U.A. Flight 232

The Physics and History behind this tragedy.

July 19th, 1989; the day one of the worst air plane crashes in U.S history would take place. Out of the 296 people on board, 110 died in the crash and many others were injured. The plane took off just fine, there was no hint of trouble. The flight took off from Denver and was supposed to arrive in Philadelphia. The ride started out as any other regular flight, but a ways into the flight, around 3:16 CDT, 6 miles over Iowa, fate changed the course of this plane. The rear engine blew apart.

At first there was no cause of concern, even though the explosion caused the flight attendants to fall to the floor. After the initial explosion, the plane was shaking and took a brief nose dive, this sent panic throughout the plane but then the plane leveled out. Even though this happened, the people on board were mainly worried about a delay in time and missing connecting flights. In the cockpit, the pilot, Capt. Alfred C. Haynes was losing control of the plane. The co-pilot, William R. Records, radioed to air control that the plane was losing all hydraulic fluid and without the hydraulics, they would not be able to control the wings, tail or the rudder, which meant he could not steer the plane. Soon after this, the plane completed three 360 spins before crashing down the run way and rolling along until it finally came to a stop.

The engine explosion was caused by a manufacturing defect. This explosion cause the leaking of the three different hydraulic systems on the plane. By the leaking of this fluid they lost all  control to the wings, tail and rudders, so the plane could not be steered by the pilots, and it also affected the landing gear. The fact that the landing gear could not be put out was a large part in the severity of the crash. They could not touch down in the normal way and also the hydraulic system leading to the breaks were not there due to this same failure. Physics plays a point in this. The plane crashing down make it pick up potential energy for the crash, also the velocity increases, as seen in this because the plane came in to the cornfield at a faster than normal speed. Also you can bring in one of Newton's three laws; an object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an equal and opposite force. The opposite force in this case was the ground which allowed the plane to come to a rest shortly after hitting the ground.

Some new regulations that came out after this plane crash was the fact that every person, child or baby included, had to have a seat. Children could no longer lap sit for the ride. They had to have a seat and a seat-belt. This was done to lessen the amount of potential lives lost in case of a crash. Also, there were modifications done to these types of planes so that in the future if this happened, there would not be the same type of hydraulic loss as in flight 232. There has been a lot of research put into trying to stop these types of things from happening and also research into lessening the effects these types of explosions have on the plane as a whole.

This tragedy was terrible. The loss of lives that occurred on this crash was devastating and there wasn't anything more the pilots could have done to try and stop this from happening.  Through terrible things like this, we as people learn more about how to try and stop these things from happening. These tragedies lead us to clues about how to fix the faults in the existing in systems we have today. We learn from these disasters and prevent others from happening. July 19th,1989 will forever be a tragic day in US history.

(*all information was found on the following websites.)

Comment Stream