From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Dorsett)
Subject: Haynes talk at Dryden
Date: 18 Jun 93 22:57:00 PDT
I got a few email inquiries about this, and it's been a year or so since
it was last posted, so maybe it's time to post again. Enjoy!
(a Mac-formatted Word 4 copy is on rascal.ics.utexas.edu, in misc/av/safety-
Ames Research Center
Dryden Flight Research Facility
The Crash of
United Flight 232
Capt. Al Haynes
May 24, 1991
Recording provided by:
Distributed with Capt. Haynes' permission.
Copyright (c) 1991 by Al Haynes. Unlimited non-profit
Robert "transcripts 'R' us" Dorsett
ATC = Air Traffic Control
CLR = Command Leadership Resource Training. i.e., Cockpit Resource Management.
GPWS = Ground Proximity Warning System
NTSB = National Transportation Safety Board
PTS = Post-Traumatic Stress
UAL = United Airlines
?? = garbled. (xxxx ??) = my interpretation of garbled phrase.
Emcee: Good morning. Today, we're privileged to have Capt. Al Haynes
with us. He's a Texas A&M graduate, a Marine Corps flight instructor,
and a 35-year veteran of United Airlines. I think everyone probably
remembers that on July 19, 1989, United Airlines flight 232 departed
Denver at about 2:09 PM, climbed uneventfully to a cruise altitude of
37,000', and at approximately 3:16, the flight notified ATC center that
the #2 engine had failed. The aircraft was only marginally stable at
that point, and this is the rest of the story.
[6-minute excerpt from Alert 3: The Crash of United Flight 232 omitted:
ATC and ground communications]
[July 19, 1989: 15:23 hrs.]
Center: Sioux City, got an emergency for you. Got a United aircraft,
coming in, lost #2 engine, having a hard time controlling the aircraft
right now, he's out of 29,000 right now, descending to Sioux City right
now. He's ?? VOR but he wants the equipment standing by right now.
Sioux City: Radar contact.
UAL 232: So you know we have almost no controllability. Very little
elevator, and almost no ailerons, we're controlling the turns by
power. I don't think we can turn right, I think we can only make left
turns. ?? We can only turn right, we can't turn left.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, understand, sir,you can only make right
UAL 232: that's affirmative.
Sioux City: 32 heavy, say souls on board, and fuel remaining.
UAL 232: We have 376, fuel ??
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, Sioux City.
UAL 232: Confirm we have no hydraulic fluid, which means we have no
elevator control, almost none, and very little aileron control. I have
serious doubts about making the airport. Have you got someplace near
there, that we might be able to ditch? Unless we get control of this
airplane, we're going to put it down wherever it happens to be.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, roger, standby ??
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, say again. 232 heavy, think you'll be
able to hold about a 240 heading?
UAL 232: We're going to turn into it about right now.
Sioux City: When you turn to that 240 heading, sir, the airport will be
about oh, 12 o'clock and 38 miles.
UAL 232: Okay, we're trying to control it just by power alone, we have
no hydraulics at all, sir, we're doing our best, here.
Sioux City: Roger, and we've notified the equipment out in that area
too, sir. The equipment's here on the airport, standing by, and
they're sending some out to that area.
232. 232, we're going to have to continue in a right turn. We've got
the elevators pretty much under control, but that's 3 or 4 hundred
feet, but still can't get much ?? steering.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, roger, understand you do have the
elevators possibly under control, will you be able to hold altitude?
UAL 232: Negative, we don't have it. We're better, that's all.
Sioux City: Roger.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, there's a small airport 12 o'clock and
seven miles. The runway's 4000' long, there.
UAL 232: Control, ?? myself right now, soon as the captain gets back
on, he'll give me a hand here. He's talking on the PA.
Sioux City: Roger.
UAL 232: United 232, we're starting a left turn back to the airport.
Since we have no hydraulics, braking is going to really be a problem.
I would suggest the equipment be ?? towards the far end of the runway.
And I think under the circumstances, regardless of the condition of the
airplane when we stop, we're going to evacuate, so you might notify the
ground crew that we're going to do that.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, wilco, sir, and if you can continue that
left turn, to about a 220 heading, sir, that'll take you right to the
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, you're going to have to widen out just
slightly to your left sir, to make the turn to final, and also to take
you away from the city.
UAL 232: Whatever you do, keep us away from the city.
Sioux City: 232 heavy, be advised, there is a four-lane highway up in
that area, sir, if you can pick that up.
UAL 232: Okay, we'll see what we can do, here. We've already put the
gear down, and we're going to have to be putting on something solid, if
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, roger, airport's currently at your 1
o'clock position, 10 miles.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, if you can't make the airport, sir,
there's an interstate that runs north to south to the east side of the
airport, it's a four-lane interstate.
UAL 232: We're just passing it right now. We're going to try for the
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, roger, and advise me when you get the
airport in site.
UAL 232: We have the runway in sight, and will be with you shortly.
Thanks a lot for your help.
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, winds currently 360 at 11, three sixty at
eleven, you're cleared to land on any runway.
UAL 232: You don't want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?
Sioux City: ...010 at 11, and there's a runway that closed, sir, that
could probably work too, it runs northeast to southwest.
UAL 232: We're pretty much lined up on this one, here, I think we will
Sioux City: United 232 heavy, roger sir, that's a closed runway,
that'll work, sir. We're getting the equipment off the runway, and
they'll line up to that one.
UAL 232: How long is it?
Sioux City: At the end of the runway is just a wide open field, sir,
so the length won't be a problem.
UAL 232: OK.
[GPWS alarm on CVR]
[jumbled ground communications, followed by]
Ground #1: Orville, what's the situation out there?
Ground #2: ??
Ground #1: 10-4, you're going to need a lot of additional assistance
out there, it sounds like?
Ground #2: 10-4, I've got engine 3, engine 5, and truck 3, I'm going
out to the scene, I'll advise you in just a few minutes.
Ground #1: 10-4, I'm going to go ahead and go en route out there to the
command post. Let me advise anything that you need, I'll have the comm
center go ahead and notify emergency hospitals and also the
MC: It's my sincere pleasure to introduce to you the person you heard
on that video and you saw land the plane, Capt. Al Haynes.
Thank you, thank you very much. "Land" is a rather loose term for
that. Anyone who has seen this video seems to have this one question
in their mind, and that is: how did anyone survive an accident of that
magnitude? I think there are five factors that contribute to the
degree of success that we had at Sioux City: that is, luck,
communications, preparation, execution, and cooperation. And I would
like to talk about those five things today.
First of all, we all have our own personal beliefs and convictions, and
I would never intrude on yours, so for the sake of discussion, we call
our first factor "luck." You may call it whatever you wish. But what
did luck have to do with it? Well, first of all, how did we get the
airplane to Sioux City? We're an aviation-oriented audience here
tonight, you basically have the idea of how an airplane works. When
the #2 hydraulics on the DC-10 blew, or when the #2 engine blew, it
took out the #2 accessory drive section, which took out the hydraulics
for the #2 system. And some 70 pieces of shrapnel penetrated the
horizontal stabilizer and severed the #1 line and the #3 line, and as a
result we ended up with no hydraulics. Now, the DC-10, like a lot of
aircraft today, and those that'll be made in the future, has no cables
going to the controls. You have no manual reversion in the airplane at
all. The cables go to the servos, and then hydraulic pressure does
your work. So in order to protect against the loss of all fluid, a lot
of redundancies are built into the system. The DC-10, for instance,
has three completely independent hydraulic systems. They have two
engine-driven pumps per system, their own hydraulic reservoir, their
own supply lines, their own return lines, they are not connected
fluid-wise, in any way. They are connected mechanically, so that if we
shut down say, the #1 engine, the fluid in the #3 system runs a motor
which runs a pump in the #1 system and the pressure's built right back
up, and that's all automatic, you don't do anything about it. Should
you lose the fluid in the #1 system due to a leak in one of the
components, you won't lose the #2 and #3 system, because they're not
all connected together, and all the major component flight controls
have at least two, some of them three, of the systems providing power
to these controls. And then we have as the last resort an air-driven
generator which drops out of the bottom of the fuselage and runs a
motor in the tail, that will provide hydraulic pressure to one of the
systems. So enough redundancy was built into the system to where the
odds were placed at 1 to 10^9th power, or a billion to 1, that complete
hydraulic failure would occur. And that is satisfactory to where it is
considered fail-safe, if I guess is the word.
