Should I get this? Can someone explain what the “internet price” is? General opinions on the car?
I traded in my Maverick at Ken Garff Kia in Phoenix, AZ. 12,475 miles on it. I believe it’s still available if anyone wants it! Good luck out there, may the odds be ever in your favor…
to Part 2
Just over 44 years ago, a Boeing 727 cruising at 39,000 feet suddenly rolled over and plunged over 34,000 feet in just over 60 seconds. The pilots managed to regain control at almost the last second and safely landed the plane, saving the lives of all 89 onboard. However, the investigators concluded the pilots were to blame for the dive by doing an unauthorized procedure which resulted in them losing control of the airplane, but the pilots insisted a mechanical fault. was to blame. To this day what caused the airplane to almost crash has never been resolved.
The Flight and the pilots
On the evening of April 4th 1979, a 13-year-old Trans World Airlines
(TWA) Boeing 727–100 was preparing to depart New York’s JFK airport for Minneapolis, Minnesota with 89 people onboard: 82 passengers including two infants, 4 flight attendants and the 3 pilots. The plane would be operating as TWA flight 841. The Captain was 44 year old Harvey Glenn “Hoot” Gibson, a former stunt pilot who was a 16 year veteran at TWA with 15,710 total hours and 2,597 hours in the Boeing 727. He had a clean record, was considered a true professional, and well respected amongst pilots. The First Officer was 40 year old Jess Scott Kennedy (known as Scott) who had been flying for TWA for 10 years. He started as a Flight Engineer in 1967 before upgrading to First Officer and had over 10,000 hours with 8,336 hours in the 727. The Flight Engineer was 37 year old Second Officer Gary Banks, a five year Air Force veteran who had been flying for TWA for 10 years and had over 4,100 hours with 1,186 of them in the 727. Photo of the airplane taken five years later
The flight crew of TWA flight 841 was on the second day of a three day trip that began in Los Angeles the day before, flying to six places before arriving in Columbus that night. They departed for Philadelphia the next morning, and then flew to New York. A few hours later they arrived at the plane, registered as N840TW to fly on a three hour flight to Minneapolis. Hoot and Scott had flown together before but this was the first time that they had flown with Gary, however by the end of their second day the three had known each other well. Picture of the pilots taken in 1983 for the documentary "The Plane That Fell From The Sky"
Captain Gibson would be the Pilot Flying while First Officer Kennedy would be the Pilot Not Flying and handling radio communication. The weather that night was overcast with light winds, and light rain. This trip was Hoot’s first time as a 727 Captain in three months after breaking his ankle and asked Scott and Gary to keep an eye on him and point out if he did anything wrong; before this flight he had accumulated almost 22 hours on the 727 in a 90 day period.
The plane took off on its last flight of the day from JFK at 8:25 pm local time, one hour and 30 minutes behind schedule, and climbed to 35,000 feet which they reported reaching at 8:54. Scott did a ground speed check shortly after reaching 35,000 and concluded they had a 100-knot headwind, reducing their groundspeed, therefore lengthening the flight and burning more fuel.
Lead flight attendant Mark Moscicki knocked on the cockpit door and handed the pilots their meals. At 9:25 pm, once Hoot and Gary were finished eating, Kennedy requested to climb to 39,000 feet, the maximum altitude they could fly at based on the aircraft’s gross weight, which was granted and commenced a slow climb. They reported reaching 39,000 feet at 9:38 pm. He then commenced a ground speed check after leveling off. The flight proceeded normally on autopilot (Heading and Altitude hold engaged) at a speed of 252 KIAS (Knots Indicated Airspeed) which based on the present atmospheric conditions was Mach 0.80 (80% of the speed of sound). The sky was clear, the stars and half-moon were bright but beneath them were cloud layers below 1,000 feet.
At 9:47pm and 34 seconds, just under 90 minutes after takeoff while over Saginaw, Michigan as Scott was doing the ground speed check, Hoot was getting charts for Minneapolis from his flight bag on the left side of the cockpit floor when he sensed a high frequency vibration in his feet, followed by a slight buzzing sound and the plane began to buffet two seconds later. He quickly realized that this wasn’t turbulence and had to do with the airplane. He pulled his seat forward and could see no warning lights but saw the nose of the plane yawing to the right, pausing, and then yawing right again. He looked at his Attitude Indicator and saw the plane was banking roughly 20 degrees to the right and the autopilot was moving the control column (yoke) to the left to level the wings. This had no effect and the plane continued banking further to the right. Hoot quickly disconnected the autopilot and applied full left aileron which also had no effect. He then got his feet onto the rudder pedals to apply left rudder; he recalled that as he did so something didn’t feel right — he didn’t know exactly what it was but all he knew it felt weird.
