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Running head: Case Study Analysis: United Airlines Flight 232, N1819U 1 Case Study Analysis: McDonnell Douglas DC-10 United Airlines Flight 232, N1819U Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Case Study Analysis: United Airlines Flight 232, N1819U 2 United Airlines Flight 232, N1819U On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232, N1819U, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 carrying 285 passengers and 11 crew members, took off from Stapleton International Airport in Denver heading to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One hour after take-off, a loud bang was heard at the tail section of the aircraft by the crew and the passengers. The crew was able to identify that the engine was the cause of the problem, but to their horror, while performing their emergency checklist, they discovered the aircraft has lost all its hydraulic systems rendering the aircraft uncontrollable. 45 minutes later, the pilot crash-landed the jet in Sioux City, Iowa, a total of 111 fatalities and 172 people were injured (FAA, n.d). Primary factors of the accidents The primary cause of the accident was isolated to have been a fatigue crack on the surface of the disk bore that disintegrated the engine that severed all three hydraulic systems in the aircraft rendering it unflyable. The crack was initiated from a metallurgical defect, and the defect was formed during manufacturing (FAA, n.d.). The service life of the engine was 41,009 hours and 15,503 cycles. Throughout the life cycle of the engine, the metallurgical defect transitioned into a fatigue crack which extended into the catastrophic failure of the engine on United Airlines Flight 232. The failure was a tragedy as when the engine shattered, it severed all three hydraulic systems of the aircraft which was placed at the back of the aircraft where the engine was. The engine underwent overhauls that technicians are required to perform a piece by piece inspection according to the CF6 engine manual instructions, including a fluorescent penetrant inspection. However, even with all these measures, the crack which was estimated to be roughly 0.5” long,
Case Study Analysis: United Airlines Flight 232, N1819U 3 was missed during the checks. As a result, the disintegrated engine killed all hydraulic power on the aircraft, making it almost uncontrollable, using only asymmetric thrust to control the aircraft. Figure 1. Photo of the reconstructed fan disk (FAA, n.d.) Contributing factors of the accidents The process in which how titanium alloy was manufactured then was through double Vacuum Arc Remelting (VAR) process and it creates lots of metallurgical defects (FAA, n.d.).

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