May 30, 2024

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“Can I help?”: Passengers of United Airlines Flight 232 make an “impossible” landing

“I mean, when it’s over we’ll have a beer.”. These words are recorded in McDonald Douglas’ “black box” DC-10 Of United Airlines, Said Dennis Fitch, coach of the same company that was among the passengers on the plane Ua232 That July 19, 1989. “Well … I won’t drink, but I’m sure I’ll get one!”, Commander Al Haynes’ answer. Why was a passenger in the cockpit of a plane even though he was a DC-10 instructor?

The history of the Ua232 aircraft begins Denver, Colorado, on a summer day. The flight is scheduled to depart for O’Hare Airport in the afternoon Chicago, Illinois, where he will make his final destination: an interim stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are 296 people on board: 285 passengers and 11 crew, including the aforementioned Commander Haynes, 57 with 33 years of flying experience, First Officer Bill Records and second Dudley Dvorak.

A roar and the plane no longer responds to commands

The triple engine, delivered to United in 1971, leaves Stapleton International Airport in Denver at 14.09. Climbing at an altitude of 37,000 feet (about 11300 meters) is without history, so the first part of the flight. Suddenly, the departure was about an hour and 7 minutes, at 15.16 The crew hears a loud noise like an explosion following vibrations in the controls and vibration of the aircraft cell.

Flight Assistant John Murray Remember that sounds like “Indescribable”. Murray, being the oldest maid on the ship, goes to the cockpit, according to training, and realizes that the plane crashes with astonishment. Meanwhile, all three flight attendants, after testing the equipment, realized that the engine No. 2 mounted on the tail had stopped working properly. Haynes, in practice, orders a shutdown, after which a second officer (with the functions of an aeronautical engineer) realizes that its measurementsIn hydraulic mode All respective measurements were marked as zero. At about the same time, Records warns that he can no longer control the plane as the DC-10 turns right downhill. At this point the captain takes control of the plane and its controls are actually dead.

Haynes instinctively reduces the thrust of engine number 1 (left) and returns to aircraft position. The sub-compressed air generator (Adg) is activated, which feeds the reserve hydraulic pump, but any attempt to regain pressure in the hydraulic system is futile. This means the plane is uncontrollable: no folds, no rudder, no ailrons. Control surfaces are almost completely useless.

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At 3:20 p.m., crews contact the Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center (RTC) to report an emergency and a flight (a “direction” in aeronautical jurgon) to the nearest airport.

Lives live at this point in history Fitch, Murray e Haynes They cross. The flight attendant, returning from the cockpit, is stopped by Fitch, who waits for what happened and tells her that the plane can fly with two more engines. When the woman tells him the plane plumbing is over, the incredible man tells her he can help. The pilots immediately welcome his offer, and Fitch is invited into the cockpit. 3.19 pm.

Meanwhile, they warn that Des Moines International Airport is available from Minneapolis, but when the Air Traffic Controller informs the Commander that they are heading in that direction Sioux City, In Iowa, asked if they first wanted that goal, and the commander answered firmly.

At the captain’s request, Fitch returns to the passenger room to perform a visual inspection of the injured DC – 10’s wings. When he returns, he informs Haynes that the internal alleles are slightly raised, undamaged, and the spoilers are locked. No movement of primary flight control surfaces. Captain Fitch was called in to take control of the aircraft, the only way to try to keep control of the aircraft with some sort of control so that both pilots could try to maneuver the flight controls.

The instructor uses the power of motors Nos. 1 and 3 to alternately operate and control the pitch and roll, but the aircraft has a tendency to turn to the right, which makes it difficult to maintain a consistent approach on the pitch axis. At 15.42am, a second officer is sent to the passenger compartment to inspect the tail fins, at which point he notices that the left and right horizontal stabilizers are damaged.

“Impossible” landing

Leaving 33500 pounds (16 thousand kilograms), the fuel is discharged. It takes about 11 minutes to land at this place. In the absence of hydraulic pressure, the truck is lowered using emergency procedure. Fitch and Haynes work hard to maintain the aircraft’s approach on its way to Sioux City Airport.

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The crew visually communicates with the airport, which is about 9 miles away. The air traffic controller authorizes Flight 232 to land on runway 2742, which is 2742 meters long, and warns the commander that the plane is approaching runway 22, which is currently closed and is only over 2,000 meters.

However, Haynes decides to continue the approach for runway 22 so he can not turn left to get to the “final summary” on DC-10, 31. The flap and slates that increase lift when landing are retracted because of the lack of hydraulic pressure. So the landing should be “fast” but the throttle should also be used to keep the aircraft in order.

In the last 20 seconds of landing, the average speed is 215 kph (knots-indicated wind speed) and the landing is 1620 feet (approximately 500 meters) per minute.

The oscillations in the pitch and roll axes continue until just before Touch Down: The plane appears to be flying from the bars of a frantic puppet, and when it is 30 meters above the runway, the right wing quickly “falls”, as if someone had cut them. The captain then said that shortly before touching the ground, the plane’s nose began to go down, while the right wing felt a “fall”.

Fitch Motors continued to maneuver at speeds of 1 and 3 until the aircraft touched down, and was unable to deliver any static power during landing as it had to manage the pitch and roll of the aircraft.

Slightly descend to the left of the center line at gate 22 of the DC-10 runway. It’s 4 p.m. Ground contact made by the tip of the right wing and the right main landing gear is violent. The plane rotates to the right of the runway and rolls itself in the opposite position. A fireball rises in the sky. The right wing of the trimotor begins to break as soon as it lands. The rest of the plane scatter as it rolls. The center of the fuse stops at a cornfield after the runway crosses 17/35, as most of the left is still connected. The cockpit splits at the beginning of the line of destruction and stands on the edge of runway 17/35, while the tail section often continues along runway 22 and the taxiway stops at “L”. Engines are separated during impact: Nos. 1 and Nos. 3 are found at the cross section of the tail section and runway 17/35, 900 to a thousand meters from the point of first impact, instead of engine No. 2 on the left side of the “J” runway 22, which stops at the taxiway, approximately 563 meters.

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Like “Night of the Living Dead”

Rescue workers arrive just in time for the disaster and find themselves in front of apocalyptic scenes. Jim Walker, Pilot of the 185th Tactical War Squadron of the Iowa Air National Guard, headquartered at Sioux City Airport, was the first to rush to the scene of the accident, but he believes no one can escape the violence. “There were bodies everywhere – He recalled – We just sat there and watched everyone die. “. Most of them lie in the grassy area between the concrete and cornfield of the path. “The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life happened later. It really looked like ‘Night of the Living Dead’ because so many of those bodies suddenly started to sit up.”.

The dead 111 (110 passengers and one flight attendant), many immediately, others suffocated by the smoke of the flames released, slapping their seats. Of the survivors, 47 were seriously injured, 125 were light, and only 13 came out practically without scratching.

Fatigue group

But what happened? Why that boom an hour after departure? Over there Commission of Inquiry The compressor blade of the No. 2 engine of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority cracked and deformed a fatigue mounted on the tail, causing violent destruction of the engine, which threw debris small piece It disconnected all three hydraulic lines of the DC-10 by drilling its horizontal stabilizers.

If Expert Commander Haynes is not in control, but above all there is no Fitch among the passengers, to maintain a catastrophic damage approach that can quickly use the aircraft to efficiently “play” with the aircraft’s handcuffs and manage descent. Without them, this tragedy would certainly have taken on more dramatic definitions.