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American Airlines Flight 191

Coordinates: 42°0′35″N 87°55′45″W / 42.00972°N 87.92917°W / 42.00972; -87.92917 (accident site)
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American Airlines Flight 191
N110AA, the aircraft involved in the accident. Photographed at O'Hare International Airport in 1974
DateMay 25, 1979
SummaryLoss of control caused by engine detachment due to improper maintenance[1]
SiteDes Plaines, Illinois, United States (Near O'Hare International Airport)
42°0′35″N 87°55′45″W / 42.00972°N 87.92917°W / 42.00972; -87.92917 (accident site)
Total fatalities273
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
OperatorAmerican Airlines
IATA flight No.AA191
ICAO flight No.AAL191
Call signAMERICAN 191
Flight originO'Hare International Airport
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DestinationLos Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities2
Ground injuries2

American Airlines Flight 191 was a scheduled commercial flight from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago to Los Angeles International Airport. The aircraft used was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10. On May 25, 1979, the aircraft crashed into an open field in Des Plaines, Illinois. All 271 people (258 passengers and 13 crew) on the flight were killed.[2] Two people on the ground were killed and five others were hurt. The crash was caused by the loss of one of the engines, which caused damage to the left wing.[1] The loss of the engine happened because of bad maintenance to the aircraft that had been done eight weeks before the crash.[1] It is the worst plane crash to happen in the United States.

Victims[change | change source]

Nationalities of the victims[change | change source]

People on board by nationality
Country Persons
 Argentina 1
 Australia 2
 Bolivia 2
 Belgium 1
 Brazil 6
 Canada 6
 Chile 1
 China 2
 Colombia 4
 Dominican Republic 4
 Ecuador 1
 El Salvador 1
 Finland 1
 France 3
 Germany 5
 Guatemala 1
 Haiti 1
 Hong Kong 1
 Hungary 1
 India 1
 Ireland 2
 Italy 2
 Jamaica 2
 Japan 4
 Mexico 9
 New Zealand 1
 Panama 1
 Paraguay 1
 Peru 2
 Russia 1
 South Korea 1
 Spain 2
 Sweden 1
  Switzerland 2
 Taiwan 1
 Trinidad and Tobago 1
 Uruguay 1
 United Kingdom 9
 United States 181
 Venezuela 2
 Total 271

Airplane involved[change | change source]

The airplane that crashed was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, tail number N110AA. It was delivered new to American Airlines after its first flight in 1972, and at time of accident it has flown for 19871 hours. It was powered by 3 General Electric CF6-6D engines.[3]

Accident[change | change source]

The plane, which just arrived from Phoenix,[4] was assigned to fly Flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles. At 2.59pm (local time GMT-6), the plane began its taxi to Runway 32R, and at 3.02pm was cleared to takeoff.[3] However, as First Officer Dillard began to rotate, the number one engine broke off from its pylon on the left wing. With the remaining length of the runway, stopping the plane would be impossible, so the pilots continued with the takeoff, knowing that two engines are enough to fly a DC-10, but not knowing that the engine had completely separated from the aircraft..[4]

Shortly after the engine broke off, the plane began a stabilized, steep climb to 300 ft. The left wing's leading edge slats then retracted, raising that wing's stall speed from 124 knots to 159 knots. The DC-10, travelling at V2 speed (153 knots) then uncontrollably began to roll to the left, as the pilots tried to control the aircraft. The plane reached a maximum bank angle value of 112 degrees left as the nose dropped through 20 degrees below the horizon, and the airplane crashed into an open field in front of an aircraft hangar near a trailer park 4,680 feet northwest from the end of the departure runway, with the left wing hitting the ground first.

All 258 passengers, 13 crew and 2 others on the ground were killed.[3] This became the worst ever plane crash in the United States, not counting the September 11 attacks which were crashed by hijackers and had more ground fatalities than those passengers killed in the planes.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Aircraft Accident Report: American Airlines, Inc. DC-10-10, N110AA, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, May 25, 1979" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. December 21, 1979. NTSB-AAR-79-17. Retrieved September 6, 2016. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. Ranter, Harro. "10 worst accidents in North America". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-09-20.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N110AA Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD)". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 National Geographic Society & Darlow Smithson Productions.(2006) "Seconds from disaster: Chicago Plane crash."

Other websites[change | change source]