MD 11 Takes Flight - History

MD 11 Takes Flight - History

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On January 10th 1990 the first flight of the MD-11 took place. The MD-11 is an advanced derivative of the DC-10

Historical Snapshot

The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet was designed for aircraft carrier duty and was the first tactical aircraft designed to carry out both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The U.S. Marines ordered it as an F-18 fighter and the Navy as an A-18 attack aircraft. It can switch roles easily and can also be adapted for photoreconnaissance and electronic countermeasure missions.

The F/A-18 Hornet was also the first aircraft to have carbon fiber wings and the first tactical jet fighter to use digital fly-by-wire flight controls. Variants included a two-seater, an improved fighter, a reconnaissance aircraft and a night-attack fighter.

Hornets entered active duty in January 1983. In 1986, Hornets on the USS Coral Sea flew their first combat missions. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, while performing an air-to-ground mission, Hornets switched to fighter mode and destroyed two Iraqi MiG-21s in air-to-air combat, then switched back to attack mode and successfully completed their air-to-ground mission. During 2001, Hornets provided around-the-clock battlefield coverage in the Afghanistan Theater of operations.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet made its first flight in November 1995. The Super Hornet is a low-observable aircraft that performs multiple missions, including air superiority, day-and-night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, and close air support. It is operational in 10 U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wings (25 squadrons) and the Royal Australian Air Force.

The Super Hornet is produced in the single-seat E model and the two-seat F model. The F/A-18E/F is 25 percent larger than the original Hornet and has increased maneuverability, range, and payload, and more powerful engines. It entered operational service with the U.S. Navy in 1999, after Boeing had merged with McDonnell Douglas, won the Collier Trophy for that year and flew its first combat missions in 2002.

In April 2005, Boeing delivered the first Block II Super Hornet, an upgraded Super Hornet with the world&rsquos first tactical multimode active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

In 2008, the EA-18G Growler joined the Navy&rsquos aircraft fleet. A Super Hornet derivative, the EA-18G provides tactical jamming and electronic protection for U.S. and allied forces, delivering full-spectrum airborne electronic attack capability along with the targeting and self-defense capabilities of the Super Hornet.

On April 22, 2010 &mdash Earth Day&mdash an unmodified, Boeing-built F/A-18F Super Hornet took off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., powered by a sustainable biofuel blend of 50 percent camelina and 50 percent JP-5 aviation fuel. Boeing had worked with the Navy on laboratory testing of fuel properties and engineering evaluations of fuel system compatibility. Nicknamed Green Hornet, the F/A Super Hornet has won seven consecutive awards for environmental excellence from the U.S. Navy.

In August 2013, Boeing and Northrop Grumman began flight tests with a prototype of an Advanced Super Hornet aircraft with conformal fuel tanks, an enclosed weapons pod and signature enhancements.


Initial design Edit

Boeing had been studying short-haul jet aircraft designs, and saw a need for a new aircraft to supplement the 727 on short and thin routes. [3] Preliminary design work began on May 11, 1964, [4] based on research that indicated a market for a fifty to sixty passenger airliner flying routes of 50 to 1,000 mi (100 to 1,600 km). [3] [5]

The initial concept featured podded engines on the aft fuselage, a T-tail as with the 727, and five-abreast seating. Engineer Joe Sutter relocated the engines to the wings which lightened the wing structure and simplified the accommodation of six-abreast seating in the fuselage. [6] The engine nacelles were mounted directly to the underside of the wings, without pylons, allowing the landing gear to be shortened, thus lowering the fuselage to improve baggage and passenger access. [7] Relocating the engines from the aft fuselage also allowed the horizontal stabilizer to be attached to the aft fuselage instead of as a T-tail. [8] Many designs for the engine attachment strut were tested in the wind tunnel and the optimal shape for high speed was found to be one which was relatively thick, filling the narrow channels formed between the wing and the top of the nacelle, particularly on the outboard side.

