 1) engine detached from the wing at precisely VR(point of rotation). So the aircraft was in a wings-level climbing attitude and still on the ground when the engine came off.


Naturally I'd be more inclined to believe the latter sources, but I would like to ask the question directly: is there anything the crew could have done to recover from that incident? As I understand it, the loss of hydraulic pressure is what really doomed the airliner as without it the slats retracted and a stall was unavoidable. If my understanding is incomplete or incorrect, I'd certainly appreciate a more accurate account of the tragedy.

Yes the accident could have been avoided even after the engine came off. Had the crew simply maintained an extra 5-10 kts of airspeed the left wing wouldn't have stalled, or once it did stall recovery was still possible had they simply lowered the nose instead of holding full back pressure as they did. But under the circumstances one can hardly blame the crew for not doing this- the stick shaker stall warning was disabled due to the engine coming off- so the pilots had no warning of the stall. Plus they were following AA engine-out procedures perfectly in regards to airspeed so they had no reason to believe they were near to stalling, and they had no way of knowing the slats on the left wing had retracted.
 
vikkyvik
Posts: 12648
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sat Dec 13, 2003 3:49 pm

Just to comment, In Michael Crichton's Airframe the accident is attributed to improper maintenance, not crew error.
~Vik
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:19 am

Shane,

Another "design" aspect mentioned in the NTSB report, IIRC, was that theleading edge slats on the DC-10 didn't have any kind of lock-out mechanism to keep them extended in the event of a loss of hyraulic pressure.

A couple of years after AA191, Air Florida had a DC-10 abort a takeoff at MIA after an uncontained engine failure of one of the wing engines. A side effect was that hydraulics of the leading edges on one wing had been cut, and the slats on that side had retracted. Had they rotated and gotten airborne, it's quite likely they would have rolled ala' AA191 and taken out a chunk of Miami east of the airport.

I think some type of lock-outs were installed after that.... I've been away from the DC-10s for about 20 years, no, so my memory might be a tad rusty...
 
411A
Posts: 1788
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 10:34 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 14, 2003 9:51 am

Had the DC10 been designed as the Lockheed TriStar (was), then the slats would absolutely not have retracted...period.
The TriStar contains a slat disagreement system wherein the slats are 'locked out' (ie: cannot move) when their position disagrees beyond three degrees.
Can ONLY be reset on the ground.

Moreover, the Sioux City DC10 accident (total hydraulic fluid loss due to #2 engine fan severing all three hydraulic system lines) would not have happened in a TriStar.
The TriStar has FOUR hydraulic systems, some with 'hydraulic fusing' (one way check valves) to prevent TOTAL fluid loss.

Lockheed got it right from the beginning.
 
FDXmech
Posts: 3219
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 14, 2003 11:14 am

>>>Moreover, the Sioux City DC10 accident (total hydraulic fluid loss due to #2 engine fan severing all three hydraulic system lines) would not have happened in a TriStar.<<<

On September 22, 1981, an Eastern Tristar had a catastrophic failure of #2 engine whereas the fan shaft let loose allowing the fan to migrate forward 12 feet. In doing so, hydraulic system A,B and D lines were damaged depleting the fluid in those systems. System C hydraulic lines were also damaged but luckily did not fail.

http://www.airdisaster.com/reports/ntsb/AAR82-05.pdf

So though it didn't happen in the L1011, severing all four hydraulic system lines was definitely possible.
 
411A
Posts: 1788
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 10:34 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 14, 2003 12:18 pm

Possible yes, but fluid will be retained for some flight controls, due to hydraulic fusing.
For example, in 1980, an SV TriStar enroute DHA-KHI suffered a wheel explosion (in the wheel well) over the Arabian Sea (at FL290) which severed four hydraulic lines in the hydraulic service center, just aft.
However, due to hydraulic fusing, one half of system 'D' remained, and the aircraft was safely landed at Doha....by the First Officer, due to the fact that with only system 'D' available, only his control column is operative (operating one spoiler, one aileron and the stabilizer).

Moral to the story...always treat your F/O with respect.
 