By this point Captain Gibson was applying full left aileron and full left rudder to level the wings but the plane was not responding and was banking further to the right. On most planes, creating an engine asymmetry would help counter the roll but on the 727 the engines are located at the tail so creating an asymmetry wouldn’t help. He reduced the throttles to slow the plane down. The plane then yawed severely to the right and the bank increased, started to come back but yawed right again and began losing altitude. Hoot Gibson yelled “Hold on! I think she’s going over!” Everybody on the plane knew that something was terribly wrong.
Less than 20 seconds after sensing any trouble, TWA 841 rolled upside down and entered a steep spiral dive. Hoot hollered to Scott: “Get em’ up” which meant pull the spoiler handle to deploy the spoilers (also known as speedbrakes), panels on the wings to slow the plane down and improve roll control. He repeated: “Get em’ up” but Scott didn’t understand what he was supposed to do so Hoot took his hand off his control column and deployed them. This too had no effect.
The 727 plummeted as much as 80° nose down towards the ground at a rate of over 34,000 feet per minute (at least 560 feet per second); the plane did two 360° rolls! The airspeed dramatically increased to 475 knots indicated, well above the speed where structural damage could occur, and the altimeters dramatically unwinded from 39,000. The 89 people onboard were enduring 3 Gs, three times the force of gravity, crushing them into their seats and some started graying out — losing their vision due to blood draining from their heads which is one step below blacking out where you lose consciousness; at least one passenger blacked out. Only military pilots in dogfights or aerobatic maneuvers would be experiencing these G forces. Flight Engineer Gary Banks said to himself: “My God, it’s all over. I wonder what it’s going to feel like to hit
Captain Gibson was doing everything humanly possible to save his plane: applying full left aileron, then full right aileron, left rudder, right rudder, full elevator up, full elevator down, spoilers retracted, spoilers deployed, but nothing he did made any difference and the plane continued to spiral towards the ground, seemingly with a mind of its own. A number of passengers believed these were the last moments of their lives. During the dive, the Mach limit of the 727 was broken. As a plane approaches the speed of sound, a shockwave forms at the wing root which can lead to the flight control surfaces becoming ineffective and making recovery from the dive impossible.
At roughly 15,000 feet when they were less than 30 seconds from smashing into the ground, in a desperate attempt to save the plane, Scott Kennedy reached his hand out and held it over the landing gear handle to which Hoot saw it and said, “Gear down”. In Kennedy’s mind, he believed that putting the gear down would change the attitude of the airplane and get it flying again. When the gear extended, there was a loud bang, almost like an explosion and everyone heard metal tearing off the plane. Only a few seconds after dropping the landing gear, Hoot managed to regain control of the airplane. He rolled the wings level and felt the elevators respond as pulled back on his control column. At an altitude to be determined later (though the final report declares 5,000 feet), TWA flight 841 came out of its dive — 63 seconds had passed since the plane entered its dive. Hoot recalled during the pullout that they passed through a cloud or fog layer over a storage lot. As the plane came out of its dive, the G-forces increased even more and the passengers and crew endured a 6 G pull out, causing Gary to black out. A passenger noticed that the cocktail sitting on his armrest he ordered earlier hadn’t spilled a single drop during the dive.
The 727 then climbed rapidly through the clouds or fog to 9,500 feet and reached 50° nose up in which Hoot pushed the throttles forward, retracted the spoilers and used the Moon as a visual reference. Gary regained consciousness and said “Watch your attitude and speed. You’re in a 45 degree bank to the left. Airspeed’s decreasing.”
The plane was shaking so hard that Hoot couldn’t read the instruments and Gary had to shout in order to help him. He reported that they had lost one of two hydraulic systems, System A (this was caused by the right main gear overextending and rupturing the cooling line for the hydraulics), there was a failure flag for the lower rudder yaw damper (a 727 like the 747 has two rudders — a split rudder), and they had Gear Unsafe lights for their main gears and nose gear. The loss of System A hydraulics meant they had no lower rudder, lower yaw damper, trailing edge flaps, outboard flight and ground spoilers, and nose wheel steering.
