Recovery Operation Of TransAir Flight 810 Raises Wreckage And Cargo


The National Transportation Board (NTSB) announced on Tuesday (Nov. 2) that an insurance-funded recovery operation has successfully retrieved both flight recorders, all major components of the first-generation Boeing 737-200 freighter operated as TransAir Flight 810 and its cargo. The NTSB has shared in the recovery effort, with a team of investigators on board the salvage vessels.

The crew of the aircraft ditched after reporting “anomalies” in both engines on climbout from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and an unsuccessful attempt to return to the runway. Both pilots, the only occupants, were rescued. The wreckage came to rest on an ocean shelf at depths ranging from 350 to 450 feet.

According to the NTSB, “In the months following the accident, TransAir’s insurance provider contracted with several companies to recover the wreckage and cargo.” Along with both halves of the severed fuselage and its two JT8D engines, all eight cargo containers were recovered—six from the aft section of the fuselage and two more that were located on the sea floor separate from the wreckage. An additional cargo pallet was recovered during a previous salvage expedition.

The 45-year-old 737 split into two pieces near the leading edge of the wing roots. Both fuselage sections were recovered, as were the flight data recorders. “The recovery of the recorders and virtually the entire airplane represents a major step forward in the investigation,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer L. Homendy in a statement. “We are so appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the federal and state agencies, parties, and contractors that contributed to this successful outcome.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. Where is Daniel K. Inouye International airport located? I know I can look it up, but the locaation should have been part of the article.

    • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (PHNL) is on Oahu Island near Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA. Lat: N 2119.1
      Long: W 15755.2. It was formerly known as Honolulu International Airport.
      Source: http

      Yes, I agree, AvWeb should have included basic facts like the Where of this story.

  2. The US custom of naming airports after politicians is not a good idea.

    San Jose, Calif. has lost millions of dollars in bookings by not being named Silicon Valley International, as international passengers pick the more obvious SFO.

    In the Internet age, customers need to be able to identify at a glance what airport destinations mean.

    • People don’t chose SFO because they can’t identify SJC. It literally has “San Jose International” in the name, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

    • Reminds me of the airport designator SDF for Louisville, KY which seems to have no relation to the name. TWA flight crews use to answer the question “Who came up with that designator?” with “Some Dumb F***.”

  3. Actually sometimes it is a good thing the way airports are named… looked at Orlando international… locals think it is OIS, but in reality it is MCO as it was McCoy airfield prior to being the airport what it is today… so we as locals think of MCO as Mickey’s Corporste Office. So sure leave politicians names off of naming airfields I agree

  4. Anyone who lives in a locale laid out with grid-style streets has doubtless watched their logically designated A-B-C / 1-2-3 names gradually morph into a mishmash of “Farquhar Z. Hammelque Parkway” political payoffs.

  5. I was hoping they would just let this old bird rest in peace. 🙂

    Interesting that the fuselage broke in two. The 767 in the SFO Asiana accident a decade ago did 2 cartwheels and still remained intact, much to the astonishment of structural engineers.

    Interisland contract flights often supply food for hotels, so the “cargo” was likely spoiled within hours.

    Source: I knew the contract carrier DC-3 operator for the Lana’i hotels.

  6. I’m surprised that the airplane remained in mostly two pieces in the accident, and I am surprised again that they were able to pull it up largely intact, without it cracking like an eggshell. They must have moved it very slowly. The weight/inertia of the water alone could easily damage the structure, plus the airplane will want to “fly” as it moves through the water. Bravo to the recovery team.