POSITIVE RATE
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 14, 2003 2:20 pm

Possible yes, but fluid will be retained for some flight controls, due to hydraulic fusing.
For example, in 1980, an SV TriStar enroute DHA-KHI suffered a wheel explosion (in the wheel well) over the Arabian Sea (at FL290) which severed four hydraulic lines in the hydraulic service center, just aft.
However, due to hydraulic fusing, one half of system 'D' remained, and the aircraft was safely landed at Doha....by the First Officer, due to the fact that with only system 'D' available, only his control column is operative (operating one spoiler, one aileron and the stabilizer).


These wheel explosions seem to be pretty common. Are they caused by overheated brakes? And how come they always seem to explode at high altitude only? A wheel explosion also caused the crash of a Mexicana 727 in 1986- the tyre severed all 3 hydraulic systems.

 
411A
Posts: 1788
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 10:34 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Mon Dec 15, 2003 2:17 am

Positive rate,
On the particular incident I mentioned, an incorrect part number wheel assembly had been fitted (for a lighter weight TriStar, ISO a -200), and it failed due to excessive heat.
The aircraft had a taxi of five miles to R34L (34R closed), excessive taxi speed/poor braking technique combined with high ambient temperatures...and the Captains failure to follow company recommended procedure and leave the gear down after takeoff (cooling) following these long taxi distances.

A combination of factors. Bad news all 'round.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Mon Dec 15, 2003 4:14 am

>>>Are they caused by overheated brakes?

As 411A mentioned above, yes. In the Mexicana accident, the heat was caused by a "dragging" brake, i.e. it was partially applied (unintentionally) and the heat built up on the taxi and takeoff from Mexico City.


>>>And how come they always seem to explode at high altitude only?

Brake heat takes a little time to fully translate to the wheels themselves. For example, in the event of an aborted takeoff (depending upon weights and initiation speed, and thus the amount of energy involved, measured in millions of foot-pounds), they advise that it may take :45 or longer for the heat to melt the fuse plugs.

Back to your question, takeoff to top-of-climb takes :20-:25 or so, so that's why you'll see some events happening up there.



>>>A wheel explosion also caused the crash of a Mexicana 727 in 1986- the tyre severed all 3 hydraulic systems.

Another factor in the Mexicana accident was the fact that the tire had been serviced (inflated) with regular old compressed air, instead of the proscribed inert nitrogen. I'm no chemical engineer, but I recall reading that the oxygen and water in the compressed air (along with the heat from the brakes/wheels) helped set-up a chemical reaction with the material in the tire that helped compromise it, and it failed.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 1:47 am

For those who want a decent read concerning the differences between the L1011 and DC10, try "Destination Disaster" about the THY accident in Paris. I don't know how biased the authors were, but it sure made the DC10 seem like an "aftertought" aircraft.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 2:41 am

I heartily concur--it's an excellent book, and one that should be on the shelf of every airline enthusiast. They go into so much background leading everyone to the time of the DC-10 and other aircraft that it serves to educate more than a textbook.

The full title is: "Destination Disaster: From the Tri-Motor to the DC-10, the Risk of Flying" and it was written by Eddy, Page, and Potter, three news reporters who apparently worked on the THY crash and just kept going into a book. BEWARE: There is another "Destination Disaster" by that shortrned title published in November 2002 that is NOT the same book.

The only problem with the original book, now, is that it's a bit dated, since it came out in the mid-1970s, like 1975 or so, maybe 1976. I's approaching 30 years old, and any topics related to the industry of the last 25-30 years just aren't there.

If anyone wants to get one, try:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0812906195/qid=1071509049//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl14/104-3702076-4211158?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Two thumbs up....
 
avt007
Posts: 1989
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2000 4:51 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:00 am

A small piece of advice for the nervous flyer- if you`re on a DC-10, don`t look out the window in turbulence! The way those engines bounce around like the head on one of those rear window dogs is scary. I know they are supposed to move a bit, but I don`t like, all the same.
 
clrd2go
Posts: 976
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2003 4:43 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:08 am


Destination Disaster was an excellent book, and yes, did seem to imply
that the DC10 was an "afterthought" let's hurry up and get it on the market
aircraft.


Jim
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:56 am

Yep Opnlguy - that's the book I was referring to. I wasn't aware there was another book with a similar title.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:22 am

I wasn't either until I did a google search looking for the old one. Just wanted to alert everyone to the potential confusion.