The pilots knew they had to land at the nearest suitable airport. Hoot requested vectors to the Detroit Metropolitan airport 60 miles southeast which had a TWA facility and most importantly — better weather. Hoot elected that he would fly the plane and handle the radios while Gary and Scott went through emergency checklists. He made an announcement over the PA: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I think it is apparent that we’ve had a slight problem. We’re going to be pretty busy up here for the next few minutes. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.”
This was an understatement, but he had to keep everybody calm as not even he knew if they would survive.
In the cabin some of the oxygen masks had dropped. Many passengers were silent, others were praying — some said if there were parachutes they would jump out. As the plane neared Detroit they were handed off to the Detroit tower controllers. They would be landing on Runway 03 Left which was 8,500 feet long and the fire trucks were rolled out. When Gary manually cranked the nose gear down, they got a green light for it and the buffeting ceased. However, they didn’t have green lights for the main gears. When Scott and Gary extended the flaps to the 5° position using the alternate flap extension, the plane banked hard to the left. Scott brought the flaps up but because they used the alternate flap extension the slats
remained permanently extended. The plane was banking to the left which required Hoot to apply full right aileron just to keep the plane level. He found that below 200 knots the plane had a tendency to roll to the left and they had to land without flaps which meant they would have to approach at a speed of 220 knots (407 km/h), 90 knots faster than a normal approach.
The pilots performed a flyby so the controllers could verify if their main gears were down and locked. The controllers observed the nose and left gears were down, but the right gear appeared to be dangling. Some frightened passengers and flight attendants believed that on landing the plane would break apart in a trail of sparks and flames.
On final approach, Hoot overflew the runway threshold at a speed of 217 knots and at 10:31pm, 42 minutes after recovering from the dive, the 727 touched down on its left main gear onto the wet and slick runway at a speed of roughly 187 knots. The left gear and nose gear held; Hoot held the right gear off the runway for as long as possible. When it touched down the gear doors dragged on the runway which produced a trail of sparks but it held. Hoot deployed the thrust reversers, applied the brakes and said “Stop, you son of a bitch! Stop!” The 727 taxied off the runway onto a high-speed turnoff where the emergency vehicles were. Once off the runway Hoot set the brakes, started the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), and shut the engines down. In the cabin, the passengers applauded once they had stopped.
A mechanic plugged into the maintenance intercom to talk to the pilots and told them there was a fuel leak on the left side. Hoot told the flight attendants the passengers shall be deplaned via the air stair door at the rear as they would probably only be more grief stricken than they already were if they used the evacuation slides. Hoot left everything in the cockpit as it was to help the investigators figure out what happened. After the pilots deplaned, several passengers congratulated them for getting them down safely while Hoot shook a few hands. There were only 8 minor injuries. Upon inspection, the right main gear had almost collapsed, intriguingly, the No.7 slat
on the right wing was missing, mud and a tree branch were wedged into the right main gear, and hydraulic fluid was observed leaking from the lower rudder actuator. The damage to the airplane consisted also of the #6 flight spoiler missing, #4 flight spoiler, right-hand inboard flap carriage, the landing gear doors and mechanisms damaged with the right main gear side brace and actuator support beam broken, the lower fuselage skin wrinkled fore and aft of the wing attach point, and the right outboard aileron had about an inch and a half of free play, despite the flaps being retracted, due to a fractured bolt on the aileron-actuator but the left outboard aileron was locked. (To improve roll control at low speeds, the 727 has inboard and outboard ailerons with the outboard ailerons automatically locking out when the flaps are retracted to prevent over controlling and twisting of the wings at higher speeds.) Diagram of TWA 841's damage
Miraculously, despite breaking the 727 Mach limit, this was the only damage to the aircraft. The tree branch made Hoot believe they had touched the ground, however as he recalled they passed over a storage lot a more likely explanation is that they flew so low that ground effect forced mud and branches skyward. But this would mean they recovered at an altitude of around 100 feet above the ground. Shortly after midnight, while his memory was still fresh, two inspectors of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) met with Hoot to take his statement of what happened. For a short time the pilots were declared heroes for averting a crash and Hoot received the same amount of praise and attention that Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger would receive almost 30 years later.
From this moment on, the investigators of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believed that somehow the №7 slat had extended by itself in flight and caused the plane to roll over and dive, then at 8,000 feet, as they discovered after locating it, the canoe fairings and flight spoiler in a field near where the plane recovered from its dive, the slat ripped off the wing and allowed the pilots to recover from the dive. (The debris field showed these pieces tore off at roughly the same time.) If a hidden fault with the 727 was to blame then all 1,700 727s in service could be grounded. This would be disastrous and no manufacturer, Boeing included, would ever want this to happen. The following month, the DC-10s in America were grounded for just over a month after an engine came off an American Airlines DC-10 while taking off from Chicago killing 273 people. The reputation of the DC-10 never recovered after this crash.
