Fields of Fortune: The crash of United Airlines flight 232

The vast wreckage trail left by United 232 slices across two runways and a corn field at Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa. (Sioux City Journal)
N1819U, the aircraft involved in the accident. (Werner Fischdick)
Diagram of the inner workings of a CF6–6D engine, with the stage 1 fan disk highlighted. (NTSB)
The route of United Airlines flight 232. Sioux City is also highlighted. (Google + own work)
CGI animation of the explosion on board United 232. (Mayday/Cineflix)
Diagram of the hydraulic lines inside the horizontal stabilizer and the damage which was done to them. (NTSB)
The pilots of flight 232; from left to right: Captain Al Haynes, First Officer Bill Records, Flight Engineer Dudley Dvorak, and a later addition, Captain Denny Fitch.
How a phugoid cycle works. (Unknown source)
The full track of flight 232’s final minutes. Feel free to save this image and follow along. (NTSB)
Denny Fitch, pictured in 2007. (Sioux City Journal)
A reenactment of the events in the cockpit of flight 232 demonstrates how Denny Fitch squeezed in between the two pilots, kneeling on the floor to reach the throttles. (TEAMS)
This photo of the fan disk, recovered and reassembled after the crash, shows how it split into two main pieces before departing the airplane. (NTSB)
In this actual photo of flight 232 on approach to Sioux City, major damage to the tail section is clearly visible. (Iowa Public Radio)
This map shows the distribution of debris which fell to earth over the Iowa countryside after the explosion. (NTSB)
An actual photo of flight 232 on final approach to Sioux City. (Sioux City Journal)
Real footage of the crash taken by news crews near the airport. (KTIV)
Rescuers rush to the scene moments after the crash. (KTIV)
The seating locations of those who died and those who survived. (Ardenau4 via Wikimedia, based on NTSB material.)
An aerial shot shows just the final portion of the debris trail. The main fuselage section with the wings can be seen lying upside down; the tail section separated during the crash sequence and can be seen in the upper right. (Iowa Public Radio)
Another angle shows the majority of the debris trail. (Sioux City Journal)
Close up of the burnt-out center fuselage section, where the majority of the survivors were seated. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
Iowa Air National Guard Lieutenant Dennis Nielsen carries 3-year-old crash survivor Spencer Bailey away from the wreckage of flight 232. (Omaha World Herald)
A view into the tail section. Around 15 people seated back here survived; only two died. (Sioux City Journal)
Another view of the DC-10’s detached tail section. (ABC News)



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Admiral Cloudberg

Admiral Cloudberg

Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at