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40 Years Ago This weekend - American 191 at O’Hare

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40 Years Ago This weekend - American 191 at O’Hare

Old 23rd May 2019, 14:37
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40 Years Ago This weekend - American 191 at O’Hare

https://graphics.chicagotribune.com/...1-anniversary/

As the three-engine McDonnell Douglas DC-10 accelerated down the runway, reaching takeoff speed, the left engine broke away, vaulting over the aircraft’s wing. The pilots heard a thunk.

“Damn,” one of the pilots said.

It would be the last word captured by the cockpit voice recorder.

The plane continued to rise, its wings level, despite the nearly 13,500 pounds suddenly missing from its left side. But as it reached 300 feet, the plane slowed and rolled left until it began to overturn, its nose tipping down.

After just 31 seconds of flight, the plane plunged back to earth, killing all the passengers and 13 crew members on board.

The wreckage strafed an open field and mobile home park, scattering debris and erupting into flames. Bodies were burned beyond recognition.

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Old 23rd May 2019, 15:41
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Here is the NTSB report:
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/...ts/AAR7917.pdf
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Old 23rd May 2019, 19:28
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A horrible accident that I remember well. In my neck of the woods that airplane was nicknamed “The Death Cruiser -10”.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 19:52
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What I found particularly sad about this accident is that the crew followed the correct procedures for loss (failure) of engine one. They had no idea they were dealing with loss (separation) of engine one.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 19:54
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Originally Posted by Commander Taco View Post
A horrible accident that I remember well. In my neck of the woods that airplane was nicknamed “The Death Cruiser -10”.
Followed by More Death Eleven.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 20:20
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I lived in Chicago, Grand & Harlem, 9 sm from crash site. I had just started training for my private ticket. WOW. Didn't stop my training. Passed check ride in SF Bay area.

It completely consumed the public attention.

How could the crew know they needed twenty more knots.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 20:28
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
What I found particularly sad about this accident is that the crew followed the correct procedures for loss (failure) of engine one. They had no idea they were dealing with loss (separation) of engine one.
And they probably died thinking they failed to adequately control the aircraft in an OEI scenario.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 20:33
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IIRC:- It was the slats retracting following loss of hydraulic pressure that caused the uncontrolled roll.
The engine attachment was modified first and then several years later the slat system had valves fitted to stop them retracting.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 21:52
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My photo of N110AA taking-off from O'Hare on 13 August 1973.




In memory of all on board.
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Old 23rd May 2019, 22:43
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Boy, the picture of a $150 (probably smoked) ham overlying the last post is kinda disrespectful. Mods might want to watch that.

My grandparents lived in Maywood, IL, and we were having a weenie roast that afternoon in the forest preserve just to the east of ORD. (I was 15 at the time) My aunt Truelove and uncle Emil (who lived in the Toughy trailer park adjacent to the crash) were with us. We probably saw the takeoff, but the DC-10 made a lot less noise than most of the other hardware around at the time, so nobody was really looking, until there was a boom bigger than we were used to hearing (several years earlier) from all of the wonks from NAS Lakeview, and the military side of O'Hare "accidentally" breaking the sound barrier. This day, in addition to the noise, there was a big smoke cloud, and a fireball. Then we couldn't see much else. We finished our hotdogs, and tried to get out of the FP, but everything was blocked off. Got back to Maywood in the middle of the night with Truelove and Emil in tow. Found out two days later that they no longer had a house....
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Old 23rd May 2019, 22:53
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I just think it's cool that you have (had?) an aunt named Truelove.
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Old 24th May 2019, 02:07
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I worked at a science lab that year in downstate Illinois, and the lab director was having a house-party that afternoon. I remember CBS "breaking in" on their regular programming with wall-to-wall coverage of AA191 (that was the year before CNN debuted).

At the time none of us had connections to aviation - but many had family or friends in Chi-town. The party became very quiet (and the BBQ was forgotten) as we just sat and watched the reporting.