As TWA 841 didn’t crash, Trans World Airlines wanted to get the plane repaired and put back into service, but nobody at TWA, Airline Pilots Association (ALPA (the pilot’s union)) and the NTSB ever suggested preserving N840TW for further investigation and testing to determine the definitive cause of the upset. You would think that if a plane during the cruise phase of flight, where statistics show only 8% of crashes occur, fell over 30,000 feet — coming within seconds of crashing — and the plane was all intact that you would want to carefully examine every part of the plane that could cause a loss of control to figure out what happened to prevent a possible fatal recurrence. Well, despite the investigators being very lucky to have an intact plane, that didn’t happen and mechanics went in to replace and repair the damaged parts. In doing so, any valuable evidence which could provide clues to assist the investigation was lost. 12 days after the upset the preliminary repairs were completed and the plane was flown to Kansas City for more extensive repairs.
At the time, commercial airliners had a very primitive Flight Data Recorder (FDR): it used foil that only recorded Altitude, Heading, Airspeed, and Vertical acceleration or G-trace, which provided the investigators very little to explain the cause of the upset. TWA-841 FDR-Readout
When the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was analyzed, 21 minutes of the 30 minute recording was blank — the recording should have begun over 12 minutes after they recovered from the dive — and the only recorded conversations were after they taxied off the runway.
Although incriminating today, in 1979 it was essentially a standard procedure at the end of every flight to erase the Cockpit Voice Recording if everything was routine for privacy reasons. When CVRs were first introduced in the 1960s, pilots felt this was an invasion of privacy as the Flight Data Recorder told the investigators what happened, why did they need to know what was said? The Cockpit Voice Recorder often tells the investigators why it happened if the pilots died, helps them better understand what happened in the cockpit to prevent a recurrence and also to prove the pilots handled an emergency situation very professionally. But to the pilots, the recording of thousands of routine flights being preserved is like saying that the manager installed a recording device in the lunchroom or breakroom at your workplace to know what you and all your colleagues are discussing. Part of the overhead panel where the CVR erase button is located
To erase the CVR, one has to push the erase button and hold it for at least two seconds to prevent any accidental erasures. The truth is that there wasn’t anybody at the end of a flight who would pull the tape to find any embarrassing comments by the pilots, and the recording would be quite short — just 30 minutes. The only time someone would listen to a CVR would be after a crash or serious incident.
On April 12th a hearing was held in which there were 11 men representing five parties: the NTSB, FAA, ALPA, TWA, and Boeing. Hoot Gibson — with ALPA attorney Ken Cooper and two ALPA representatives, one of them being TWA/ALPA accident investigation committee chairman Captain Jim McIntyre — was informed that the CVR showed evidence of erasure and questioned as to why 21 minutes were missing. He stated that while he did routinely erase the CVR after every flight, he did not do so on this occasion. Hoot was questioned about other things by several investigators to the point that he felt this was a cross-examination by a hostile prosecutor in a criminal case, not a forum to gather information that may lead to answers in determining the probable cause. Scott and Gary were then questioned about events during the upset and if they erased or saw someone erase the CVR to which they said no for the latter.
After the hearing the flight crew were no longer declared heroes, and this was the last time the investigators ever directly talked to the pilots, the only people who could say what happened, about the upset and the events leading up to it; newspaper stories erroneously printed out that Hoot had admitted to erasing the CVR. Even though the investigators understood the “CVR would not have contained any contemporaneous information about the events that immediately preceded the loss of control
” as it tapes over itself after 30 minutes, the fact the plane came within a few seconds of crashing only for the pilots to erase it caused the NTSB to become so convinced that pilots of TWA 841 wanted to hide something. From that moment on they pointed their fingers at them for causing the upset and discounted their sworn testimonies… even the passengers' testimonies which supported the pilots’ version of events.
Scott Kennedy said that the three of them were so busy flying their ‘sick’ plane to Detroit and going through the emergency checklists that there was no time for anyone to think of devising a cover story. He found it irritating that the investigators would ever think they wanted to hide something because they were working to save the plane and everyone onboard. The investigator-in-charge, Leslie Dean Kampschror (1932–1995), an Air Force and Vietnam veteran but wasn’t an airline pilot nor had a multi-engine rating, said: “This is the kind of case the Board has never had to deal with -- a head-on collision between the credibility of a flight crew versus the airworthiness of the aircraft.
