UA 232’s Al Haynes Dies At 87


Captain Al Haynes, who landed a crippled DC-10 at Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989, saving more than half the passengers, died in Seattle Sunday after a brief illness. He was 87 years old.

In an accident hailed as an exceptional example of crew resource management, Haynes landed the DC-10 at Sioux City on July 19, 1989, after an uncontained fan disc failure in the center engine destroyed the aircraft’s hydraulic systems. Assisted by his scheduled crew and deadheading training captain Dennis Fitch, Haynes diverted United Airlines flight 232 to Sioux City while enroute from Denver to Chicago.

Lacking pitch and roll control because of the hydraulic failures, the crew controlled roll and heading with differential thrust. Following a difficult approach, the DC-10 landed fast at Sioux City, breaking up on touchdown. Of the 296 passengers and crew aboard, 185 survived.

Haynes’ performance was lauded as an exemplar of crew resource management. Haynes had been a pilot in the U.S. Marines before joining United Airlines in 1956. He retired in 1991 after 35 years of service with the airline. He traveled and spoke frequently about lessons learned from the UA 232 accident.

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  1. I had seen Al’s presentation for the accident many years ago.
    His show is the best I have ever witnessed as his presentation captured your attention for the entire show. Fantastic use of crew assets and wonderful completion of the situation.
    When the tower cleared him to land they told him runway choice is yours and his response was, “you want to be fussy and make it a runway”.
    There were several hundred people at the show and you could hear a pin drop for over an hour.
    I have told many people over the years if you ever get a chance to attend his presentation do not miss it.
    Rest In Peace
    Ken Fortnam
    Aircraft Tech
    Windham Maine

  2. When Captain Haynes did his presentation in Wichita back in the mid-90’s, we expected a crowd of maybe 150 or so, and made arrangements for a single ballroom at the hotel. Over 600 showed up. We had to triple the venue by opening up the 2 adjacent ballrooms, and still it was standing-room-only. No matter, though, because by the end we were ALL standing–out of respect for this amazing airman, his humility, and his professionalism. Before there was a “Miracle on the Hudson” there was a miracle in Sioux City; both wrought by airmen cut from the same cloth. May this industry be forever blessed by men and women of such extraordinary talent!

  3. I’ve never liked the idea of calling this event in American aerospace history an accident. After all it wasn’t the crew’s fault.

    From now on let’s call it, “Heroic flying bookended by two events of uncontrolled entropy.”

    RIP Captain Haynes.