Should be emphasized (it's in the report, of course) that an improvised engine maintenance procedure with a forklift damaged the aft pylon/wing attachment, which eventually broke under fatigue. When the engine came off, it took out the slat hydraulics - and also took with it Bus 1 power for the "slats disagree" warning and the sole stick-shaker (left seat). Crew simply had no chance of knowing what they were dealing with, flew correct engine-out procedure (climb at V2), and stalled the slatless wing. A particularly ugly coincidence of swiss-cheese holes.
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Old 24th May 2019, 02:55
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Fate is the hunter..

I was on a business trip in The USA at that time, a family emergency occurred and I had to return home to Australia, the company that I worked for offered to fly me from Ohio in the company Saberliner to ORD to catch this flight, I thought this was too extravagant and declined, opting for an airline connection out of Dayton the next day....in 1973 in Sydney during my Commercial Licence training I had been enquiring about Instrument Rating Training at a flight school at Bankstown Airport, they offered me a chance to observe in a PA-30 but I had made arrangements to pick up my wife and declined the offer, the PA-30 had a mid-air collision with a deHavilland Dove, no survivors.....
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Old 24th May 2019, 05:10
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Hydraulic Lines

I remember seeing DC-10s parked in large numbers while the FAA and NTSB were sorting out what to do. The San Diego 727 collision with a C-172 first hit by the nosewheel then hit the leading edge and took out all three hydraulic lines routed next to one another. The Sioux City DC-10 lost hydraulics when a piece of the #2 turbine disk went through the elevator.

Hard lessons.
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Old 24th May 2019, 05:11
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I was told at the time that AA had installed a video camera on the flight deck so that the passengers could watch the pilots during the flight. If that is true, it does not bear thinking about.
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Old 24th May 2019, 06:12
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I was in LA at the time. Friend was in publishing there. There was a publishers convention taking place and a number of attendees there were coming on the DC-10, you can imagine the cloud it cast over the event.

There are a number of photos of the accident occuring here, which don't seem commonly around (scroll halfway down).

The Ghosts of Flight 191 | Chicago magazine | May 2019
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Old 24th May 2019, 09:41
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Turned out that the airline had been removing engines complete with pylons for servicing - contrary to MDC procedures and refitting the whole thing to the 3 wing attachment points by lifting it up on a fork lift.
A little out of line and you can crack one of the lugs - which is what happened.
AC lost all 3 hydraulic systems as the pylon cut through the wing LE. From then on they were doomed.
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Old 24th May 2019, 10:52
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The fork lift approach was actually that for the rear, high up middle engine. It was apparently straightforward, while the wing engines were specified to need a complex cradle arrangement and more man hours to make a change. One would have thought that the manufacturer would anticipate someone adapting one method to the other, and thinking they were clever doing so. A specific "Never fork lift the wing engine in" instruction was needed. You can also argue that the mounting lugs should have been more robust, anticipating the forces when engines are put in place. A design attitude of "what could go wrong" as well as "what will work right".
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Old 24th May 2019, 12:38
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Originally Posted by bill fly View Post
...
AC lost all 3 hydraulic systems as the pylon cut through the wing LE. From then on they were doomed.
I see nothing in the report that supports this. The report does discuss possible pilot actions in controlling the aircraft using various controls still working in this event
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Old 24th May 2019, 13:18
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Before you get this all wrong I would like to comment.
The inspection being done was to inspect the pylon attachment pins.It saved several hundred man hours to leave the engine attached.
On the number 2 engine a forklift was used to lift a work platform that included the engine,a crew of mechanics and all of their tools. The engine was actually rolled into position on rails and was then lifted with come alongs with dynamometers attached to measure the force.

The reason the airplane crashed is because the slats retracted on the left wing and because these airplanes only had one AOA sensor and a single channel stall warning system that was powered by the number 1 generator which was on the engine that was lost.
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