Pan Am Boeing 707 – 1965 Emergency Landing

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An evening pause: This television news report about a 1965 near disaster where a Pan American passenger jet’s engine and wing fall off and the captain brings everything down safely is fascinating to watch, partly because of the live action footage taken by one passenger, but also at how television news has evolved since then, for the worse. This 1965 report has no shots a newsperson standing in front of the camera telling us what happened, as is typical today. Instead, the filming focuses on the events and the witnesses themselves, and lets them tell the story in as straight-forward a manner as possible.

Hat tip Mike Nelson.



  • mpthompson

    The second plane sent to pick up the passengers stranded at Travis AFB had it’s nose wheel collapse??? WTF! LOL! What kind of maintenance schedule were those planes on? And then all, but eight of the passengers got in a third plane to finally make it to Hawaii. Sheesh, I would have that only eight of the passengers would get in the third plane.

  • Joe

    My dad was on an American Airlines dc-10 in 1979, flight 191, he got off that aircraft at Detroit Metro, the aircraft went on to O Hare and landed, on takeoff enroute to L.A., the right engine came off and landed on the runway, severely damaging the wing and its control surfaces, all aboard perished, it was determined to be a maintenance issue. Stuff happens and no one has any control over it, I am sure the mechanics who worked on that aircraft had no idea that something like that would happen, this is why airliner accidents are studied so closely.

  • C. Cecil

    Without researching what happened, I would guess the crew put her on the hardstand in existing configuration.
    Way over normal landing speed, but who cares about tires in a situation like this? An enormous amount of lift lost, but the weight of the lost engine, fuel tanks and contents, etc. would probably compensate for the loss of lift. 8 degrees wing down on the port side, #3 at 90%, 1 & 2 at 60%, what more can you do? Just a guess.

  • Edward

    Interestingly, as part of the simulator recreations of the flight 191 accident, sometimes they told the pilots what they were simulating and sometimes not. Because a lot of cabling was severed when the engine departed the aircraft, the airplane’s instrumentation gave incorrect information to the pilots, and every simulator pilot who was not told what they were simulating crashed their simulated airplane, but every pilot who was told had managed to return to the airport. This demonstrates the importance of the pilots knowing the true condition of the aircraft.

    I’m glad your father was not aboard, otherwise he would have become one of the many who lost their lives while we learned how to fly right: (7 minutes, Bill Whittle, “The Deal,” I know that I have linked to this a lot, lately)

  • Joe

    C. Cecil, I would agree with you, if it’s flying with that kind of damage, changing configurations is a big unknown, why upset the apple cart if the possibility exists that you can’t pick all the apples back up! Edward, thanks for the Video, I have seen it before, there is a learning curve that comes with all new technologies, commercial aviation included, commercial aviation in the United States has become so safe with both maintenance and procedures in the cockpit being a crucial part of the safety record, I am very fortunate that my dad deplaned where he did, in this respect we are powerless to predict the next ten minutes, sometimes pilots can work miracles and sometimes they can’t.

  • Sandra Warren

    Another life-saving pilot from Danville, CA, just like Captain Sullenberger. I flew 50,000 miles last year, and always felt safe. It’s rare that I praise government intervention, but it seems to me that the NTSB and the FAA together with the world’s major airlines have combined all their efforts to make a magnificent transportation system. Kudos and thanks to all the people in the airline industry who get us there safely.

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