It was over Windsor Ontario, Canada. A cargo door of a DC-10 blew out and along with it would come a coffin, 3 rows of seats, and a valuable lesson to the aviation industry. Little would anyone know it was the dress rehearsal for a much bigger tragedy to come, one that would be the worst crash of all time.
Chapter 1: The start of tragedy
It was June 10th 1972. It was the beginning of summer for most, but for Bryce McCormick it was just another day on the job. Today he would fly a DC 10 from LA to New York via Buffalo and Detroit. This particular aircraft was quite new and had barely been used. McCormick himself had less than 100 hours of flying time on this particular aircraft. The DC-10, launched in August 5th, 1971 with American Airlines, the DC-10 was one of the newest and most technologically advanced aircraft in the skies. The aircraft that McCormick was flying was only the 3rd built and had barely been flown. As the aircraft was loaded up, everything was going according to plan and most of the passengers and baggage had been loaded up. Co pilot peter Whitney was making his rounds of the aircraft to ensure t was in an airworthy state. Not expecting to see much he made 2 quick walk-arounds of the aircraft before re-boarding. "Ready to close up." he radioed to the ground crews. The baggage handler at the airport hit the small button that would close the cargo door and pushed on the latch that would close the locking pins. For some reason, the latch wouldn't go down. He pressed his knee against it, and with a mighty force the latch slowly eased down. In the cockpit, Bryce McCormick saw the cargo door light go out and the pilots readied themselves for the flight to New York. "American 96 ready for push back to runway 36L" Whitney radioed to the tower. "Roger, ready for push-back runway 36L" replied the tower. With a great heave, the massive aircraft slowly went away from the terminal and towards the runway. It was now on its journey towards the sky.
As the aircraft arrived at the foot of the runway, Whitney did one, final check of the controls to ensure everything was in working order. He found nothing and permitted the continuation of the takeoff roll. "Power up" He said, as McCormick raised the throttles. The massive luxury liner, as American Airlines called it, began to pick up speed. "V1" called Whitney, as the aircraft approached the speed at which the aircraft cannot be safely topped on the runway. Now the pilots were committed to the sky. "Rotate" called Whitney, and the massive aircraft's nose slowly rose into the sky.
You never think about it, but every time you get onto an aircraft and travel to some faraway destination, you break a rule that was never meant to be broken. As the wings of that aircraft get you into the sky, you are breaking gravity and the belief man was meant to stay on the ground. Air travel has become more and more common and everyday millions of people get on a plane somewhere, around the world. Today, air travel is very safe and aircraft almost never crash, but there are still accidents that happen. It is a cool reminder of the rule that man should stay on the ground and the fact that gravity is always there to stop us.
Sorry the first chapter is so short, I will try to get longer chapters in the future. Thanks for reading!