Well, on July 19th, Murphy's Law caught up with us, and we did lose all
three systems. And as a result, we had no ailerons to bank the
airplane, we had no rudder to turn it it, no elevators to control the
pitch, we had no leading-edge flaps or slats to slow the airplane down,
no trailing-edge flaps for landing, we had no spoilers on the wing, to
help us get down, or help us slow down, once we were on the ground.
And on the ground, we had no steering, nose wheel or tail, and no
brakes. So what we had, is, what we kind of went through today, on one
of the simulators, was the throttles on #1 and #3 engine to control
us. And by manipulating those throttles, we were able to somewhat
control the heading, by skidding the airplane into a turn. And
controlling the pitch was just about out of the question. We kept
saying we think we had the elevators under control. We never had the
elevators under control. We thought we did, but we didn't. And I'll
get into that, when I talk about reaction. So you see, with those two
things to work with--one engine, and the other--just getting the
airplane on the ground was a tremendous piece of luck. Amazing.
Because it has been tried again, and it didn't work. Everything had to
work in the right sequence, and it happened to work, so we got the
airplane, at least, to an airport.
Another piece of luck was where we were. We could have been halfway to
Honolulu, or we could have been over the Rockies, or we could have just
been taking off from, say, New York's Kennedy Airport, right over
Manhattan. So you see the trouble we could have had. As it was, we
were over the relative flatlands over Iowa. And all of us, in the back
of our minds, you heard me on the tape, I had serious doubts as to
making the airport. Well, there were times when all four of us had
serious doubts as to making the airport. But we knew in the back of
our mind that where we were, if we had to ditch, we could probably find
some fairly flat land, and we might have a chance of survival. So that
relieved a lot of pressure on us, in whether or not we were going to
make the airport. At least we could get it on some pretty flat ground,
another piece of luck in our case.
The weather was an amazing piece of luck. I just tried to fly the F-15
simulator under moderate turbulence, and man, if we'd try to control
this DC-10 under any kind of turbulence, we'd never have made it. If
you are familiar in the Midwest, from the Canadian border to the Gulf
of Mexico, in the summer time, there are usually a line of
thunderstorms that are doozies. We had one little build-up that we
went around, but the rest was clear skies. 4500' scattered, and about
ten miles visibility was the weather, so it was amazing that the
weather was that good. A year to the day later, when we went back for
a memorial service, there was a huge thunderstorm over Sioux City,
directly over the airport. Had that been there a year before, we would
never had made the airport. So the weather was a tremendous factor.
The time of day was also very advantageous, in two ways: 1, it was day,
we could see what we were trying to find. To try find an airport
seventy miles away at night over strange territory would be very
difficult. By having, especially if it had been runway 22, because
there are no lights on that runway. It's a closed runway, it's not
used, so the lights are not operative. As it was, it was daytime, we
could see what we were doing, we found the airport four or five miles
out, we were able to see it, and direct ourselves in that general
direction. So that was very important. But more important to the time
of day was that it was right at shift-change time for the hospitals.
Marion health center, which happens to be a regional trauma center, and
St. Luke's, which happens to be a regional burn center, and are both
located in Sioux city, were just changing their shifts, and so they
were double-shifted for our arrival. Not only that, but all the
clinics and health centers around town were all releasing their workers
from work, and of course with a 45-minute notice, about a 30-minute
notice that we were going to Sioux City, that was broadcast on the
radio, and all these emergency services were able to head to the
hospital, they had so many volunteers at the hospital, they had to turn
them away. They had more than they could use.
And the last piece of luck, which turned out to be very fortunate for
the crew, and you'll see why in a minute, it was Wednesday, the one day
of the month when the Air National Guard at Sioux City was on duty, and
285 trained National Guardsmen were at the airport, waiting for us,
when we got there. So, you can see how the luck factor was way up here
for us. Some of the other crews who have had accidents, the luck
factor was down here. Our luck ran out about fifty feet in the air,
but it lasted for a long time.
So luck played a very important part in getting the airplane to Sioux
City, and having the survival rate that we did have.
The second big factor was communications. We had quick response by
ATC, MSP center was the one we were talking to, they quickly turned us
over to this extremely calm young man that you just heard, Kevin
Bockman. He's a controller that happened to be on the radar station at
approach control when we turned it over. I met Kevin personally, at
the White House about a month later, and when I finally could talk to
him--we couldn't say much, the first time we met--but when I finally
could, I learned he had moved to Sioux City because he found his
previous duty station too stressful [laughter]. And he was looking for
something a little quieter. I haven't the foggiest idea where he is
now--he's not in Sioux City.
But the calmness of his voice, the communications with him was
outstanding. The DME did not work at Sioux City that day, and although
it's not on this tape, the cockpit voice recorder shows numerous times
we were asking where we were in relation to the airport and how far out
and he was right there every second giving us every bit of information,
he picked out airports we could go to, runways, highways we could land
on. The highway state patrol even blocked one of the freeways and had
it open for us, if we'd had to land on it, going out to the airport.
Communications in the air was tremendous. Probably what helped us the
most was the fact that the second officer, Dudley Dvorak--I asked him
to get ahold of San Francisco area maintenance, that's maintenance
experts sitting in San Francisco for each type of equipment that United
flies. They have all the computers, all the logbook history, all the
history of the aircraft, all the other information that they can draw
on to help a crew that has a problem. Well, unfortunately, in our
case, there wasn't anything they could help us with. Every time they
tried to find something that we could do, we had either already done
it, or couldn't do it, because we had no hydraulics. The hardest
problem that Dudley had was convincing them that we didn't have any
hydraulics. "Oh, you lost number two," "No, we lost all three," "Oh
you lost number three," "No, we've lost all of them," "Well, number
one and two work," "No," well we went on like this for quite a while,
before he finally convinced them we didn't have anything, and when we
told them that, that was all they could do, and I was a little upset
with them at first, when I first had Dudley stop communicating with
them and turn around for the landing, I was a little ticked, until I
realized how frustrating it must have been for these four or five
people, there, with all those computers, with all the knowledge at
their fingertips, that they could possibly draw on, and there's
absolutely nothing they could do to help a crew. That's got to be
extremely frustrating for them. And I have not yet had a chance to go
down and see them and apologize for what I was thinking, but at least I
didn't say it out loud. [laughter]
But Dudley's communications with them did two things--it alerted our
crisis center in Chicago, and it alerted our dispatch center in
Chicago. And those two facilities, knowing that we were going to Sioux
City, were able to prepare for our arrival in Sioux City. In fact,
they pulled a 727 out of the hangar in Chicago, loaded it with people,
and there just happened to be a meeting in our executive offices that
day, of our union, and the company, and some other people, and all
those people who would be involved in accidents were at the center, and
all they did was run and get on this airplane, and fly to Sioux City,
and they were in Sioux City before I was admitted in my room at the
hospital. So it was very quick response at the company in getting
support people and equipment there, all through the communications that
Dudley was able to do. So that communications was very important.
When we declared an emergency, which Bill did, the copilot, Bill ??
declared an emergency, everything stopped on the ground. Everything
went to us. They cleared the frequency for us, they gave us all the
help they could get. I don't know how many light airplane pilots you
have here today, but I've talked to several groups of several pilots,
and this one you can pass on Mary, they're afraid to say anything, they
don't like to declare an emergency, they're afraid their' going to
cause some problems or something like that. And they said to me, well,
you have all these resources of United Airlines at your disposal, and
the center, and all this. So do you Three words: I'm declaring an
emergency, and you've got it. All the help you want. You've got
American Airline's maintenance facility, United maintenance facility,
if you stay in the air long enough, they'll patch you through to them,
and you can talk to them. So you've got all kinds of help, if you just
do that. Now, if you do that, and then land, and nothing happens,
you've got a lot of reports to fill out, and you're going to have a lot
of airline pilots that are upset at you, especially at a place like
Chicago, because they're out holding, while they're getting you on the
ground. And you'll probably hear about it. But in truth, and when
I've said this, the pilots, yeah, they shake their heads, yeah, they're
going to complain, but they're really glad you made it, and they're
very happy you're able to use the services available to you. So
communicate with the ground, tell them your problem, and they'll help
you. They really will.
The communications in the cockpit among ourselves, we'll talk about
that under reactions, we'll talk about. The communications between the
cockpit and the cabin. Very little, actually, because when I called
the ?? flight attendant up--a very single flight attendant--and she
said she took one look the cockpit and she knew we didn't have an
emergency--we had an enormous crisis. And her thought then was, we're
at altitude, we've got some time, he told me to go back and prepare the
cabin. I'll do that, and I won't bother them. And I'm sure he'll
communicate with me again. And that's what happened. They didn't call
us. We called them when we had a problem, when we were ready to go.
