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Today I was walking to the kitchen at work for a soda, and heard a familiar line on the TV (tuned to MSNBC) as I went by.

I've told the story of this before, but only knew it vaguely. Now I can give an exact transcript. Wikipedia has an article describing the setup:

"United Airlines flight 232, aka "UA232" (United 232 Heavy), was a scheduled flight operated by United Airlines. On July 19, 1989, its Douglas DC-10-10 (Registration N1819U) suffered an uncontained failure of its number 2 engine in the tail, which destroyed all three of the aircraft's hydraulic systems. With no controls working except the throttles for the two remaining engines, it crashlanded on the runway at Sioux City, Iowa killing 110 of its 285 passengers and one of the 11 crew members."

OK. So, serious stuff. That didn't mean the pilot, Captain Alfred C. Haynes, lost his humor, though. Here's the exchange between Haynes and the tower I've only been quasi-quoting for years:

Sioux City Approach: United Two Thirty-Two Heavy, the wind's currently three six zero at one one; three sixty at eleven. You're cleared to land on any runway.

Captain: [laughter] Roger. [laughter] You want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?

(full transcript here, in Acrobat format)


Interesting tidbit gleaned from the Wikipedia article:

"The flight crew discovered that the only way to control the plane was by adjusting the thrust on the two remaining wing-mounted engines. Dennis E. Fitch, a DC-10 instructor who was deadheading as a passenger on the plane and was not part of the flight crew, offered his assistance. The task of flying the plane (using the throttles) was assigned to him... In subsequent reconstructions of the circumstances of the accident in flight simulators, no pilot, regardless of seniority, has succeeded in reproducing Fitch's achievement of maneuvering the aircraft as far as the runway. Generally, others lose control while the aircraft is still in mid air."



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2006 08:43 am (UTC)
Wow. Yeah.
Jul. 4th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Here's the pilot's commentary on the transcript at NASA Ames two years later.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )