AA 191 DC-10 incident (1979) revisited

Old May 25, 20, 2:23 pm
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AA 191 DC-10 incident (1979) revisited

41 years ago about this time AA 191 crashed after on takeoff at ORD. God Bless all those that were lost. The captain of the flight Walter Lux also flew the inbound flight from PHX. He was not suppose to fly flight 191 he was assigned it at the last minute. He was scheduled to be off.
The engine change occurred at the Tulsa maintenance facility at the end of March. Just think how many different flights this aircraft goes before the May accident. Could have happened at another airport depending on the takeoff path many more people could have been lost.
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Old May 25, 20, 8:35 pm
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Seems like yesterday. I had just gotten off a flight to IAH (I forget where I was coming from that day but it wasn't ORD). I saw the news flash at a gas station while filing up my car on the way home. I loved that ship and was sad to see it get such a bad wrap because of faulty maintenance, not the aircraft itself. RIP those who died that day.
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Old May 26, 20, 12:54 am
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Originally Posted by TEBraniff View Post
Seems like yesterday. I had just gotten off a flight to IAH (I forget where I was coming from that day but it wasn't ORD). I saw the news flash at a gas station while filing up my car on the way home. I loved that ship and was sad to see it get such a bad wrap because of faulty maintenance, not the aircraft itself. RIP those who died that day.
Unfortunately, it was a bad design. The redundant control cables were laid to close to each other, which caused accidents when the floor collapsed because the baggage door was flawed with a closing mechanism that appeared to be securely closed when it wasn’t.

Remembering the DC-10: End of an era or good riddance? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...ngham-26259236
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Old May 26, 20, 5:36 am
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Unfortunately, it was a bad design. The redundant control cables were laid to close to each other, which caused accidents when the floor collapsed because the baggage door was flawed with a closing mechanism that appeared to be securely closed when it wasn’t.

Remembering the DC-10: End of an era or good riddance? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...ngham-26259236
Dear Mr J,

Loath though I am to contradict as esteemed a gentleman as yourself - are you not referring to the Windsor Incident? I well remember the terrible accident. I had landed at DFW on my BCAL flight and we got to the hotel and I heard about this. Knowing that there was a time difference of 6 hours with the UK, I guessed quite correctly that Mum and Dad would be sitting in front of the TV half asleep and they would have half heard a news flash. They would have missed where the incident happened or which airline and just hear that a DC10 had crashed. I called at once. Dad answered. I did not speak of the accident just to say that we had arrived safely and were at the hotel in Dallas. Mum knew exactly why I'd called as what I had thought was pretty much what had transpired. I understand that it was a short-cut mechanical process that caused the attachment of the engine to the wing to sheer off on take off. We were then stranded as the DC10 was then grounded (do you remember that?) for some while and it caused havoc to many airlines. We went back to flying the 707s - all of which were fit for a museum by then. It was an appalling tragedy with such a terrible loss of life. May they all rest in peace.

The aircraft had the design fault that you describe and it was only brilliant piloting by the crew that got is down safely. Those aboard the THY Ermenonville disaster in France were not so fortunate.

The DC10 went back into service and I worked aboard them until 1999 - I loved them.
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Old May 26, 20, 5:47 am
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Pucci you are correct.

OP is referring to AA 191 at ORD (engine separation due to faulty MX procedure)

JDiver is referring to the Windsor incident (AA 96 - cargo door opening in flight, damaging control cables)

also infamous is United 232, total hydraulic failure due to #2 engine disk rupture. This design flaw was fixed on the MD-11, and the check valve is referred to as the "Sioux City valve"
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Old May 26, 20, 5:54 am
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There's a reason they had to build the MD-11 and it isn't because the DC-10 was a good design.

But as stated above, the incident the OP refers to was a maintenance issue.

Last edited by Admiral Ackbar; May 26, 20 at 11:14 am
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Old May 26, 20, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
The aircraft had the design fault that you describe and it was only brilliant piloting by the crew that got is down safely. Those aboard the THY Ermenonville disaster in France were not so fortunate.
There was an excellent account of the DC10's flawed design process published with an unfortunately lurid title, "Destination Disaster." The book is better than you'd think. It's built around the THY / Ermenonville crash but harks back to horrible, criminal corner-cutting during design, when McDonnell-Douglas was desperate to beat the similar Lockheed L-1011 to market and the gung-ho slogan on the McD-D factory floor was "Fly before they roll." They skimped on hydraulic redundancies and installed poor, slapdash components from subcontractors like the rear cargo door latch, and the rest was tragic history.
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Old May 26, 20, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by nachosdelux View Post
Pucci you are correct.

OP is referring to AA 191 at ORD (engine separation due to faulty MX procedure)

JDiver is referring to the Windsor incident (AA 96 - cargo door opening in flight, damaging control cables)

also infamous is United 232, total hydraulic failure due to #2 engine disk rupture. This design flaw was fixed on the MD-11, and the check valve is referred to as the "Sioux City valve"
AA191 also highlighted issues with the DC-10's design though. Because all hydraulic lines powering the slats were routed through the front of the wing, they were damaged upon separation of the engine causing the slats on the left wing to retract and thus causing that wing to stall. The loss of the engine was not actually much of an issue, it was the damage it caused to the wing on its way off that triggered the accident chain.