The NTSB asked Boeing to conduct tests to determine how a slat could extend by itself in flight. For the slat actuator to fail it would require 70 Gs (causing a structural failure of the airplane long before that) but the simplest way is the flaps and slats are extended in cruise, something in a slat breaks, and then they are retracted but the slat in question remains extended. On most planes, the flaps and slats move in unison with the position of the flap lever, but there was a way to have only
the flaps extend. A yaw damper failure was cursory considered… at best. Later that year Boeing published a report in which they came up with a scenario to explain the upset — dubbed The Boeing Scenario —
a theory where the flight crew want to extend just the flaps. Diagram of the 727-100's control systems
To do this the alternate flap switch on the overhead panel above pilot and co-pilot was activated, then one pilot pulled the circuit breaker to the leading-edge slats at the rear of the cockpit near the flight engineer’s position, turned the alternate flap switch off and extended the flaps to the 2° position. While still extended, the circuit breaker was pushed in, causing the slats to extend, and while the crew retracted the flaps and slats, the №7 slat remained extended.
However, Boeing went beyond what was instructed and in some ways conducted the investigation — Hoot said this was equivalent to putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank. The Boeing Scenario
is a maintenance procedure and no pilot would have any reason to do it; the tests carried out and the report written were by mechanics, not pilots, who were unaware of the flight crew’s testimonies. TWA and ALPA claimed the conclusions were erroneous, misleading, inappropriate, and requested that Boeing remove this from the final report to which Boeing complied and removed it. However, the report had been leaked and the media declared that Hoot was fooling around with the flaps.
On Hoot’s second flight after TWA flight 841 from Chicago to New York, a flight attendant refused to fly with him and he was forced to taxi back to the gate where the flight attendant and several passengers deplaned which delayed the flight for one hour until a replacement was found. Little did Hoot know this incident in Chicago would be just a walk in the park. Many young pilots ripped his signature from their logbooks and refused to speak with him at pilot lounges. In his personal life and even at the grocery store, people would smirk, walk off, and ask him if he had been suspended from flying. He started having problems sleeping, suffered anxiety and likely PTSD from the events that night. The hardships greatly affected him and caused high blood pressure that was exacerbated due to the rumors and misinformation the media spread about him. Most notably there was a rumor he had committed suicide. Then The Boeing Scenario
was told at aeronautical universities. At this point, Hoot desired to tell the investigators his version of events but ALPA rep. Jim McIntyre said it was unlikely anyone at the NTSB would listen to him. McIntyre, whose job was to ensure the investigation was conducted fairly, felt the investigation was being conducted unfairly and requested that Leslie Kampschror be removed after he felt Kampschror had lost impartiality. One could argue that the investigators were suffering from tunnel vision. Unfortunately, neither ALPA or TWA ever sought to thoroughly question the crew to get more details about the events leading up to the upset… most notably that the plane yawed several times before the upset.
The 'probable cause'
In June 1981, after a two year investigation, which was the longest at the time, the NTSB issued its final report for TWA flight 841
in which they blamed the flight crew for the upset. Despite Boeing removing its report, the NTSB adopted The Boeing Scenario
into the report.
The Board wrote: “The Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the isolation of the №7 leading edge slat in the fully or partially extended position after an extension of the Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 7 leading edge slats and the subsequent retraction of the Nos. 2, 3, and 6 slats, and the captain’s untimely flight control inputs to counter the roll resulting from the slat asymmetry. Contributing to the cause was a preexisting misalignment of the №7 slat which, when combined with the cruise condition airloads, precluded retraction of that slat. After eliminating all probable individual or combined mechanical failures, or malfunctions which could lead to slat extension, the Safety Board determined that the extension of the slats was the result of the flightcrew’s manipulation of the flap/slat controls. Contributing to the captain’s untimely use of the flight controls was distraction due probably to his efforts to rectify the source of the control problem.
