Airline pilot Denny Fitch was hitching a ride home on a DC-10 in 1989 when heard an explosion somewhere in the back of the jet. He soon made his way to the cockpit to see if the crew needed help.
Inside, he found three men desperately trying to keep the giant plane in the air after losing all hydraulic power needed to control direction and altitude. Fitch took a seat in the only space available — the floor — and helped operate some of the only equipment still working — the wing engines — to try to land the aircraft carrying nearly 300 people.
Fitch, who died Monday at 69, used everything he knew about flying to confront an emergency that engineers never imagined could happen to a modern jetliner.
When the crippled plane crash-landed in Sioux City, Iowa, more than half of the passengers survived — one of the most admired life-saving efforts in aviation history.
via Associated Press.
Denny Fitch and the crew of United 232 certainly performed one of the most remarkable feats of airmanship ever.