At the time, Boeing was far behind its competitors rival aircraft in service SE 210 Caravelle and in development, the BAC One-Eleven (BAC-111), Douglas DC-9, and Fokker F28 were already into flight certification. [9] To expedite development, Boeing used 60% of the structure and systems of the existing 727, the most notable being the fuselage, which differs in length only. This 148-inch (3.76 m) wide fuselage cross-section permitted six-abreast seating compared to the rivals' five-abreast. The 727's fuselage was derived from the 707. [10]

The proposed wing airfoil sections were based on those of the 707 and 727, but somewhat thicker altering these sections near the nacelles achieved a substantial drag reduction at high Mach numbers. [11] The engine chosen was the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-1 low-bypass ratio turbofan engine, delivering 14,500 lbf (64 kN) thrust. [12]

The concept design was presented in October 1964 at the Air Transport Association maintenance and engineering conference by chief project engineer Jack Steiner, where its elaborate high-lift devices raised concerns about maintenance costs and dispatch reliability. [6]

Major design developments Edit

The original 737 continued to be developed into thirteen passenger, cargo, corporate and military variants. These were later divided into what has become known as the four generations of the Boeing 737 family:

  • The first "Original" generation: the 737-100 and -200, also the military T-43 and C-43, launched February 1965.
  • The second "Classic" generation: 737-300, -400 and 500 series, launched in 1979.
  • The third generation "NG" series: 737-600, -700, -800 and 900 series, also the military C-40 and P-8, launched late 1993.
  • The fourth generation 737 MAX series, launched August 2011.

Launch Edit

The launch decision for the $150 million development was made by the board on February 1, 1965. Lufthansa became the launch customer on February 19, 1965, [10] with an order for 21 aircraft, worth $67 million [9] after the airline had been assured by Boeing that the 737 project would not be canceled. [13] Consultation with Lufthansa over the previous winter had resulted in the seating capacity being increasd to 100. [10]

On April 5, 1965, Boeing announced an order by United Airlines for 40 737s. United wanted a slightly larger capacity than the 737-100, so the fuselage was stretched 36 in (91 cm) ahead of, and 40 in (102 cm) behind the wing. [8] The longer version was designated the 737-200, with the original short-body aircraft becoming the 737-100. [14] Detailed design work continued on both variants simultaneously.

Introduction Edit

The first -100 was rolled out on January 17, 1967, and took its maiden flight on April 9, 1967, piloted by Brien Wygle and Lew Wallick. [15] After several test flights the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Type Certificate A16WE certifying the 737-100 for commercial flight on December 15, 1967. [16] [17] It was the first aircraft to have, as part of its initial certification, approval for Category II approaches, [18] which refers to a precision instrument approach and landing with a decision height between 98 to 197 feet (30 to 60 m). [19] Lufthansa received its first aircraft on December 28, 1967, and on February 10, 1968, became the first non-American airline to launch a new Boeing aircraft. [16] Lufthansa was the only significant customer to purchase the 737-100 and only 30 aircraft were produced. [20]

The -200 was rolled out on June 29, 1967, and had its maiden flight on August 8, 1967. It was then certified by the FAA on December 21, 1967. [17] [21] The inaugural flight for United Airlines took place on April 28, 1968, from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan. [16] The lengthened -200 was widely preferred over the -100 by airlines. [22] The improved version, the 737-200 Advanced, was introduced into service by All Nippon Airways on May 20, 1971. [23]

The 737 original model with its variants, known later as the Boeing 737 Original, initially competed with SE 210 Caravelle and BAC-111 due to their earlier entry into service and later primarily with the McDonnell Douglas DC-9, then its MD-80 derivatives as the three European short-haul single aisles slowly withdraw from the competition. Sales were low in the early 1970s [24] and, after a peak of 114 deliveries in 1969, only 22 737s were shipped in 1972 with 19 in backlog. The US Air Force saved the program by ordering T-43s, which were modified Boeing 737-200s. African airline orders kept the production running until the 1978 US Airline Deregulation Act, which improved demand for six-abreast narrow-body aircraft. Demand further increased after being re-engined with the CFM56. [6] The 737 went on to become the highest-selling commercial aircraft until surpassed by the competing Airbus A320 family in October 2019, but maintains the record in total deliveries.

The fuselage is manufactured in Wichita, Kansas, by Boeing spin-off company Spirit AeroSystems, before being moved by rail to Renton. [25]

737 Original (first generation) Edit

The Boeing 737 Original is the name given to the -100/200 and -200 Advanced series of the Boeing 737 family.