After the investigation it was found that Douglas routed the hydraulic lines similar to how they had on the DC-9 which we all know does not have wing-mounted engines. Had a redundant line been placed on the trailing side of the wing on the DC-10, the slats could have stayed locked in place and the aircraft would have remained controllable.
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Old May 26, 20, 8:28 am
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Let's not forget the MD-11 that bounced off a Narita runway and on it's back 10 years ago. MD-11/DC-10 same same. Its like when people refer to a S80....., MD-82-88-92 etc they're all a DC-9.
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Old May 26, 20, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Let's not forget the MD-11 that bounced off a Narita runway and on it's back 10 years ago. MD-11/DC-10 same same. Its like when people refer to a S80....., MD-82-88-92 etc they're all a DC-9.
FedEx (amongst other airlines) has had a number of landing incidents and accidents with the MD-11. The DC-10 is actually more stable on landing than the MD-11 which was designed with a much smaller horizontal tail.
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Old May 26, 20, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
The DC-10 is actually more stable on landing than the MD-11 which was designed with a much smaller horizontal tail.
The longer MD-11 is more unstable than the DC-10 in many respects. The 11 has a tendency to porpoise in flight and needs a lot of tending / corrective inputs.
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Old May 26, 20, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
There was an excellent account of the DC10's flawed design process published with an unfortunately lurid title, "Destination Disaster." The book is better than you'd think. It's built around the THY / Ermenonville crash but harks back to horrible, criminal corner-cutting during design, when McDonnell-Douglas was desperate to beat the similar Lockheed L-1011 to market and the gung-ho slogan on the McD-D factory floor was "Fly before they roll." They skimped on hydraulic redundancies and installed poor, slapdash components from subcontractors like the rear cargo door latch, and the rest was tragic history.
There was also one other contributing factor. I read a long investigation in The Sunday Times in subsequent years. THY sent their crews to the USA to be trained. They were all ex-Turkish Air Force. The instructors said - and this was repeated to more than one BCAL pilot - that not one of them would have got a job with a US airline. What was so shocking was that this problem was known before the Windsor incident . It had been found that a similar set of conditions, which had caused the failure of an aircraft floor following explosive decompression of the cargo hold, had occurred in ground testing in 1970 before the DC-10 series entered commercial service. A memo from the fuselage's manufacturer, in which the series of events that occurred on both flight was foreseen. Indeed it stated that if these events occurred it would probably result in the loss of the aircraft. In spite of this warning, they did nothing to correct the problem.
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Old May 26, 20, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by Admiral Ackbar View Post
There's a reason they had to build the MD-11 and it isn't because the DC-10 was a good design. Handful to fly at the best of times apparently, especially X-wind landings.
You have it just about backwards.

Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
FedEx (amongst other airlines) has had a number of landing incidents and accidents with the MD-11. The DC-10 is actually more stable on landing than the MD-11 which was designed with a much smaller horizontal tail.
Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
The longer MD-11 is more unstable than the DC-10 in many respects. The 11 has a tendency to porpoise in flight and needs a lot of tending / corrective inputs.
These.

The DC-10 was initially really weak on systems redundancy and designed on the cheap and in a rush but its flight characteristics were just fine and pilots loved flying it (not as much as the giant pussycat and more robustly systemed L-1011 though). The MD-11, on the other hand, is a twitchy unstable beast as illustrated by multiple examples ending up inverted and in flames on the runway after landing (well, sort of landing).
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Last edited by Herb687; May 26, 20 at 11:09 am Reason: edit
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Old May 26, 20, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
AA191 also highlighted issues with the DC-10's design though. Because all hydraulic lines powering the slats were routed through the front of the wing, they were damaged upon separation of the engine causing the slats on the left wing to retract and thus causing that wing to stall. The loss of the engine was not actually much of an issue, it was the damage it caused to the wing on its way off that triggered the accident chain.

After the investigation it was found that Douglas routed the hydraulic lines similar to how they had on the DC-9 which we all know does not have wing-mounted engines. Had a redundant line been placed on the trailing side of the wing on the DC-10, the slats could have stayed locked in place and the aircraft would have remained controllable.
Hi,

This crash reconstruction also appears quite regularly on the National Geographic Air crash investigation programme ( in the UK). Another 2 contributory factors were iirc

The stall warning system was powered only by the no1 engine ( so this was lost after no1 fell off)
Training at the time was to raise the nose to gain more altitude and to reduce speed to V2+10 ( but by reducing the speed to V2+10 with the increased stall speed the a/c went into a stall)

Regards

TBS
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Old May 26, 20, 11:13 am
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I did indeed get the last part mixed up. I did not want to get in to the story that ​since the DC-10 was such a bad design which met none of its range promises, the MD-11 had to be built. Had a brain freeze and used wrong example. That horrible FDX crash at NRT came to mind, MD-11 as you said.

I corrected my post.
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