So that the communications, while it was not there, it was good,
because it wasn't necessary. And the training did that.
The inter-communications between response units on the ground, this
tape that you just saw is a six- minute excerpt from a 54-minute tape
called Alert 3, and there's about fifteen minutes of communications on
this tape prior to this crash that you just saw. And there's a lot of
ground communications between emergency response units and the
hospital. Excellent communications in that respect. I'll grant you
that the 20-minute warning time that we gave them, that we were coming
to Sioux City was a great help to them, a great benefit to them. If
any of you serve on emergency rescue stuff, or volunteer fire-fighters,
you know that if you're in station and ready to go, it's a lot better
than being home or something and having to respond. So the twenty
minutes we gave them, they were able to put their disaster plan into
effect. In fact, I believe it was fifteen minutes before we crashed,
the tower changed the alert from alert 2, which is "an aircraft is on
its way with problems," to alert 3. And alert 3 means "an airplane has
crashed." That's how much confidence they had in us. [laughter]. But
fifteen minutes notice of an airplane has crashed. So all the
communications were put into motion for an airplane has crashed. The
hospital was notified. They called Des Moine and said we were going to
need more medical supplies. They were actually loading another Air
National Guard plane in Des Moine and took it off shortly after we
crashed, heading to the airport with supplies. So, communications and
advance notice. Very, very important.
The preparation: how do you prepare for something like this? I gave a
talk at Anchorage to the Alaska Air Safety Foundation and they
subtitled my talk: disaster in the air, are you ready? No, you're
never ready. But you might be prepared. And that's one of the reasons
that I'm going around the country doing this, hoping that I can get the
message out to be prepared. And the preparation for the ground crew,
for the emergency rescue unit was: in 1987 they had a drill, they
pretended a wide- body aircraft crashed on this closed runway at Sioux
City, and they had 150 survivors, and they had this drill, and they
found some shortcomings in the drill, which most drills do. They have
these once every three years, FAA mandated, live drill, and a paper
drill every year, and this was their year for their drill, and they
decided to have a crash. They'd had a bus crash from the time before.
So in this airplane crash, they found a lot of things they were short.
One, they didn't take in enough community. If you're going to have 150
survivors, you're going to need more equipment than the class of
airport that Sioux City is. It's not classified for wide-bodied
aircraft, so they don't have to have quite the emergency response units
that larger airports would have. So they had to rely on the outlying
communities. And Gary Brown, the director of services, brought the
community people in, made them a part of his plan. They attended the
meetings, they attended the practices that they were having, everybody
was putting their input into this plan.
He also brought in a very important unit, the Post-Traumatic Stress
Unit. Now, I was never one to believe much in post-traumatic stress.
I had heard it a lot in WWII, from Korean, and Vietnam veterans, and I
thought, well, okay, if such a thing exists, I'll let it go, because I
don't really believe it. I believe it now. And I'm asking you to
believe it. It may never happen to you--I'm fortunate enough not to
have suffered PTS--yet. But it can happen tomorrow. I was a little
concerned about flying simulators under these conditions because I was
afraid it might key something up. But no problem. I've been very
fortunate. But it does exist. And it exists. It happens to not just
victims of the crash. The 185th suffered a tremendous amount of PTS.
So did the people of Sioux City. So did the staff of the hospital. So
PTS has to start at the scene of the accident. Fortunately, Sioux City
was prepared for that. It was part of their preparation in getting the
things done. Because even though they'd practiced this wide-bodied
aircraft that they didn't have, on July 19, we put a wide- bodied
aircraft on the very same runway they used for practice, and we gave
them 200 survivors to start with, instead of 150, so having a drill,
having a plan, and taking it seriously, and working on it, is very,
very important for any community, no matter what size you are, or who
Up in Alaska, a lot of the pilots said, well you know, we're up here in
the bush, and we don't have these things. They're the main
trans-continental stop for aircraft going to Japan. And an aircraft is
not going to happen right over the major airport. It can happen
anywhere out in the tules. I'm not calling Sioux City a tule, I'd
never do that, [laughter] but in Alaska, you've got a lot of that up
there. But it can happen anywhere, so everybody has to be as prepared
as they can be. And they were on the ground at Sioux City.
They had a plan that they worked on, and they left some flexibility
open in it that it could be changed, and when we get to the reaction,
I'll talk about that also.
The flight attendants: they were prepared by their training that we
have at Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. That's where flight
attendants have their recurrent training. They go back once a year,
they go through all the emergency drill preparation, how to open the
doors, what they're all supposed to do, how to prepare the cabin, how
to prepare the passengers. We have a 767 simulator in Denver that
they've got about 40 seats in. And we'd go down there in one of the
sessions, and we'd sit in that simulator and several of the attendants
are assigned the job of working and about somewhere on takeoff or
shortly after takeoff we have a crash. The simulator tips over on its
side, it fills up with smoke, it darkens just like it would on an
airplane, there's fires outside some of some of the doors, it's very
realistic, and it's the kind of training that they give the flight
attendants, and it paid off. Each one of them, in a tape they made
later, said the training that we had, the training that we had, they
kept saying it. So training is very very important. Sometimes boring,
sometimes repetitious, but it's very important.
As for the crew, there was no training procedure for hydraulic
failure. Complete hydraulic failure. We've all been through one
failure or double failures, but never a complete hydraulic failure. But
the preparation that paid off for the crew was something that United
started in 1980 called Cockpit Resource Management, or Command
Leadership Resource Training, or any number of things that you want to
call it. I think we called it CLR to start with. All the other
airlines are now using it. Up until 1980, we kind of worked on the
concept that the captain was THE authority on the aircraft. What he
said, goes. And we lost a few airplanes because of that. Sometimes
the captain isn't as smart as we thought he was. And we would listen
to him, and do what he said, and we wouldn't know what he's talking
about. And we had 103 years of flying experience there in the cockpit,
trying to get that airplane on the ground, not one minute of which we
had actually practiced, any one of us. So why would I know more about
getting that airplane on the ground under those conditions than the
other three. SO if I hadn't used CLR, if we had not let everybody put
their input in, it's a cinch we wouldn't have made it. It was, I don't
know if any of you remember the old movie Marty, I kind of refer to
that, it was Ernest Borgnine, and a group of his cronies, trying to
find something to do on a Saturday night, and they said, what do you
want to do Marty, and he said, i don't know, what do you want to do
Joe, and that's kind of the way we flew the airplane now. What do you
want to do, I don't know, and let's try this, and you think that'll
work, beats me, and that's about the way it went, really. If you read
the cockpit voice recorder transcript, there's a lot of that on there.
When are we going to put the gear down, I don't know, how are we going
to put it down, well, we do two things, two ways to get it down, which
one we're going to use, that type of thing. So CLR really paid off.
And CLR is being taken out into other areas. I think it was originally
a management course anyway, but now it's being spread all over. I'm
going next year to Harrisburg, PA to talk to the Nuclear Power
Association. Because they are beginning the CLR concept in their
control rooms. There have five stations in a control room. You have a
nuclear disaster, you want those people working together, you don't
want them working separately. So CLR that we had really prepared the
crew for what happened.
If you recall the zip-top 737 over at Hawaii, the Aloha, Bob and Mimi
used CLR to its utmost, because they could not communicate with each
other. They used hand signals to point the things they wanted to do.
That's how they got that airplane on the ground. Flight 811, the 747
out of Honolulu, on its way to Sidney, blew the cargo door and lost two
engines on the right side, and did damage to the flaps and hydraulics,
they used CLR to get the airplane back to Honolulu. They had a grossly
overweight airplane that couldn't maintain altitude with two engines
out on one side, and by using CLR and the crew working together, and
everybody putting their input in, they got the airplane back. The days
of the captain being the ultimate authority is gone. He may be the
authority on the airplane, he may sign for the papers and all this, but
you don't work that way.
I think Sister Margaret (?? Wicks) said it the best, she's from Sioux
City's (Briar Cliff ??) College, I'll talk about her in a minute, her
statement was, when you've got a crisis like this, and got so many
diverse things going on, let those in charge take charge. Don't let
one individual try to run the whole show. Let those who know how to do
their specialties handle those things, and you'll get things done, and
that's what happened.
