Event Details

Title:Uncontained engine failure, United Airlines Flight 232, McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City, Iowa, July 19, 1989
Micro summary:Uncontained failure of the #2 engine on this DC-10 caused a complete flight control system failure.
Event Time:1989-07-19 at 1516 EDT
File Name:1989-07-19-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-90-06
Diversion Airport:Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City, Iowa, USA
Site of event:Cruise, M0.83, FL370
Latitude/Longitude:N4225' W9623'
Departure:Denver Stapleton International Airport, Denver, Colorado, USA
Airplane Type(s):McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
Flight Phase:Cruise
Operator(s):United Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:172
Other Injuries:0
Diverted to:Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City, Iowa, USA
Executive Summary:On July 19, 1989, at 1516, a DC-10-10, N1819U, operated by United Airlines as flight 232, experienced a catastrophic failure of the No. 2 tail-mounted engine durtng cruise flight. The separation, fragmentation and forceful discharge of stage 1 fan rotor assembly parts from the No. 2 engine led to the loss of the three hydraulic systems that powered the airplane's flight controls. The flightcrew experienced severe difficulties controlling the airplane, which subsequently crashed during an attempted landing at Sioux Gateway Airport, Iowa. There were 285 passengers and 11 crewmembers onboard. One flight attendant and 110 passengers were fatally injured. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the inadequate consideration given to human factors limitations in the inspection and quality control procedures used by United Airlines' engine overhaul facility which resulted in the failure to detect a fatigue crack originating from a previously undetected metallurgical defect located in a critical area of the stage 1 fan disk that was manufactured by General Electric Aircraft Engines. The subsequent catastrophic disintegration of the disk resulted in the liberation of debris in a pattern of distribution and with energy levels that exceeded the level of protection provided by design features of the hydraulic systems that operate the DC-10's flight controls.

The safety issues raised in this report include:

1. General. Electric Aircraft Engines' (GEAE) CF6-6 fan rotor assembly design, certification, manufacturing, and inspection.

2. United Airlines' maintenance and inspection of CF6-6 engine fan rotor assemblies.

3. DC-10 hydraulic flight control system design, certification and protection from uncontained engine debris.

4. Cabin safety, including infant restraint systems, and airport rescue and firefighting facilities.

Recommendations concerning these issues were addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Air Transport Association and the Aerospace Industries Association
Learning Keywords:Operations - Crew Resource Management
Systems - Engine - Uncontained Engine Failure
Systems - Flight Control System
Systems - Hydraulics
Other - Certification
Other - Manufacturing Issues
Other - Post-Crash Survivability
Consequence - Hull Loss


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