Eastern Airlines Flight 401 (Crash; UL; Ghost Of Flight 401 Book; Movie)

Dingo667

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TVgeek said:
Isn't this where one of the cabin crew
appeared to be looking back at someone from
out of an eye-level oven?

I've never looked at domestic
air travel the same, since!

TVgeek

Jeez, THAT is well scary...brrrrrr [and it takes a lot for me to feel like this] Err, I'm still shivering. Ha, that made my day :shock: :D
 

Brighid45

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I used to have the book--great read, creepy and yet somehow reassuring. Given the state of some of the planes I've flown in, having a flight crew on the other side looking out for maintenance is a good thing. :)

Saw the movie years ago--it was pretty decent tv-movie fare. I do remember the scene where a flight attendant sees one of the deceased pilot's reflection in a galley oven door. That kept me up a night or two. :shock:
 

Moonchime

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Gingernut said:
A few years back whilst visiting a friend in Tuscon, I went into a second hand book store to purchase a good read for my flight back to London. Being a supernatural kinda chick I picked one that was called something like "The Mystery of Flight 401" or 410, I dont remember. Anyway, it was a fascinating story of a crashed airliner that was broken up and had the parts distributed for use elsewhere. Staff on the planes that received these parts started to report hauntings of the dead crew, sitting in the cockpit and their faces appearing in the door of the elevator to the hold/kitchen. This book purported to be a true story, but I cannot find any mention of it when I put it into a search engine. Has anyone read the book, or can anyone confirm that this was a true story? I would love to know, but seem to have mislaid the book since.

How strange? you should write about this story. I was just thinking about it the other day. When I lived in Tucson, the movie came on television. It was purported to be true. I believe it. I've seen too many strange things happen in my lifetime that prove to me that anything is possible.~Moonchime
 

Brighid45

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Here are some 'Flight 401' sites from a google search:

http://www.123gold.com/flight401/gary/
(pictures of a contemporary L-1011 cockpit etc)

http://freshgasflow.com/flight401.htm
(excellent overview of flight conditions and excerpts from the 'black box' flight recorder)

http://www.near-death.com/ghosts.html
(the basic story of the apparition sightings)

I remember talking with my dad about this crash. He was a pilot and had a good understanding of what had happened when the details came out. A light malfunctioned--one of the landing wheel lights didn't come on, and the crew wasn't sure if the light was simply not working or the landing gear really hadn't come down. They became so focused on the problem that they didn't pay attention to the fact that the plane was descending (about 200 feet a minute, a very slow descent which would have been hard to detect). By the time they checked the altimeter(someone probably heard a low-altitude warning siren) it was too late to correct the descent and the plane crashed.

So--because a $12 part didn't work right, over one hundred people died. I'd say that's pretty good grounds for wanting to haunt other L-1011s to make sure it didn't happen again. :)
 

MrRING

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Interesting aside - I have a pal whose dad was a Delta mechanic all his life. And they get free air miles being a retiree - but he refuses to fly. Ever. His whole family will fly and he'll drive cross-country to meet them.

What does he know that other folks aren't telling us?
 

Brighid45

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JMHO, but I'd bet he knows that when a company starts cutting air fares, one of the first internal budget cuts comes from maintenance, believe it or not.

I've done my fair share of flying, and as a result have done my fair share of asking the plane "just hold together for this one flight, PLEASE". On one memorable occasion I entered a plane, saw not only duct tape holding the seats together but loose bolts near an aileron, and refused to fly on that flight.
 
A

Anonymous

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On one memorable occasion I entered a plane, saw not only duct tape holding the seats together but loose bolts near an aileron, and refused to fly on that flight.

PLEASE do tell what company was it!!!! :shock:
(unless your flight was in south america, in which case there are not even seats on the planes to worry about!)
 

Brighid45

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To be honest, I don't remember. It was a smaller company that offered commuter flights, and the fleet was older. I did get another flight, but it wasn't much better. When we took off, the whole plane vibrated like a tuning fork. Yikes! Thankfully that flight was only an hour or so long, but I was praying the whole time :shock: *lol*!!

Anyway--one of the websites for flight 401 commented on the crash, saying that the biggest culprit was complacency, and imo that's very true. It's too easy to think technology will keep you safe when it's like a force of nature--take it for granted, and you're in trouble.
 