Execution: how did we execute? Well, first of all, how did we do it in
the air? Not having any experience at all in flying an airplane under
those conditions, our basic problem was keeping the airplane in the sky
and trying to find an airport. Besides losing all of our hydraulics,
which gave us no control, we had two other problems, a problem that I
was not really familiar with, maybe you are, I know an awful lot of you
are engineers here, is a term called "phugoid." What a phugoid is, an
airplane wants to fly its trim speed. And as soon as you cut power on
one engine, you lose speed, the nose drops, airspeed starts to build,
you'll go through that speed, the nose will come back up, you'll go
through the speed again on the slow side, and you'll just oscillate
like this. Maybe you can stop it, maybe you can't. The way you have
to stop it, is, we found out. Not as much as we know now, a lot of
this is after-the-fact knowledge, we weren't this smart in the air.
But we found that in order to stop a phugoid, you had to do the
opposite of what you would normally do. When the aircraft reached its
apex and started down, you had to add power, as the speed built up,
you'd have to actually add power to create lift in the wings to get the
nose to pitch up. The hardest thing to do though was as the nose start
up and started to slow down, and you're approaching a stall, you'd have
to close the throttles. And that's very difficult to do. We found
out, though, that's what we had to do. Another thing that added to our
problem, though, was that the damage to the tail was such that the
aircraft constantly wanted to roll to the right. If we left the power
alone, the aircraft would roll over. When the engine failed, Bill
immediately took hold of the aircraft. Bill is the copilot 26 years
flying, he's been with National/Pan Am, came over to United when we
acquired the Pacific flying. Very competent pilot, I'd flown with him
a month before, had no qualms about him flying at all. And when he
grabbed ahold of the yoke, he demonstrated step one in any emergency
procedure: that somebody fly the airplane.
We've lost several airplanes because everybody was working on the
problem and nobody was flying the airplane. One of them was down in
the Everglades. Everybody was working on the problem and the airplane
flew into the ground. Not to criticise the pilots, because everybody
wants to do their share to get the problem solved. But somebody has
got to fly the airplane. Bill immediately took hold of the airplane,
immediately called ATC and said we lost an engine and had to get a
lower altitude, was turning off the airway, all those things you're
supposed to do. So my attention now is diverted to Dudley to shut the
At United we don't use much memory items in emergency procedures, we
use mostly checklists, and severe engine failure in flight is all
textbook. So Dudley got out his book and the first thing it said was,
close the throttle. And when I tried to pull the throttle back, it
wouldn't come back. Now, I've never shut an engine down in flight on a
jet, so I didn't know that when you pulled the throttle back, it didn't
come back. In the simulator, when you do it, it always came back.
This one wouldn't come back. Dave says, well, try the fuel. The next
step is to shut the fuel off. I tried to shut the fuel off, and the
fuel lever wouldn't move. So something was binding these controls. So
now we know the damage to the tail, there's damage back there other
than just the engine failing. We did get the fuel shutoff by pulling
down on the firewall shutoff. Which shut off all the electrics and
hydraulics to the engine. And then the fuel went off, whether it was
coincidental, or it had actually helped it, I don't know, but about
that time, it went off. Well, now we'd been about 15 or 20 seconds
into our problem. And bill says to me, Al, I can't control the
airplane. Now I divert my attention from down here, shutting down the
engine, to up here, on the instrument panel. First thing I notice is,
Bill had full left aileron control, calling for a full left turn.
You'd never see that anywhere on a DC-10, much less at 35,000'. He's
also got the yoke right back in his lap. And the only time to do that
is to do that is to embarrass the captain on the ground and hit the
captain in his fat stomach before he can get it out of the way. That's
never there in the air. So that catches my attention real quick. But
what really got my attention was will a full left turn called for, and
a full nose up called for, we were in a descending right turn. And I
tell all pilots around that this is when I said the dumbest thing I've
ever said in my life, I said, "I got it." I didn't have it very long.
Because we immediately determined that we could not control the
airplane: it wouldn't respond to the inputs of the crew. At this time,
we were in a right bank, the bank was increasing, we were up to 38
degrees of bank, we closed the #1 throttle completely, and firewalled
the #3 throttle, and very slowly, the wing came back up. And three
times on our attempt to get to the ground, we got to 38 degrees of
bank, and we were doing just what those who were running those tests I
went to this morning to just fly an airplane with just the throttles,
we were overpowering the airplane, over-controlling because panic was
one thing, although we didn't appear to be panicked, not having any
idea what we were doing was another, and an airplane about to roll onto
its back at 35,000' is pretty scary, so you just do anything you can to
make it stop.
But by manipulating the throttles this way we kept the wings fairly
level--for a while--then we had to start down. Well, we felt--like
everyone else--that this cannot happen--you cannot lose all the
hydraulics in a -10. That's been told us from time when. When we
first sat down and they said this isn't hooked up to anything (as you
move the wheel) we said, well, what's going to make this fly, in case
it, well--it can't, it can't happen, it--just, you can't lose your
hydraulics. And we believed it like everybody else. And now while we
were reasonably sure we weren't accomplishing anything with the yoke,
we kept flying the yoke. The problem is, it kept both of us, to fly
the yoke. We couldn't do it, just one of us couldn't do it. Now in
flying the yoke with both hands, and all four hands, now we had to
operate the throttles, and we had to do them, let go of the yoke, move
a throttle, let go of the yoke, move a throttle, and so forth. Had we
known what we know now, I don't know if we would let go of the yoke
even now. To let go of the yoke completely is extremely difficult to
do. After almost 40 years of flying airplanes and holding onto
something, not having something to hold on to--I don't know if we could
do that. But what we found out is that it was very difficult to move
the throttles. And I was about to have Dudley turn around and take
over the throttles--and I'm glad we didn't because we would have lost
all that communications, if he had--we were told there was a DC-10
captain in the back, who was an instructor, and we like to think
instructors know more than we do--so I figured maybe Denny knew
something that we didn't, so we asked Captain Fisch to come up. Well,
he took one look at the cockpit, and that's his knowledge. It was sort
of funny listening to, reading the transcript, because he's about
fifteen minutes behind us now, and he's trying to catch up, and
everything he says to do we've already done. And after about five
minutes--that's 20 minutes into this operation--he says, "We're in
trouble!" We thought: that's an amazing observation, Denny
[laughter]. And we kid him about it, but he's just trying to catch up
with our thinking--we're 15 min. ahead of him, but he asks--when he
found out that he didn't have any knowledge for us, he says, "Now, what
can I do?" I said, you can take these throttles, and try to help us
with the throttles. So what he did, he stood between us--not kneel on
the floor, as the news media said--and he took one throttle in each
hand, and now he could manipulate the throttles together. With the #2
throttle frozen, we couldn't get ahold of the throttles together. Now
he could. And we said, give us a right bank, bring the wing up, that's
too much bank, try to stop the altitude, he'd try to respond. And
after a few minutes of doing this, everything we'd do with the yoke, he
could correspond with the throttles. So it was a synchronized thing
between the three of us, with Dudley still being able to do all his
communications. So that's how we operated the airplane, and that's how
we got it on the ground.
And if I can have the slides on now, I'll show you how we got it on the
ground. That's why we can't call it a landing.
This the pattern we flew. That's the radar tracking we flew. We are
coming along like this and were just turning back toward Debuke, Iowa,
when we lost the engine. And this straight line, reasonably straight
line that we fly here, here's the line of just trying to keep the
airplane upright, while we were trying to figure what was going on.
Somewhere up in here, and I can't see it from here, there's three very
definite slash-marks, and that's where the airplane almost went over on
its back. As Denny came up and took over, and we began to descend, and
we determined now we were going to Sioux City, they wanted us to go to
Des Moines, and that was over 170 miles away, and there was no way we
were going to keep the airplane in the air that long. So when we
declared an emergency, and they gave us the nearest suitable airport,
it was only 70 miles away, now we had to get down, and we did that
through this series of right turns. Some of these we did, others the
airplane did on its own, and all we did was keep it from doing any
more. So we made these right turns. When the NTSB came in to talk to
us, they said, why did you make a left turn? And all four of us said
we never made a left turn. Even though I said we were starting a left
turn back to the airport, we all four swore we never made a left
turn. That looks like a left turn [laughter]. And what we determined
was, we remembered then, after a while that we all four remembered that
there was a build-up about right there, and we had to get around that
build-up, not go through it. So we did that. This, right there, is
that last 360 degree right turn, we were too low for the radar to pick
it up. Then we came in.
There's the airport for Sioux City, Sioux City gateway airport. This
is runway 22, this is runway 31. What Kevin was trying to do, since we
could only make right turns was bring us in, the city was right down
here somewhere. Bring us in this way, a right turn, into the runway.
