By Adam Chappelle, WLS-AM 890 News
(CHICAGO) On May 25, 1979, the nation’s worst single aviation disaster happened at O’Hare. American Airlines flight 191 was heading from Chicago to Los Angeles when a faulty pylon caused an engine to completely fall off the plane.
Recordings from O’Hare’s air traffic control show controllers noticed the plane was in trouble from the start. ATC called for emergency crews just seconds after the DC-10 took off and began banking hard at a nearly 90 degree angle.
The plane barely made it to the end of the runway before it crashed into a hangar, killing all 271 passengers and crew on board.
WLS’ Jim Johnson was at the scene of the accident, and called it ‘one of the worst sights I have ever seen.
The crash of American flight 191 ended up exposing a common cost-cutting problem in the aviation industry. Rather than following procedures, American and other airlines would take shortcuts to reattach pylons to the wing after an engine was replaced. The FAA ordered all DC-10s grounded until inspections were performed, and found more than a half-dozen other aircraft had improperly installed pylons and were at risk of suffering the same fate as Flight 191.
© WLS-AM 890 News