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Accident Report Detail

American Airlines, Inc., DC-10, N110AA

Executive Summary

​​​About 1504 c.d.t., May 25, 1979, American Airlines, Inc., flight 191, a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10 aircraft, crashed into an open field just short of a trailer park about 4,600 f t northwest of the departure end of runway 32R at Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, Illinois.

Flight 191 was taking off from runway 32R. The weather was clear and the visibility was 15 miles. During the takeoff rotation, the left engine and pylon assembly and about 3 f t of the leading edge of the left wing separated from the aircraft and f ell to the runway. Flight 191 continued to climb to about 325 f t above the ground and then began to roll to the left. The aircraft continued to roll to the left until the wings were past the vertical position, and during the roll, the aircraft's nose pitched down below the horizon.

Flight 191 crashed into the open field and the wreckage scattered into an adjacent trailer park. The aircraft was destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire. Two hundred and seventy-one persons on board Flight 191 were killed; two persons on the ground were killed, and two others were injured. An old aircraft hangar, several automobiles, and a mobile home were destroyed.

Probable Cause


The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the asymmetrical stall and the ensuing roll of the aircraft because of the uncommanded retraction of the left wing outboard leading edge slats and the loss of stall warning and slat disagreement indication systems resulting from maintenance-induced damage leading to the separation of the No. 1 engine and pylon assembly at a critical point during takeoff. The separation resulted from damage by improper maintenance procedures which led to failure of the pylon structure.​

Accident Location: Chicago , IL   Chicago International Airport
Accident Date: 5/25/1979
Accident ID: DCA79AA017

Date Adopted: 12/21/1979
NTSB Number: AAR-79-17
NTIS Number: NTISUB/E/104-017

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