75 A.B.A. J. 52 (1989)
Animated Evidence - Delta 191 Crash Re-Created through Computer Simulations at Trial; Marcortte, Paul

handle is hein.journals/abaj75 and id is 1512 raw text is: BI ITI(ATIflWI

Animated Evidence
Delta 191 crash re-created through
computer simulations at trial

BY PAUL MARCOTTE
s Delta Flight 191, with 163
people aboard, approached
Dallas-Fort Worth Interna-
tional Airport at 5:52 p.m., Aug. 2,
1985, weather conditions were ripe for
thunderstorms.
The Delta crew could see the sun
shining at the airport 35 miles to the
southwest. But while the airport
baked under 101-degree heat, two
cloud cells stood in the path of in-
coming planes. Within minutes one
cell would swell dramatically, form-
ing a narrow storm to the north of
the airport.
Meanwhile, air traffic control-
lers directed the wide-bodied Lock-
Paul Marcotte, a lawyer, is a re-
porter for the ABA Journal.

heed L-1011 north, west and south
toward its final approach.
A flight controller in the tower
saw lightning hit the ground shortly
before 6 p.m. Witnesses later would
describe the fast-developing storm as
a wall of water, the worst in years.
Ground radar detected the rain's
growing intensity, but the informa-
tion wasn't relayed to pilots because
a federal government meteorologist
took an extended lunch break and
there wasn't a replacement on duty.
As Delta 191 continued in, First
Officer Rudolph Price remarked to
crew members, We're going to get
our airplane washed.
When the plane hit light rain,
Delta Captain Edward Connors told
controllers, Tower, DL191 heavy, out
here in the rain, feels good.
About the same time, a control-

ler told a supervisor, That is heavy,
heavy rain off the approach end of
both runways.
Shortly thereafter, Price said,
Lightning coming out of that one.
Where? Connors asked.
Right ahead of us, said Price.
As Flight 191 hit heavy rain
about a minute later, Connors ex-
claimed, You're going to lose it all of
a sudden, there it is.
To exhortations of Push it up,
push it up, way up, Price added air-
speed. Seven seconds later Delta 191
was hit by a 44 knot wind shear.
Eight seconds after experiencing
the wind shear-a violent change ipl
direction and speed of the wind the
Delta 191 crew tried to abort the
landing. But it was too late for the
crew to do anything. The plane was
caught in powerful wind vortexes

52 ABA JOURNAL / DECEMBER 1989

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