I wish Eddy, Page, and Potter would do a follow-up book on the industry from 1974 to the present--it'd be a good one, and there'd be so much more it would include. Deregulation (1978), the merger-mania of the 1980s, and the various wars and economic challenges of the 1990s to post-9/11. They'd have more aircraft too, like the classic and NG 737 families, the 757, 767, 777, and all the Airbi, plus RJs...plus the various accidents these aircraft have had over the years. I'm sure they could have tackled the DC-10 issues post AA 191, plus the 737 rudder issues....

Oh well...  Big grin
 
FDXmech
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:47 am

>>>For those who want a decent read concerning the differences between the L1011 and DC10, try "Destination Disaster" about the THY accident in Paris. I don't know how biased the authors were, but it sure made the DC10 seem like an "aftertought" aircraft.<<<

I've not read Distination Disaster but have read other such books such as "The DC-10 Case".

As one who has worked the DC10 for many years, yet without any emotional attachment to skew or whitewash any shortcomings, it's a helluva good aircraft. These books while trying to condemn the DC10 also gloss over many similar or the same shortcomings on other types.

I consider the DC10 as among one of the best all around aircraft I've worked. I've no feelings that the 10 was an after-thought design, quite the contrary.

When you work on airplanes on a daily basis, you've a different perspective than reading about them, and that is not meant to offend anyone.
 
goingboeing
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:59 am

FDXmech - I really don't think the book started out as an effort to slam the DC-10. It did question some of the design differences between the DC10-L1011 and 747, specifially the design of the cargo door latch. As has been mentioned, the book was quite detailed in the design and production steps of the airliners, written in a very readable manner. As far as my comments about the DC10 being an "afterthought" aircraft, the book stated that the L1011 was much further along in it's development before the DC10 design phase began, yet the DC10 flew sooner than the Lockheed bird. If it is possible for you to get ahold of a copy of the book (some libraries have it), I would highly recommend it...it isn't a "hatchet job" of the DC10 - rather it gives some very good information on the background of all the "jumbo" jets.
 
FDXmech
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:30 am

Goingboeing - the afterthought comment long preceeded this book. I often hear it from other mechanics stuck working on #2 engine on a cold rainy day (or worse, night).  Smile

But other books I've read concerning a door blowing open fail to point out a UAL lower cargo door blowing open over the Pacific.

Or loss of all hydraulic systems occuring on the JAL 747 when the rear bulkhead ruptured.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not excusing these terribnle failures the DC10 experienced because other aircraft experienced the same failure mode. Just that I feel the aircraft has been unfairly singled out unsafe. Being made a scapegoat of sorts by fans (and book writers) of other types raising a false sense of security and invincibility to other aircraft. In fact I'm positive other airframers look very carefully at all mishaps all types to avoid a repeat failure on their own.
 
mlsrar
Posts: 1384
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2000 7:41 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:45 am

I'm sure FDX could fill me in, but in the instance of Eastern 401, a -10 would not have suffered the problem due to either a difference in the autopilot disconnect warning horn, or a different method for verification the gear is locked.
 
FDXmech
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RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:26 pm

>>>I'm sure FDX could fill me in, but in the instance of Eastern 401, a -10 would not have suffered the problem due to either a difference in the autopilot disconnect warning horn, or a different method for verification the gear is locked.<<<

I don't know the specifics on the initial DC10 A/P disconnect parameters when the control wheel is nudged. But. The DC10 has 2 independant gear indication systems with one channel going to the indicator lights on the front panel the other to the flight engineers panel. If a bulb was burned out or if a sensor goes bad, simply look at the the other panel for down/locked verification.

 
Thrust
Posts: 2587
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2003 12:17 pm

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:42 am

Apparently, a few weeks before AA DC-10 N110AA crashed as AA flight 191, while engine maintenance was going on, the aircraft's left engine, engine No.1, was being hung back on the wing using a fork-lifting strategy. In those days, the entire engine was taken off the wing (not very smart). A fork-lift machine was putting the engine back on the wing, when apparently they heard a booming metallic sound as loud as a gun. They had fractured the engine pylon by using this new type of strategy to put the engine back on the pylon, and the engine had not been properly attached to its pylon. There was a pre-crash photo of the engine No. 1 pylon on the left wing, and I could see a golden-like piece of metal that was shining brightly. I could tell it was a fracture because the engine pylon for AA DC-10s was supposed to be silver. Apparently, nobody noticed the engine pylon-fracture in time to stop the worst aviation accident in history from happening. I would give you the photo, but I can't put it on the page. This is pretty much the whole analysis of the incident.