The way things turned out, it was probably good we didn't do it. Had
we been able to make the runway, at the end of runway 31 was the
Missouri river. So we might have been better off had we not been able
to stop or something, to land on something like this. When I asked the
runway was, he doesn't say so on the tape, but he did tell us how long
it was, 6600', and then he said at the end was a wide-open field. So
our scenario was, probably what we do was land, and hopefully stay on
our gear, go off the end of the runway, shear our gear, and go on our
belly. If we did go sideways, since we couldn't steer it, and we did
have a quartering tail-wind that was turning us left to right across
the runway, we might go off into the field and shear it en route. We
kind of hoped we would do that. We came pretty close to the runway.
We got the right wing tip in the center of the runway, the right main
gear off to the side. We touched down on the right wing tip, the wing
flap fairing, the #3 engine, the one on the right side, the right wing
gear, and the nose wheel, all pretty much simultaneously. The right
wing broke off--that's the reason for the fire here, spilling all the
fuel. The right main gear separated from the airplane. The left gear
stayed on. And the airplane slammed on the ground, and we did not hit
and cartwheel, like all the news says. We hit and slid on the ground,
on the left main gear and the right wing stub. Slid along sideways,
for about 2000' or so, when the left wing came up. Also, on impact,
the tail broke off, the entire tail section of the aircraft broke off,
so there's no weight in the tail at all. So when the left wing came
up--probably because of our speed--the tail came up. the aircraft went
up on its nose, bounced on the runway three times, on the nose, leaving
radome marks on the runway. We went upside down and airborne about
right here. We were thinking--even that tape that you see there,
that's all we have in the way of tape, and nobody really remembers, and
there was so much fire and smoke that nobody could tell. We hit right
about here, and upside down. And fortunately for us, the cockpit broke
off, and unfortunately for the first-class cabin. And then the
aircraft went over on its back and skidded to a halt right over here.
This is our point of impact, where the right main gear touched down.
That concrete is 12" thick, and the hole is 18" deep. You normally
land the DC-10 at approximately 140 knots. We were doing 215 kts and
accelerating. You normally touch down at about 200-300 feet per minute
at the most, as a rate of descent. We were doing 1850 feet per
minute. And increasing. And you normally like to go straight down the
runway, and we were drifting left and right because of the quartering
tail-wind. Of ten knots, which gave us ten knots more of speed, as we
hit the ground.
I'm showing you these for several reasons. One, is to show you that
you can survive an airplane crash, because we had survivors in that
piece of wreckage. That's the first-class cabin. We actually had one
of our dead-heading pilots sitting in the back of the first-class cabin
go out a window. I said, you can't go out a window. He said, yes you
can. [laughter] When you realize you're upside down and the thing's on
fire, you can get out a window. [laughter]. We did lose most of these
people, unfortunately, but they did survive. Some of them did survive
This is the tail section of the aircraft, which, shows it more better
here. It broke off, and went straight down the runway, while most of
the rest of the aircraft curved off to the right. We had about four
row, three or four rows of seats right here, and two flight attendants,
who survived this part of the accident. I've always been concerned
about a DC-10, it's concerned me that the engine, sitting on top of the
tail, as it was, if the engine blew, you might lose the whole tail.
Well, after all that happened to this airplane, that engine housing is
still sitting there. So Douglas put that on to stay.
It's the main portion of the aircraft, it's upside down, and it burned,
of course, after the fire. This is the forward part of the aircraft,
and this is the aft portion. And this is where most of our survivors
came from. Unfortunately, 34 were trapped back in here, and died due
to smoke inhalation, but most came from right here.
In case you don't recognize that, that's the cockpit. There's no
metal, no glass, nothing to indicate that's the cockpit. They're
guessing that 35 minutes after the crash, we were ignored. They felt
that was an uninhabitable part of the avionics compartment. Because
all that was holding that airplane together was the wires. Or holding
that piece of stuff together was the wires. That gentleman in the blue
hat is talking to me. The gentleman without his hat on is talking to
the copilot, Bill ?? and you can see a little bit of Bill's shirt right
there, and the four of us are right there. And that area is normally
about ten feet high. Counting the cockpit and the avionics
compartment. That's directly behind my seat. So that's where we are.
In the rescue operation, They came in and tried the jaws of life. They
put it on Bill's side, and as they did it put pressure on my side. And
I happened to be conscious at the time. And I strongly recommended
they stop doing that [laughter]. So they came on to my side, and try
my side, and Bill did the same thing. Bill's seat had collapsed, the
back of the seat, with him inside it. He had eight broken ribs, two
broken ribs, and a broken pelvis. So he was in a little bit of pain.
So what they did was they came up with the idea to bring a fork-lift
over, and run the chains, the heavy chains you saw, straight down, and
lift the cockpit straight up. And by doing this raised the cockpit to
this height, and pulled us all out of the bottom. That's how they got
us out of the airplane.
And to say a lot for Douglas and the seat manufacturers, that's my
seat. All four of the seats stayed together. All four of the
seatbelts and harnesses--they had to cut us out to get us out. That's
the only thing that saved our lives, I'm sure, was that those belts
That was the reaction of the crew, how we got the airplane on the
How did the ground people react? Well, the ground crew did exactly
what they had been trained to do. By having advance notice they were
in the position to put all the aircraft, all the emergency vehicles in
a spot in a designated area, and then dispatch them as they were
needed. We only gave them two minutes to line up for runway 22. They
were all set up for runway 31. And when I told Kevin we saw this
runway ahead of us, and that's where we were going to land, he had two
minutes to get the equipment off the runway. They were actually
positioned on that runway, and we could see them moving off that
runway. That's the reason the video is no better than it was. With
all the notice we had, everyone was set up for runway 31. The two
hangars that are built right off to the left of runway 22 were built
after the airport was closed, and you can't see the runway from the
tower. And that's where the operator was. So he went clearing down
the steps, and if you've ever tried to get down tower steps in a hurry,
it's a long way down, and that's as far as he could get, before we got
The first part of the video was taken by a home video camera, showing
us in the air.
But that picture in the air is very deceiving. It looks like we have
everything pretty much in control. We were starting a down phugoid,
and starting a right bank, 300' in the air. And we just, that's where
our luck ran out. We just ran out of altitude, trying to correct it.
We had the time in the air, trying to correct it. But that close to
the ground, we didn't have time. In an attempt to stop the phugoid and
the turn, Dennis added power, and unfortunately the left engine spooled
up faster than the right, the first time in the day we noticed that it
happened, and the bank increased. And in four seconds, we went from
four degrees of right bank, to twenty degrees of right bank, and hit
the ground. However, safety experts say the tumbling of the aircraft
probably saved a lot of lives. It took up most of the inertia, most of
the shock, and allowed the people to get out of the airplane.
But we were talking about reaction, now. The emergency crews responded
as they were trained to do. The preparation was the big thing in their
reaction time. The tower switching to the alert three way ahead of
time really set the wheels in motion, and their reaction there was such
that they knew it was going to be bad, and they were able to start that
We had at the hospital an unusual situation. There were so many
doctors there, and nurses, that the director was trying to figure out
what to do with all these people. So came up with an idea: he formed a
line, and he put a doctor, a nurse, and a tech, and they formed a line,
regardless of the doctor's specialty, they all had medical training, so
it didn't matter what it was. They had psychiatrists, they had
obstetricians, pediatricians, they had everything in this line. And
then when they brought the ambulance up, and pulled the gurney out of
the ambulance, well, this survivor already been through triage at the
airport, he already had EMT care all the way in to the hospital, and
now he had a doctor, a nurse, and a tech on him immediately, and they
stayed with him until they were either sent to a room, released, or
whatever was done with them. So the medical care was instantaneous and
continuous, and that was through a preparation, and little bit of
flexibility that the plan had that they could use in it.
The other flexibility in the plan was: where was everybody going to
stay. I usually get in rouble with the media for saying this, but with
that notice that came out that we were going into Sioux City, CNN had
broadcast that there was an aircraft was over Sioux City, and on its
way in, and that there was a problem. And all the news media was very
interested in this. So they reserved all the rooms in all the hotels
in Sioux City. So when the survivors started getting through, and
being released several hours later, there was no place to put them.
And one of the doctors at St. Lukes looked up at Briar Cliff college,
which sits up here on a hill overlooking Sioux City, and call Sister
Margaret Wicks, and see if she could do anything. It was summer, and
they had a skeleton crew there of a small summer staff. Yeah, she did
something. By nightfall, she had 250 people in her dormitory. The
reaction of everybody was just fantastic.
