American Airlines FL#191, 27 years later


#1

On May 25th, 1979, AA FL 191 was a DC-10-10 bound for Los Angeles.

N110AA
Year built: 1972

Flight 191 left the gate at Chicago-O’Hare at 14:59 and taxied to runway 32R. At 15:02 the flight was cleared for takeoff. The takeoff roll was normal until just before rotation at which time sections of the No. 1 engine pylon structure came off the aircraft. During rotation the entire no. 1 engine and pylon separated from the aircraft, went over the top of the wing, and fell to the runway. Flight 191 lifted off about 6,000 feet down the runway, climbed out in a wings level attitude, and reached an altitude of about 300 feet agl with its wings still level. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft began to turn and roll to the left, the nose pitched down, and the aircraft began to descend. As it descended, it continued to roll left until the wings were past the vertical position. The DC-10 crashed in an open field and trailer park about 4,680 feet northwest of the departure end of runway 32R. The aircraft was demolished during the impact, explosion, and ground fire. Two persons on the ground were killed.

Now 27 years later, they have started to build up that area. I find it weird living in house on the site where 271 people died. The area is still a trailer park from what I saw, but still.

My dad was telling me he was filling up his car with fuel down the road about 9 blocks and he heard a boom and then a ploom of smoke. he had no idea what had just happened until he got home to turn on the news. He said the smoke stretch for miles and it was very thick and black.

Does anybody here rememeber that day in Chicago? Please share stories!!!


#2

Yes, a very sad day, although I was not yet alive at the time. That one photo (linked below) still haunts me, though.

One of the greatest myths of this crash, though, was that the engine falling off was the death blow to the aircraft. The truth, though, was that if the aircraft had throttled up after the engine fell off, they may have stayed in the air. The reason they crashed though, is that training told them to stay relatively close to the V2 speed if something like that were to occur, but this was fatally incorrect in this case. As the engine tore off, it broke some of the hydraulic lines in the process, which then caused the slats on the port wing to retract, since there was no device to hold them in place if there were a sudden loss of pressure.

Because of the relatively slow speed, this loss of slats caused the left wing to go below its stall speed, which caused it to lurch to the left and dive into the ground. The pilots did everything they were trained to do, but unfortunately in this case, it was not enough. Just a tragic case for all the families and the DC-10 program as a whole.

AA191 Photo


#3

My Dad was on a business trip a day or two after the mishap, he tells of a very unsettling feeling looking at the wreckage as he arrived on a flight.

I had similar experience at CLT the day after the Beech 18 crashed on departure.


#4

I think you mean Beech 1900D of Air Midwest that crashed on 08 Jan 03.

The only Charlotte crash of a Beech 18 since 1962 occured on 1 Oct 75.


#5

That’s the one, US commuter, aft CG, inproper rigging … pitched up and rolled into the hangar


#6

This is the first time i have heard this Newark777 that picture gave me goosebumps just thinking of what the people on the left side of the plane saw. :cry:


#7

Hehe oh ya Beech 18 … cool airplane … very different :slight_smile:


#8

I was at the airport in RNO, waiting to fly home to SFO. They had the story on the TV news in the airport bar… back then, there was no “CNN Airport Service” (which does not show plane crashes), it was just a regular TV, and it was on all the network channels. People crowded into the bar to watch, and many of them – who were about to get on a plane – were very upset.