Glamarama

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Gingernut said:
A few years back whilst visiting a friend in Tuscon, I went into a second hand book store to purchase a good read for my flight back to London. Being a supernatural kinda chick I picked one that was called something like "The Mystery of Flight 401" or 410, I dont remember. Anyway, it was a fascinating story of a crashed airliner that was broken up and had the parts distributed for use elsewhere. Staff on the planes that received these parts started to report hauntings of the dead crew, sitting in the cockpit and their faces appearing in the door of the elevator to the hold/kitchen. This book purported to be a true story, but I cannot find any mention of it when I put it into a search engine. Has anyone read the book, or can anyone confirm that this was a true story? I would love to know, but seem to have mislaid the book since.

You're braver than me , no way would I be reading a story like that on a plane! :D
 

Naughty_Felid

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mugsy67

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... there's the 401 case. When ghosts started turning up on planes that had used salvaged parts from Flight 401 the parts were removed.


The book about 401, called The Ghost Of Flight 401, is extremely weird, especially the seance stuff.
 
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blessmycottonsocks

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Austin Popper

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Although the crash was obviously real, I thought the ghost stories were pure fiction.
What do you mean exactly? That the ghost encounters were imaginary? Lies? Made up by the author of the book? If they are pure fiction, then someone along the line is full of shit. Who do you suppose that is?
 

blessmycottonsocks

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What do you mean exactly? That the ghost encounters were imaginary? Lies? Made up by the author of the book? If they are pure fiction, then someone along the line is full of shit. Who do you suppose that is?

Yes. The author - John G Fuller specialised in UFO books and also wrote the political conspiracy play The Pink Elephant. He made a living out of sensationalising the paranormal.
The skeptoid link posted above or indeed the Wikipedia entry are dismissive of the ghostly additions to the crash.
 

Austin Popper

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Just for the record ...

Here are some photos of the Flight 401 crash site:

http://planecrashinfo.com/w19721229.htm

Do you see anything that recommends itself as salvageable or reusable?
I think I remember a microwave oven being re-used in the movie. :dunno: I never paid much attention to the movie or the book. I think I watched most of the movie when it was on TV. Mostly I watched because it was about airplanes. The crash and the cascading errors that led to it were always what interested me. A relative once told me it was the subject of study at a management seminar he attended for work. Everyone in the cockpit was obsessed with an indicator light. He said you could hear the captain telling someone, "You fly the plane" but nobody could tear their attention away from the light bulb. Which turned out to have burned out; the landing gear was fine.
 

Andy X

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I too was drawn to this as I enjoyed spooky stories as a child but also through being an aviation obsessive. The faces in the microwave were more frightening for me when I read the book under the continental quilt at an inappropriately young age...when I saw the film much later I think I was far less affected. The whole tale as recounted in Fuller's book scared me silly and it pulled no punches regarding the brutal nature of the crash and aftermath thereof either.

Despite being determined to take the narrative as fact for maximum scares I'm sure, even at such a young age, I found the idea of microwaves being reinstalled in other aircraft etc. somewhat hard to swallow.
 

escargot

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Just for the record ...

Here are some photos of the Flight 401 crash site:

http://planecrashinfo.com/w19721229.htm

Do you see anything that recommends itself as salvageable or reusable?

It was a large plane. It crashed on soft ground and broke up, rather than, say, exploding in mid-air like the one that hit Lockerbie. What is shown in those photos is not all the wreckage.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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But apart from the lurid claims made in Fuller's book and the subsequent made-for--TV movie, is there any evidence of any Eastern Airlines staff reporting anything spooky?
Frank Borman, the erstwhile VP of Eastern Airlines and who was onsite at the crash, dismissed the ghostly elaborations as "garbage" .
 

EnolaGaia

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It was a large plane. It crashed on soft ground and broke up, rather than, say, exploding in mid-air like the one that hit Lockerbie. What is shown in those photos is not all the wreckage.

My point was that even this sample of the overall wreckage demonstrated the plane and its equipment was damaged beyond re-use.
 

Krepostnoi

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My point was that even this sample of the overall wreckage demonstrated the plane and its equipment was damaged beyond re-use.
I have no experience in aviation beyond that of being a passenger. To what extent is/was it ever standard practice to salvage parts from planes for re-use in other airframes? From what I gather, the safety procedures and audit trails are meticulous. Would it ever be cost-effective to retrieve a component from a plane which had undergone an unplanned encounter with terra firma, test it sufficiently to be sure it was still safe enough, and fit to another plane? Outside of exigencies such as wartime, was this ever done?
 

EnolaGaia

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This breaks down into 2 separate questions ...

(1) Is recycling of aircraft components done?

Yes - most definitely. Both commercial and military aircraft are scavenged for spare parts that can be refurbished / upgraded / re-used. The extent to which this can reasonably be done depends on the second question ...

(2) What makes a component recyclable (or not)?