At the time there was shoptalk amongst 727 pilots where if you extended just the flaps to the 2° position the plane would fly faster and performance would increase. Whether or not this really happened, doing this was unauthorized because flaps and slats are designed to be extended at slow speeds during takeoff and landing, not at very high airspeeds and high altitudes during cruise. In reality the plane flies slower and performance decreases in this configuration due to the added drag. The belief is that while cruising at 39,000 feet, Flight Engineer Gary Banks left the cockpit to use the washroom. While in the washroom, Captain Gibson turned on the alternate flap switch directly above him, got out of his seat and pulled the circuit breaker to the leading-edge slats, turned the alternate flap switch off and extended the flaps to the 2° position. Then when Banks returned to the cockpit, out of the loop as to what had happened, he saw the popped circuit breaker and instinctively pushed it in, extending the slats which caused the vibrations. Upon realizing what had happened, Gibson retracted the flaps and slats, but the №7 slat remained extended due to a crack in the T-bolt. This caused the plane to roll over and dive until at 8,000 feet the slat broke off and enabled the pilots to recover the airplane. Where the circuit breaker in question was and how it would have appeared at night
Part of the evidence was based on a passenger's hand written statement that she saw Banks give meal trays to a flight attendant and enter the cockpit just before the upset— though in January 1980, Mark Moscicki testified that Banks gave him the meal trays at the rear of the first class cabin, 15 feet from the cockpit door 30 minutes
prior to upset and then went straight back into the cockpit where he never saw him come back out, and what she most likely saw was Moscicki handing the trays to a stewardess — and there were several test flights done in 727s to measure the vibrations caused by extending the flaps and slats at 39,000 feet.
There were three board members present and one of them, Francis McAdams, had a heated discussion with Leslie Kampschror about the NTSB’s findings and conclusions. Had at least another board member agreed with him, McAdams would have continued his battle but since they didn’t, he reluctantly chose to accept the NTSB’s findings. While an investigative branch is not a court of law and their conclusions in a final report are probable
in the event that such evidence is unrecoverable and there can be some errors, the idea the pilots did this is just ludicrous and the flight crew, TWA and ALPA argued that the investigators got the cause dead wrong.
There is no evidence to suggest that these pilots, let alone any other pilot, had ever done this procedure before or were even aware of it. ALPA and the NTSB questioned hundreds of 727 pilots — anonymously, so if they said yes there would be no disciplinary action taken against them — and not one recalled doing or hearing about this procedure. This was Hoot Gibson’s first trip as a 727 Captain in three months and he asked the two other pilots to keep an eye on him, so it’s highly unlikely that he would do this risky procedure with passengers onboard. He stated:
“At no time prior to the incident did I take any action within the cockpit either intentionally or inadvertently, that would have caused the extension of the leading-edge slats or trailing edge flaps. Nor did I observe any other crew member take any action within the cockpit, either intentional or inadvertent, which would have caused the extension”.
Scott Kennedy said in a 1983 CBS documentary about this flight, The Plane That Fell From The Sky,
that he only learned of this procedure three weeks after
the flight when the NTSB leaked it out to aviation publications. Gary Banks said that if Hoot actually did this then he would have reported him almost immediately. Also, Trans World Airlines’ written procedure at the time for a popped circuit breaker would be to first advise the Captain
of it and only push it back in after further investigation; normally popped circuit breakers would only be reset by maintenance personnel.
While The Boeing Scenario
was adopted but not mentioned in the final report, there is no mention about pulled circuit breakers, instead, the report claims that the slat extended due to “the flight-crew’s manipulation of the flap/slat controls.” The conclusion is made even more ludicrous in that there is no explanation of why the crew manipulated the controls, nor why after having manipulated the controls they then lost control, other than to say that the captain made untimely corrective control inputs and both pilots became spatially disoriented. The pilots and ALPA believed that the actuator to the №7 slat had failed causing the upset, but the NTSB determined that it was “impossible” for the slats to extend without manipulating the controls.
However, a British Airways Captain and Aviation Analyst, Stanley Stewart, talked a bit about TWA flight 841 in a 1991 book he wote. He suggested that there were other incidents of 727–200s with uncommanded slat extensions in the years prior to and after the near accident and the flight crew knew the aircraft was potentially unstable at 39,000 feet. He believed it to be unlikely that the pilots would “fool around” with the controls and risk the stability of the aircraft. Jim McIntyre concluded the TWA 841 investigation was a textbook case on how not to conduct an accident investigation.
Following this near accident, airlines did an inspection of the slat actuators for any defects and cracks which could cause in-flight deployments; it also became incriminating to erase the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the CVR erase button was jokingly referred to as the "Hoot Gibson button". The airplane involved was repaired and returned to service one month later in May of 1979. It continued to operate for TWA until 1988 when it was converted into a freighter and sold to Jet East before being sold to four more operators and finally Tropical Air Trading Co. until 2006 when it was put in storage at the airport on Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela (as of 2012 it's still there). Picture of the plane, registered as N220NE, in 2007 Link
to Part 2 if anybody missed it at the top
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