Which brings us to the fourth thing, the fifth one, rather, the
cooperation. The cooperation that took place was outstanding. Just
unbelievable. First of all, we start with us in the cockpit. The team
effort with the four of us. This is Dudley Dvorak, the second
officer. This is his first month in the DC-10. He had just had his
initial operating experience flight. This was his first time in the
10. Bill ?? has flown a lot of 1011's for Pan Am, and he flew 1011's
for United when he first came over, and then switched to the DC-10, lot
of experience in three-engined aircraft, but none in what we were
doing. But that was his experience. Mine, I had about 7,000 hours in
the DC-10. I spent about nine years as a copilot in the DC-10. I was
flying to Honolulu, and was getting 14 days a month on the beach at ??
at the company expense, and I saw no reason to go to work, I stayed as
a copilot. laughter But I had a lot of time in the 10. Denny was a
DC-10 instructor, but what we didn't know was it was his first or
second month as an instructor in the 10. But what we had was, as I
said, was 103 years of experience, but that showed in the way we
reacted to the problem. The way we cooperated with each other, in
getting things done. Everybody throwing out a suggestion. And when it
came time to put the gear time, it was one of the big problems
that--not problems, but the way we used CLR, and cooperation with the
crew. There are two ways we can get the gear down on the DC-10 with
hydraulic failure. You can put the gear handle down, which manually
unlocks the doors and the doors fall open and the gear just falls out,
because it's been resting on the doors. Or, there's an alternate
method of doing that, when you use no flaps. Because we have four
ailerons on the DC- 10. You fly with the inboard ailerons at high
speed, and then you unlock the outboard ailerons for landing when you
lower the flaps. Well, we didn't have any flaps. So we couldn't
unlock the outboard ailerons. So that's what this alternate gear
method is for. And we talked about this: how do we put the gear down,
and it was suggested, we unlock with the outboard ailerons, with the
alternate gear, because there might be something out there, because we
might be able to get some fluid out there, there might be some trapped
out there. So this was all talked about. The one thing we all agreed
upon was that the gear was going down. Because we had to have a shock
absorber. Something had to absorb that shock. With the rate of
descents that we had, I was afraid if we had touched down as we did
without the gear, we would have just exploded. And if we'd had a
higher rate of descent than we had, because we had higher rates of
descents somewhere during this time, than we actually had when we
touched down. So the gear was going down but the CLR and cooperation
of the crew on how to do it.
The cooperation between the cabin and the cockpit crew was very very
good. We had some communications gaps there because of our attention
to duty that we could not turn. I never turned around to the flight
attendant, looked at her while I talked. In fact, when the second day
after the accident, I asked to go see the rest of the crew, and they
put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me down to intensive care where bill
and Dudley were, I mean Bill and Dennis, and as they were taking me to
Dennis Fitch's room, this captain came up to help us, and I thought, if
there's more than one captain in the room, I won't know what he looked
like. He stood right here, for thirty minutes, and sat down, and
worked the throttles for us for landing, and I haven't the foggiest
idea what the man looked like, because I never looked back and looked
at him. But he was the only one in the room, so it made it a little
easier to find out who he was. But that's the way our communications
was--we had to communicate without looking at each other. The aide
came up and did her thing, went back. The cooperation among her
group--the procedure for United is, when you're going to have an
emergency preparation, you call all the flight attendants together, the
aide does, the senior flight attendant, she briefs them, then they go
out to their duty demonstrations, and demonstrate, and tell what they
want done. When this engine blew, it was so loud, and so violent--they
even heard it on the ground-- everyone in the aircraft knew. Besides
that, I had channel 9 on, and everyone with a headset on channel nine
knew we'd lost an engine because they were listening to ATC.
Fortunately, I got it off, before we got to the really bad stuff. One
of the survivors even commented, "We were listening until the captain
turned us off," he says. They didn't know how badly we really were
until we told them later. But, what Jan decided to do was, go back
there, and brief each station individually. Because, bringing everyone
together, she thought, would upset the passengers. Any more than they
already were. And by their doing this, the cooperation between them
and the passengers was outstanding. It was children's day
unfortunately, on United, we had some 30 children on the airplane, a
lot of them traveling by themselves. What the flight attendants did
were ask the adults to move, so that there was at least one adult
sitting next to every child. And the passengers cooperated without
hesitation. When they selected the people to sit by the emergency
exits, they all responded very quickly. Great cooperation. And when
the airplane crashed--after the crash--several of the flight attendants
were assisted getting out of their harness by the passengers. Because
they were upside down in their harnesses as well as their belt and they
couldn't get the belt to loosen. John Trance who helped one of them
out, Gary Priest who helped one of them out. You've heard--I KNOW you
remember this story, I'm sure you do if I recall it. There was an
infant, that was separated from her parents. And one of our survivors,
Gary (Schimel ??), was just leaving the airplane, getting out of that
thing, full of smoke, fire ?? and he hard the baby crying. And he went
back into the airplane, searching for the baby, found her in an
overhead bin, she'd actually been thrown up into an overhead bin, and
took her out. So that's the kind of way the passengers responded and
cooperated with everybody.
I've talked about what ATC did, I've talked about what the 185th, how
they helped. The surrounding areas. They actually called these
outlying cities, when we said we might not make the airport, and said
there's a DC-10 headed your way, coming for the airport, and they'd
actually dispatch trucks out to the highway, to look for us, so if they
found us, and we didn't make the airport, at least there'd be somebody
there. I'm not familiar with mutual aid too much, but I know it
exists, and I've seen pictures where a fire truck is sitting on a
county line while a house across the street burns because they don't
have mutual aid. They threw mutual aid out the window: they didn't
even consider it. That was part of their plan: that they wouldn't
worry about mutual aid, we'll have response, then we'll worry about the
mutual aid end of it, who's going to get paid for what they did. And
that's the way they cooperated with each other.
Marion Health Center, their north campus, which is their mental health
campus, their emergency post-traumatic stress program. I was asked,
did you get any therapy while you were in the hospital? I said no, I
don't think so. They said, no psychiatrists or psychologists came? I
said oh yeah, but all they did was come to the room and talk.
[laughter] Then it dawned on me just exactly what therapy is. I--when
I woke up in the hospital, when I first really remembered what was
going on, there was a gentleman holding my hand. Of course, the next
thing I looked for was the security guard with my wallet, and he had it
in his hand. But this guy was holding my hand, and he said, "I'm
doctor (Pensy ??), I'm the staff psychologist." And he was with me
from the time I woke up until the last person I saw when I left the
hospital before I left the car was doctor Pensy. So I had therapy from
day one. Because all of us had guilt complexes. Several guilt
complexes. One was this: the captain of the flight, I had felt a
responsibility for the accident, but that's this they had to convince
us that, really, there wasn't a lot more that we could have done in the
airplane to do it, and it took some time, because we all had guilt
complexes about this.
And we all had the why me syndrome. Why did 112 people die, and 184
survive? How do we decide who lives, who dies? Why me? Why did I
survive? And that's another thing, that's one of the biggest problems
of post-traumatic stress. So that's what everybody was working on.
But the cooperation there was tremendous. The people of Sioux City, or
Sioux-Land, as they like to be called, since it's a four-state area,
they cooperated, they headed to the airport immediately. And they
didn't go out there to see what was going on. They had with them food,
blankets, clothes, where ever they could be sent to take it. They
ended up at Briar Cliff. Often in their cars. A lot of people stayed
in their homes. A lot of people offered their homes for the night.
[click] Does anyone know what that was? I jump at noises, sudden
noises. [laughter] Anyway, they offered their cars, they took the
clothes from the people that were soiled by the dirt, by the farmland,
took them home, washed them, brought them back. They just did
everything. Over 400 people lined up at the blood bank to give blood,
and there was no call for blood, there was no announcement that we need
blood, get out there, they were there, they had to turn them away, they
had so many. The cooperation of the people
United Airlines, the cooperation they gave everyone, I was very
impressed with that. A lot of people, were upset at first, there
weren't enough people from United to take care of survivors. Well, we
have about a five or six person staff at Sioux City. Well, what United
did, when they knew this plane was going to crash, they pulled ticket
agents, passenger agents, reservations clerks, right off their jobs at
San Fran, Seattle, wherever they could, threw them on the first
available airplane, without even going home, and headed them to Sioux
City. So by the next morning, or the middle of the next day, they had
at least one United employee for every family that was there. And I
think any airline does that, I'm not just saying that's United's
doing. But the cooperation of United with everyone else and us was
good. They kind of turned us over to the union. The Airline Pilots
Association and the Association of Flight Attendants kind of handled
us, relieved the company of any responsibility there. One of the
biggest responsibilities is the press. We were not in any condition to
talk to the press. We were the survivors of this spectacular crash, so
the press wanted to talk to us. The ALPA hired a policeman, they him
on my door, they put him on Dudley's door. They didn't need them on
Bill and Denny's, they were in intensive care, and you can't get down
there anyway. But I often wondered if that policeman was on my door to
keep me in or keep the press out, but whatever it was, it worked.
