Captain Al Haynes of flight UA232 passes on

By Theo Truter

Al Haynes, then 57 with 25,967 flying hours, of which 7,190 were in the DC-10 was the captain of the ill-fated United Airlines flight UA232 on 19th July 1989. First Officer William Roy Records, 48, had 29,967 hours of total flight time with United Airlines, of which 7,190 were in the DC-10. Second Officer Dudley Joseph Dvorak, 51 had approximately 15,000 hours of total flying time.

Flying from Denver to Chicago an hour into the flight, the rear-mounted motor suffered an exploding fan-disc which severed all hydraulics which led to the loss of many flight controls.

The 16-year-old DC-10 was thereby rendered out-of-control. Fortunately, another off-duty pilot Training Check Airman Captain Dennis Edward Fitch, 46 with a total flight time of approximately 23,000 hours of which 3,070 was DC-10 time, was on-board to aid the crew by manipulating power on the two-remaining wing-mounted motors. They figured out how to turn or descend using the motors.

The diversionary airfield chosen for a landing attempt was Sioux City, which they reached after very difficult circumstances in 45 minutes. Without flaps they touched down at high speed and a high descent rate and the wind caused a slight bank.

The DC-10 turned onto its side and broke up, with fire. Of 296 occupants, 111 died.

The accident has since become a prime example of successful crew resource management. For much of aviation's history, the captain was considered the final authority and crews were to respect the captain's expertise and not question him. This began to change in the 1970s, especially after the Tenerife airport disaster. Crew Resource Management, while still considering the captain the final authority, instructs crew members to speak up when they detect a problem, and instructs captains to listen to their concerns.

United Airlines instituted a Crew Resource Management class in the early 1980s. The NTSB would later credit this training as valuable toward the success of United 232's crew in handling their emergency. The FAA made Crew Resource Training mandatory in the aftermath of the accident.

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