The short answer is 'condition'. A thousand pieces 'n' parts of a plane that crashed can be ruled out pretty much out of hand. However, planes can be 'removed from service' or 'retired' or 'junked' without having been catastrophically damaged.

The main thing that 'totals' an aircraft as a whole is damage to the overall structure (fuselage; wings; etc.). Such overall structural damage would require a total rebuild of the airframe, and this is rarely done because it's not economically justifiable (the main exceptions being military aircraft during wartime and restoration of historically significant or otherwise desirable aircraft).

For example, an airliner that (non-catastrophically) skids off a runway and ruins its undercarriage is a 'total loss' as a complete aircraft, but much if not most of its interior equipment could be re-used.

The most likely candidate components for such recycling would be avionics, owing to their specialized nature and replacement cost.

A microwave oven - even a specialized 28(?)-volt unit - wouldn't be worth considering.
 

Anonymous-50446

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This breaks down into 2 separate questions ...

(1) Is recycling of aircraft components done?

Yes - most definitely. Both commercial and military aircraft are scavenged for spare parts that can be refurbished / upgraded / re-used. The extent to which this can reasonably be done depends on the second question ...

(2) What makes a component recyclable (or not)?

The short answer is 'condition'. A thousand pieces 'n' parts of a plane that crashed can be ruled out pretty much out of hand. However, planes can be 'removed from service' or 'retired' or 'junked' without having been catastrophically damaged.

The main thing that 'totals' an aircraft as a whole is damage to the overall structure (fuselage; wings; etc.). Such overall structural damage would require a total rebuild of the airframe, and this is rarely done because it's not economically justifiable (the main exceptions being military aircraft during wartime and restoration of historically significant or otherwise desirable aircraft).

For example, an airliner that (non-catastrophically) skids off a runway and ruins its undercarriage is a 'total loss' as a complete aircraft, but much if not most of its interior equipment could be re-used.

The most likely candidate components for such recycling would be avionics, owing to their specialized nature and replacement cost.

A microwave oven - even a specialized 28(?)-volt unit - wouldn't be worth considering.
Engines can be worth saving if undamaged. They are rated for a number of hours and a pal of mine works in a business where they remove engines with a number of hours left on them from aircraft A, which is u/s for some other reason, recondition them and fit them to aircraft B to use up the remaining hours. That this can be profitable at all is quite something, but it is.

Naturally it's a tightly controlled process, and in the case of a crashed aircraft, I doubt(!) the engines would be re-used.
 

EnolaGaia

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Yes - engines are quite valuable and sometimes specific to one or another aircraft 'species', making them ideal candidates for recycling.
 

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My point was that even this sample of the overall wreckage demonstrated the plane and its equipment was damaged beyond re-use.

There's no indication that this 'sample' is representative of the more general state of the wreckage. We don't know the context of the photos.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's an aerial overview of the Flight 401 crash site ...

29982949E.jpg

An even broader aerial overview of the crash site (copyrighted, so I won't post it) can be viewed at:

http://flashbackmiami.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1972eastair20100707003_t-copy.jpg
 

Andy X

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This breaks down into 2 separate questions ...

(1) Is recycling of aircraft components done?

Yes - most definitely. Both commercial and military aircraft are scavenged for spare parts that can be refurbished / upgraded / re-used. The extent to which this can reasonably be done depends on the second question ...

(2) What makes a component recyclable (or not)?

The short answer is 'condition'. A thousand pieces 'n' parts of a plane that crashed can be ruled out pretty much out of hand. However, planes can be 'removed from service' or 'retired' or 'junked' without having been catastrophically damaged.

The main thing that 'totals' an aircraft as a whole is damage to the overall structure (fuselage; wings; etc.). Such overall structural damage would require a total rebuild of the airframe, and this is rarely done because it's not economically justifiable (the main exceptions being military aircraft during wartime and restoration of historically significant or otherwise desirable aircraft).

For example, an airliner that (non-catastrophically) skids off a runway and ruins its undercarriage is a 'total loss' as a complete aircraft, but much if not most of its interior equipment could be re-used.

The most likely candidate components for such recycling would be avionics, owing to their specialized nature and replacement cost.

A microwave oven - even a specialized 28(?)-volt unit - wouldn't be worth considering.

Yep, quite so!
 

RaM

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A mate and I once bought a pair of Hunter drop tanks and made a catamaran out of them,
a few weeks later he gets a call, have you still got the drop tanks? and are the valves still
in the top? Yes, he bought the valves back for a lot more than we paid for the tanks, seems
a nasty little war had started in some God awful place and they wanted to blow each other up.
 
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