DESTINATION DISASTER: From the Tri-Motor to the DC-10 by Paul; Elaine Potter & Bruce Page Eddy

DESTINATION DISASTER: From the Tri-Motor to the DC-10

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A deep look at commercial aviation, harried aircraft manufacturers and designers, airlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine where the blame lies for the 1974 crash of a DC-10 in France's Ermenonville forest. The dead: all 346 passengers and crew. It was a crash out of the blue on a spring day. There's no denying the immediate cause: an improperly closed cargo door blew off, depressurizing the cabin, collapsing the floor, and cutting the hydraulics control systems between the nose and the tail. But the real cause lies elsewhere, since the crash was clearly foreseen and it had been put in writing that the cargo door would blow off. There had already been over 1,000 reported problems with cargo doors in the DC-10s flying for various American airlines. The design flaw was ""corrected"" with a gimcrack safety device made doubly worthless when a Turkish baggage handler could not read the door-closing instructions printed in English on the fuselage. The three authors are part of a London Sunday Times investigative team and have done their work handsomely. However, Moira Johnston's The Last Nine Minutes (see below) is a far more poignant and intense account of the same crash and its legal horrors, and deserves first consideration.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Quadrangle/New York Times