--Thrust

 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 8:04 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 28, 2003 4:01 am

the worst aviation accident in history from happening


It was the worst aviation accident in America yes... in the history of the world, no.

With 583 passengers killed, the Tenerife crash of two years earlier remains by far the most deadly aviation accident ever*. The 520 pax who died in the crash of JL123 also constitute a deadlier disaster than AA191.


*if one concludes that 9/11 was no accident
 
chdmcmanus
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2001 12:53 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Sun Dec 28, 2003 7:41 am

1) In reference to a post for the original question, Yes the accident could have been avoided even after the engine came off. Had the crew simply maintained an extra 5-10 kts of airspeed the left wing wouldn't have stalled, or once it did stall recovery was still possible had they simply lowered the nose instead of holding full back pressure as they did. That is one reason the KC-10 (and I assume the DC-10-30, as the AF KC-10 -1 is essentially United's POH) maintains V2+10 as a minimum for loss of an engine after V1. A while back we loaded the situation into the sim as best as we could, and about 50/50 was the best we could do to retain control. But it should be stated that in the sim we KNEW some of the unnaparent system malfuctions and attempted to maintain acft control using that. Even knowing that, the situation progresses so fast that the acft really gets ahead of you quickly.

2) I don't know the specifics on the initial DC10 A/P disconnect parameters when the control wheel is nudged. The DC-10 has pressure sensors in the yoke, but not the control column. Pressure applied to the yoke will cause the system to drop off, and 4 red AP annunciators to flash until the AP DISC buttons are depressed twice. I don't know if the acft was designed with the annunciators or if they were ADed later. The catch to this is the yoke column. As mentioned, if pressure is applied to the column but NOT the yoke wheel itself, as with a seat cushion or knee, the AP will retrim itself proportionately to the offset, until max trim for conditions is met, at which time 2 amber AP OUT OF TRIM annunciators illuminate, but the AP will not disengage. After the Soix city accident, several modifications to the hyd sys were made. As a result of one of them, if certain conditions are met, a valve will isolate fluid in such a way that the AP 2 will not have elevator authority but it will not automatically disengage. This has not caused any accidents, but is a warning in the DC-10 POH.

4) FDXmech is dead on with the gear, in fact, the abnormal procedures don't even address gear malfuctions unless BOTH sets indicate unsafe. If any set indicates safe, the system design is such that the gear is safe. Although the DC-10 also has the visual indication method, it is a pain in the rump to use, and difficult to correctly identify under less than optimal conditions.

3) In general (and I am biased, I am a huge fan of the three holers) I have no issues with the safety record of the -10 at all. Look at the KC-10, in 20 years of operating routinely at max weight (590K), and temp (60c), not to mention some of the harshest environments on earth (Desert, Thule), the AF hasn't lost any to flight accidents. The only KC-10 to be lost was due to a ground fire in the CAC.

ChD
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: AA Flight 191 Crash

Mon Dec 29, 2003 12:48 am

Thrust said:
>>>They had fractured the engine pylon by using this new type of strategy to put the engine back on the pylon, and the engine had not been properly attached to its pylon.

Not quite...

The number 1 engine -and- pylon separated from the wing during the takeoff sequence, indicating that the problem (the damage created from the ad hoc maintenance procedures) damaged the attachment point between wing/pylon, and -not- pylon/engine.


>>>the entire engine was taken off the wing (not very smart). A fork-lift machine was putting the engine back on the wing,

I'll admit not being an AMT/A&P, but entire engines -are- taken off wings. As I mentioned very early in this thread, the problem was that they removed the #1 engine -and- pylon from the wing as a single unit, rather than removing the engine from the pylon, and then the pylon from the wing (2 separate steps). When they re-installed the engine and pylon (as a single unit), -that's- when the damage was done to the pylon/wing attachment, later manifested by the crash.

You might want to go back and give the NTSB report a good read...

http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR79-17.pdf

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