Because, they left us alone. That's why at the end of five days, we
had to hold a press conference because we had held the press at bay,
and they were entitled to an interview and to a talk. And so we held a
press conference and did it that way. But the cooperation from the two
unions was great.
I've talked about how well the passengers did. But the best help, I
think, came later. And that came from our families, and our friends.
And this is where you can come in, if you know anyone that has had any
kind of a crisis, or any kind of a trauma in their life. I had a lot
of people tell me, I didn't call you, because I felt you were going to
be so busy, that I didn't want to bother you. You're not bothering
anybody. If somebody has a crisis or has a trauma, help them: call
them, tell them that you're there. Maybe they won't talk to you, maybe
someone else will answer the phone. That's all right. At least, give
them a call, let them know you're thinking about them. Let them know
you're concerned about them, because that's part of the healing
process. Talking about it is part of the healing process. This is my
52nd speech on 232. Every time I give it--and I've talked to the
doctors about this, and I've asked the psychiatrists about this--every
time I give it, I think I convince myself just a little bit more that
there was nothing else I could do. And it's part of my healing
process. To not talk about it, to bury your head in the sand and
pretend it didn't happen, you're going to explode someday. So, if
somebody wants to talk about a trauma, listen to them. If they want
you to talk, you talk about it, and listen to them. But be there for
them, and help them. That's very important.
Having a response program is very important. And I'll close--I want to
make a statement about that, as I close. But first of all, they said
we had a little time for questions, if any of you have specific
questions you'd like answered, I'll try to answer them for you. Don't
get too technical on me, now. But if you have some, I'd be happy to
try to answer it. Anybody have any? We're going to ask you to step up
to the microphone, if you don't mind. That's going to cut down on the
questions, see. [laughter] It also does that, too.
Q: What is your personal opinion of the DC-10 aircraft?
H: I love it. It's a great airplane, I've enjoyed flying it. I've
flown it, I said, for 9 years as a copilot, and I'll end up flying it
four years as a captain. It's my favorite airplane. It's a pilot's
airplane. It's an old man's airplane. You just have to have one good
finger and you can fly a lot of it, [laughter] Nothing wrong with the
copilot, you just have to switch hands, which may be kind of
difficult. No, I love it. It's a great airplane. I have every
confidence in the world in MDC and GE, and this is something that
happened, and it's going to happen to any airplane--it's happened to
almost any airplane. Maybe not exactly the same thing. It's happened
to a '47, it's happened to an L-1011, similar. I love the airplane.
Q: What do you think of the mandatory age 60 retirement law?
H: I get that every time. Well, this is kind of not the way to answer
your question, but since I'm going to be sixty, this is great. This is
not United, this is not ALPA, this is not even a lot of my friends,
this is just me. My feeling. As we get older, we hate to admit it,
but things happen to us. We forget things, we react slowly to things.
A young pilot can react a lot faster than an older pilot. He may react
wrong. The senior pilot, the experienced pilot may wait a second and
do the right thing, so they kind of balance each other out. But we do
things as we get older that I'm not so sure our physicals can pick up.
A very dear friend of mine was having trouble remembering things. The
crews he was flying with accused him of early senility, or drinking on
layovers. When they finally diagnosed him, after about a year, they
found a tumor the size of an orange in the back of his brain. So all
this is going on, anytime this is happening in this year, he could have
had a very serious situation at a very critical time, and we could have
had problems. This doesn't just happen to 55 year olds, this happens
to 30 year olds, I know. Until we come up with a very definite way to
check the medical aspects of a person as he gets older, and until we
find a way to check the ability of a pilot--as you get older, you might
lose some of your abilities, rather than gain some. And you can also
fake it. Any pilot, on any given day, can pass a a checkride. And the
best pilot in the world in a given day can flunk a checkride. When you
get into that situation, you get into an extended program of trying to
test his competency. SO until we have a better way to test the
competency, and a better way to test the mental and physical aspects of
an individual, I think we need an age to stop. I think that's the best
way to do it, just pick an age. We're going to hurt some people. I
just met the other day, or a couple of months ago, a guy down in CA,
he's 82 years old, he just decided it was time to retire as a teacher
of acrobatic flying. And he was sharp as a tack. He didn't wear
glasses, could hear, didn't wear a hearing aid, and everything else.
But he's a freak of nature [laughter]. Well, he's like Nolan Ryan.
Nolan Ryan, if you're a baseball fan, is a freak of nature. Nobody 42
years old should be able to throw as hard as he does, and last as long
as he does, and most pitchers don't. Yeager is another one. Most his
age don't have the eyesight Yeager has, and the hearing Yeager has, and
all this sort of thing. But they're exceptions to the rule. The rule
is, somewhere along the line you should stop. Now, I don't care if
it's sixty. Right after I retire, they can make it 65, it's ok with
me. But somewhere along the line, we have to have a place to stop. If
they can come up with good medicals, and good things, then go ahead.
But I think the cost, and everything else--we're all looking at the
bottom line, and it's just not worth it. Anybody else?
Q: Have you done any commercial flying since?
H: Yes. I went back to work Halloween night, as a matter of fact
[laughter]. Three months after the accident, I went back to work.
Dudley came back a week later, Bill came back two weeks later. Dennis,
unfortunately, severed a nerve in his hand that controlled the motor
function of his hand. Along with that, he broke his arm, and they had
to put a plate in. While in therapy to fix the arm, the plate broke,
and they had to redo the plate. And so he's been out almost a year,
just waiting for the arm to heal. But I just head that all of us are
back, including the flight attendants. I would have gone sooner, but I
had to wait to get the paperwork done. I had a concussion, so the FAA
determined I had to have a neurological exam, and they didn't tell us
until I was ready to go back to work, so I had to take some extra time
to do that. I've been flying since October 1989, now. Anything else?
Q; What were your injuries?
H: My injuries? Just let me go over quickly the injuries of the
crew. Bill, sitting right there, had eight broken ribs, hips, and the
pelvis, he had internal injuries, multiple bruises and contusions.
Sitting in the jumpseat, in the second officer's seat was the captain,
Dennis Fitch. And let me clarify something right there, before we get
any further, it got out in Sioux City that Denny Fitch came up to take
over from Dudley Dvorak because Dudley couldn't handle the job, and
that really irritated me. Dudley was doing what we asked him to do.
And we'd had him turned around, and started handling those throttles.
If any of you have run through this simulator over here, you know how
complicated that is. Dudley did not have time to figure out what the
power changes it took. So the second time he added power and was
corrected by one of us, he looked up to the captain, and said do you
want this seat? You know what you've been doing here, do you want this
seat? So that's why the captain was sitting in Dudley's seat, and why
Dudley was sitting in the jump seat. Cleared that up. Dennis's
injuries were a dislocated left shoulder, a broken right shoulder, the
hand, broken rib, other internal injuries, serious internal injuries.
And Dudley suffered a large burn on his right arm, we don't know where
that came from, the only burn in the cockpit. He smashed his right
ankle, had to have three pins put in that. And he has a permanent
injury. Me, I put a three-inch cut in my right ankle, I bruised my
sternum, bruised one rib, and I got fourteen lacerations in my head.
This ear [left] was almost cut off, and this ear was cut. It took
ninety two stitches to sew me up. But I didn't break anything.
Varying degree of injury in that small confine.
Some of our flight attendants, a lot of the passengers, weren't even
hurt. The next day, four of the flight attendants walked into my room
to go home. Three of them looked like they were dressed to go to
work. They didn't even get their uniforms dirty.
Q: Were you aware during the slide-out that the airplane ?? --
H: No. Was I aware? No. As soon as we hit the ground, I went out. I
have absolutely no recollection of anything from the time we hit the
ground until I came to in the cockpit. Trying to figure out where I
was. And then we had some conversation, and then the operation
started, and I was in and out throughout the whole thing. I remember
parts of the rescue, I remember parts of the ambulance ride. I don't
remember the ride into town at all. I remember being in the emergency
room, but I don't remember what was going on in there. I was on my
stomach. They kept me on my stomach. They put me on a thing and threw
a towel over my head. I think they were writing me off, I'm not too
sure. I woke up with a tag on my big toe, I swear I did. [laughter].
They always tag each individual. they put a number on him, and a flag
wherever they found him. And I guess they didn't have a grease
pencil, Dudley they wrote on his foot. But me, they put a tag on my
big toe. I saw that, and get that thing off of there, right now.
