Crisis Management - United Flight 232

Topics: Air safety, Aircraft, Dennis E. Fitch Pages: 5 (1301 words) Published: May 20, 2013
Situational Analysis: Flight 232
Cecille Hayes
Argosy University

Module 5
The purpose of this assignment is to develop leadership and crisis management skills by using a real-life case study example (Argosy Lecture Notes, 2013). Case Study
This paper focuses on United Airlines (UA) Flight 232, a DC10 aircraft that was en route from Denver to Philadelphia via Chicago. It was forced to make an emergency landing in Sioux City, Iowa due to an engine failure. The flight carried 296 passengers and crew members (Argosy Lecture Notes, 2013). Part 1: Personal Profiles of Crew Members who Played a Crucial Role in the Flight There were at least four United Airlines crew members who played a crucial role in the flight: 1) Al Haynes – Captain

2) Bill Records – First Officer / Co-Pilot
3) Denny Fitch – DC-10 Flight Training Instructor
4) Jan Brown-Lohr – Senior Flight Attendant.
Two crew members have been profiled for this study, Captain Albert Haynes and Denny Fitch. Their personal profiles are provided in the Appendix section. Part 2: Examination and Assessment
This paper focuses on the role of Captain Al Haynes, aircraft captain and commander of UA Flight 232. Role of the Crew on Board and Situations that Needed More Attention As the captain of the aircraft, Al Haynes had many roles and responsibilities. These responsibilities included: 1) Fly the aircraft safely from departure point to destination 2) Operate the aircraft economically

3) Ensure smooth and efficient operations
4) Time management
5) Inspection of the aircraft and fuel supply prior to departure 6) Making sure that the weather conditions are safe for flight 7) Ensuring that the passenger and payload weights are balanced 8) Navigational flight plans and communications with Air Traffic Control for route verifications and approval (Gandhi, 2010) The investigation of the flight incident has shown that there was nothing that Captain Al Haynes or any of the crew on board could have done to prevent the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board has published a determination that the likely cause of the accident was United Airlines’ engine overhaul maintenance facility’s failure to detect a fatigue crack in the fan disk of a General Electric aircraft engine. The disintegration of the fan disk mid-air caused debris to hit the hydraulic systems, causing them to be inoperable. An aircraft’s hydraulic systems are critical because they operate the flight controls of an aircraft. Since the engine malfunction was the root cause of the accident, this situation could have been prevented by tighter repair and inspection procedures for the maintenance crew and improved design engineering of engines and hydraulics (National Transportation Safety Board, 1989). It is the student’s opinion that the crew did not miss nor lack attention to any issues that could have been addressed within the given constraints. Further, they are to be commended for having saved many lives given the severity of the situation. Factors that Affected Resolution of the Problem

Once the problem was encountered mid-air, it is the student’s opinion that there was nothing that can be done to resolve it. They had limited time, resources, and no chance to repair the aircraft while in flight. When the engine and hydraulic systems failed, the only option that the captain had was to attempt to prevent a tragic crash and land the aircraft at the nearest airport, as soon as possible. Prior to the flight however, there were issues that could have been resolved that would have prevented the incident. These are: 1) Improved design, certification, manufacturing, and inspection procedures on the General Electric Aircraft Engines’ CF6-6 fan rotor assembly 2) Improved maintenance and inspection policies for United Airlines on the CF6-6 engine fan rotor assemblies 3) Improved DC-10 hydraulic flight control...
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