>Off the Beaten Path>A real hero died earlier this week
Thinking about the Beastie Boys and "that dude who ate a bag of corn" (ok, chia seeds)... and I missed this one.
Denny Fitch died on Monday. Brain cancer.
I know. You've never heard of this guy. This is true heroism, a generation before Captain Sully.
Perhaps you have heard/seen/read about United Flight 232, which crash landed in Sioux City Iowa in 1989. I've posted about it before. 112 people died that day. And 185 survived... thanks to the sharp teamwork of the flight crew. And one Denny Fitch. He was a pilot traveling as a passenger that day. He heard an explosion and decided to go up to the cockpit to help. They needed it. He sat on the floor of the cockpit and helped.
Sitting in a window seat in the last row of first class, Fitch had just finished his lunch and asked for a cup coffee.
Suddenly, the explosion spilled his coffee. As an instructional pilot, he had just spent days training fellow airmen for every conceivable kind of problem — hydraulic failure, immovable flaps, fires and more. He tried to assure a worried flight attendant that everything was going to be fine."She said, 'No, you don't understand, we've lost control of the plane'"
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.
After the accident, aviation experts conducted simulations in which test pilots and trainer pilots tried to land similarly stricken aircraft.
"I'm not aware of any that replicated the success these guys had," said Mike Hamilton, a United pilot who flew with Fitch. None of the simulator pilots were able to make a survivable landing.
The amazing thing is that he just kind of happened to be on that particular flight on that particular day.
Incidentally, this crew saved a whole lot of other people that day.
A more serious remark often quoted from Al Haynes was made when ATC asked the crew to make a left turn to keep them clear of the city:
Whatever you do, keep us away from the city.
Fitch: I'll tell you what, we'll have a beer when this is all done
Haynes: Well I don't drink, but I'll sure as hell have one.
Sioux City Approach: United Two Thirty-Two Heavy, the wind's currently three six zero at one one; three sixty at eleven. You're cleared to land on any runway.
Haynes: [laughter] Roger. [laughter] You want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?
185 people and countless folks on the ground lived.
I knew who Denny Finch was. I watched that landing play out on the TV set 100 times.
His passing was big news here in Iowa.
My Dad died of Brain Cancer. I really miss him...July 2010 and it still effin hurts. sorry...
Feeling the growl again
A real hero indeed. RIP, Denny.
"If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does. There's your pep talk for today. Go Run." -- Slo_Hand
Cool Jump Suit
From what Captain Haynes said, they would not have been able to do it without him. He worked the throttles on the 1 & 3 engines, which kept the plane in level flight. Just very sad. He'll always be remembered though. Yes, cancer sucks.
The kiss goodnight, it comes with me,Both wrong and right, our memories. The whispering before we sleep,Just one more thing that you can't keep.Our favorite place we used to go,The warm embrace that no one knows.The lovin' look that's left your eyes,But I know in time we'll find this was no surprise.