[laughter]. But I don't remember too much about it. In fact, we were
all in and out. Bill remembers sliding down the runway, sideways, or
on the side, like that. And thinking something was going to happen.
But then suddenly the cockpit filled with dirt, and then it started to
tumble. And he doesn't recall any tumbling sensation at all. None of
Q: With what you've learned since the crash, if you found yourself in
the same situation, would you do anything different?
H: Well, after going to this simulator I went to this morning, I
probably would. For one thing, the inputs to the controls would be a
lot less than they were. We were shoving the throttles up full board
and back again, and it just take very little movement to accomp-- I'm
going to go fly the 720 here, and I think it's going to be a little
different. But in the F-15, just a little bit of power does it. But
basically, I don't think so. I don't know if we'd still try to fly the
yoke. And, of course, it can't happen now, since they've modified the
airplane. So we'll have an aileron, and leading edge devices, and
slaps, and all that. But to do it again, the answer to that at the
press conference was, we didn't know what would happen when we did
something at the time, and there's no way I'd try to second-guess what
would happen if we tried something else. With the knowledge that we
have now- -I don't think so. If I were still going to try to fly the
airplane, which I'd probably do, I'd still have somebody operate the
throttles. That's what they do now, they fly the stabilizer with trim,
but they have aileron control. And the best way to do it, really, is
to put one guy on the throttles for pitch, and the other to fly the
yoke. So I don't think we'd try to do it much different. Except try
for a better landing.
Q: Was fuel transfer tried, or would it be tried nowadays?
H: It would probably be tried now, if you had the time. Well, 41
minutes seems like a lot of time. But we spent the first fifteen
minutes just trying to keep the shiny side up. So we were so busy with
that that we didn't have time to experiment with anything. I know that
Bob and Mimi on the Aloha accident actually had time to fly the
airplane, and the presence of mind to see how many flaps they could put
down, and how slowly they could fly, and so forth. This airplane was
flying its own speed. We had very little control. And the phugoids.
We went down as low as 180 knots. And went right up as high as 280 or
300 knots, that sort of thing. So we didn't really have the time to
see how slow we could go or how we could fly it. I wish we had, but we
Q: Is MDC looking at any redesign of the isolation of the hydraulic
lines that caused the emergency?
H: My understanding is that the MD-11, as well as the DC-10, are going
to be, well, the DC-10's are, fixed with a fuse in the #3 hydraulic
system. An excessive flow or low quantity in the #3 system will close
that fuse and direct no more fluid to the tail. And the fluid is then
directed to one aileron, the leading edge slats, the nose wheel
steering brakes, and so forth, so you that you can fly the airplane.
The tail is now operated off a special motor that drives the
stabilizer. It's a flying tail. You have no elevators, but you have
stabilizer trim. We had no trim at all in the airplane. You fly the
pitch of the airplane with the throttles and the stab trim, and you can
steer the airplane with the ailerons. And as I understand, that's also
the fix on the 11. What they're going to do with the 12, i have no
idea, or the 777, or some of those airplanes. They're going to, I
think, strictly FBW, and I have no idea how they're going to do that.
I don't even know what that means, really. They tried to tell me this
Q: What was your speed when the engine let go?
We were doing 272 knots. We were at cruise, M = 0.83, 272, and we
thought that was the airspeed the airplane wanted to fly. Engineers
told us later that when the engine blew, the disk and the fan, about
six feet in diameter, that whole thing went out, and tore this big
whole in the side of the airplane, the housing, not the airplane, and
when that thing went out and changed the trim speed to 215 knots or
something like that. Then we put the gear down and got to a lower
altitude, and the trim speed was then, in effect, with the burning of
the fuel, was lowered to another thing.
Did I ever answer your question about transferring fuel?
We didn't. We thought about it now, but at the time we didn't. We
dumped as much as we could. In the DC-10, you have to have 33,000
some-odd pounds left after you dump, it's an automatic shutoff, and you
can't stop it, you can't control it, it's going to stop itself. You
have to have that much fuel, unfortunately.
Q: ?? Are there ever any emergency situations where a decision has to
be made so quickly that ??
H: The only one I can think of right off the bat that did happen that
happened to us again was the Colorado Springs 737 where at about 1200'
he suddenly in six seconds went from level normal flight to over on his
back and into the ground. Who's going to make a decision in six
seconds, I don't know. That's the only time where your reaction time
would have to be such--for example, in our case, Bill's reaction time
was ahead of mine. So his reaction was fine. If we had been right
close to the ground, one of us would have had to react, but the CLR has
got to come in, where you could have a little time to discuss.
Well, I thank you for being here. It's very important to me. I go
around now giving these talks. And unfortunately I don't have enough
time to sit around and see that we do it in Seattle. But preparation
for a disaster is very important. The things you do here at Edwards
AFB may prevent a lot of disasters. It would probably prevent this one
if we could ever put into use what they're working with right here at
Dryden. But you're not going to stop all the disasters, no matter how
hard you try. And there's all kinds. There's not just airplane
crashes, there's train crashes, there's hurricanes, tornadoes, there's
certainly earthquakes, that can spread disaster over a pretty wide
area, which can require communication and emergency effort. So having
a good, workable emergency plan is very important.
On July 18, 1989, 112 of us--passengers and crew of 232--did not
survive, and I hope you will remember them, and think of them, whenever
you have occasion to recall the events of 232. But 184 of us did. And
I think that's due largely in part to the fact that Sioux City gateway
airport and the surrounding communities were prepared to respond to a
practiced, organized, updated emergency plan. So what I ask of you,
although you're probably aren't familiar with it now, is to go back to
your own communities, and look into your emergency plans, check with
those people that make them and determine that such a disaster befall
your community, would you be as prepared, and more importantly, if
Thank you for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
Capt. Haynes refers to flying the F-15 simulation here at Dryden.
Here's an article from Dryden's newspaper which discusses it.
>From ``The X-Press'', 31 May 1991:
Study paves way for control of crippled aircraft
A massive hydraulic failure disables the flight controls of an airplane
miles from the nearest airport. Is a crash landing inevitable?
Not necessarily. An engineering study at Dryden shows that
multi-engine aircraft with specially programmed flight control systems
can touch down safely using just the engines to turn and land.
NASA's study resulted fro several recent incidents in which the
hydraulic control systems on large aircraft failed during flight. The
pilots were left with little or no capability to land normally using
ailerons, rudder and elevators.
Engineers at Dryden are doing the work on a simulator programmed to
look at the engine-only handling and flying qualities of a variety of
aircraft, including large transports and a twin-engine jet fighter.
According to Bill Burcham, chief of Dryden's Propulsion and Performance
Branch and the study's initiator, the next major step will be to modify
the digital flight control system in NASA's F-15 research aircraft for
proof-of-concept flights. The flight program, done in cooperation with
the U. S. Air Force, could take place within the next 18 to 24 months,
pending formal approval.
The system tested at Dryden is solely for research and is not intended
for operational use on existing aircraft. data from current and future
phases of the studies will be available to the aircraft industry for
possible application to commercial and military planes.
Disastrous flight control system failures are rare in commercial
aircraft, said Burcham, ``but if you can save just one aircraft every 10
years, the system is worth it.''
The augmented flight control system on a disabled aircraft would take
the pilot's stick inputs and convey them into engine throttle commands,
Burcham said. The flight control system would automatically program
the engines to turn the aircraft, climb and descend, and eventually
land safely by varying the speed of the engines individually or
In the Dryden study, the engineer-pilot research team used the
simulator to compare handling and control characteristics of a
four-engine jet transport and the NASA F-15. They ``flew'' the
aircraft in both the augmented mode and with manual engine control
using hand throttles.
The comparative study showed both types of aircraft can be controlled
somewhat by manual engine control during level flight and benign
maneuvers, but they are extremely difficult to land. In the augmented
mode, safe flight and landings are possible even in turbulence and
Preliminary flight evaluations by NASA pilots in the F-15 and in two
business-size aircraft (a twin jet and a twin propeller) verified
simulator predictions that some control is possible using just the hand
throttles. But landing tasks are extremely difficult unless the flight
control system has been tailored for engine control.
The engine-control idea is limited to multi-engine aircraft with
electronic engine and flight control systems It can be applied to
either jet or propeller-driven aircraft.
Other members of the Dryden study team are research pilot Gordon
Fullerton; Jim Stewart, F-15 Flight Research Facility project manager;
Glenn Gilyard, Propulsion and Performance Branch; and Tom Wolf,
Integrated Test and Simulation.