737-100 Edit

The initial model was the 737-100, the smallest variant of the 737 aircraft family, which was launched in February 1965 and entered service with Lufthansa in February 1968. In 1968, its unit cost was US$3.7M (1968), [26] $27.5M today. A total of 30 737-100s were ordered: 22 by Lufthansa, 5 by Malaysia–Singapore Airlines (MSA) and 2 by Avianca with the final commercial aircraft delivered to MSA on October 31, 1969. The first aircraft used by Boeing as prototype under registration N73700 was later ordered by and delivered to NASA on July 26, 1973, which then operated it under registration N515NA and retired after 30 years on September 27, 2003. This was the last operated 737-100 and is the only remaining worldwide, which is on the static display in the Museum of Flight in Seattle. [27] [28]

The original engine nacelles incorporated thrust reversers taken from the 727 outboard nacelles. They proved to be relatively ineffective and tended to lift the aircraft up off the runway when deployed. This reduced the downforce on the main wheels thereby reducing the effectiveness of the wheel brakes. In 1968, an improvement to the thrust reversal system was introduced. [29] A 48-inch tailpipe extension was added and new, target-style, thrust reversers were incorporated. The thrust reverser doors were set 35 degrees away from the vertical to allow the exhaust to be deflected inboard and over the wings and outboard and under the wings. The improvement became standard on all aircraft after March 1969, and a retrofit was provided for active aircraft. Boeing fixed the drag issue by introducing new longer nacelle/wing fairings, and improved the airflow over the flaps and slats. The production line also introduced an improvement to the flap system, allowing increased use during takeoff and landing. All these changes gave the aircraft a boost to payload and range, and improved short-field performance. [16]

737-200 Edit

The 737-200 was a 737-100 with an extended fuselage, launched by an order from United Airlines in 1965 and entered service with the launch customer in April 1968. Its unit cost was US$4.0M (1968) [26] ($29.8M today). The -200's unit cost was US$5.2M (1972) [30] ($32.2M today). The 737-200 Advanced is an improved version of the -200, introduced into service by All Nippon Airways on May 20, 1971. [23] After aircraft #135, the 737-200 Advanced has improved aerodynamics, automatic wheel brakes, more powerful engines, more fuel capacity, and hence a 15% increase in payload and range over the original -200s and respectively -100s. [18] [31] The 737-200 Advanced became the production standard in June 1971. [32] Boeing also provided the 737-200C (Combi), which allowed for conversion between passenger and cargo use and the 737-200QC (Quick Change), which facilitated a rapid conversion between roles. The 1,095th and last delivery of a -200 series aircraft was in August 1988 to Xiamen Airlines. [1] [33]

Nineteen 737-200s, designated T-43, were used to train aircraft navigators for the U.S. Air Force. Some were modified into CT-43s, which are used to transport passengers, and one was modified as the NT-43A Radar Test Bed. The first was delivered on July 31, 1973, and the last on July 19, 1974. The Indonesian Air Force ordered three modified 737-200s, designated Boeing 737-2x9 Surveiller. They were used as Maritime reconnaissance (MPA)/transport aircraft, fitted with SLAMMAR (Side-looking Multi-mission Airborne Radar). The aircraft were delivered between May 1982 and October 1983. [34]

After 40 years, in March 2008, the final 737-200 aircraft in the U.S. flying scheduled passenger service were phased out, with the last flights of Aloha Airlines. [35] The variant still sees regular service through North American charter operators such as Sierra Pacific. [36] With the improved short-field capabilities of the 737-200, Boeing offered the option of the gravel kit modification features preventing foreign object damage, which enables this aircraft to operate on remote, unimproved or unpaved runways, such as gravel runways, that other similarly sized jetliner cannot. [37] Until retiring its -200 fleet in 2007, Alaska Airlines used this option for some of its combi aircraft rural operations to serve many unimproved runways in Alaska. [38] [39] Gravel-kitted 737-200 Combis are still used by Canadian North, Air Inuit, Nolinor, Chrono and Air North in Northern Canada where gravel runways are common.

In July 2019, there were 46 Boeing 737-200s in service, mostly with "second and third tier" airlines, and those of developing nations. [40]

737 Classic (second generation) Edit

The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the 737-300/400/500 series after the introduction of the -600/700/800/900 series of the Boeing 737 family. [41] Produced from 1984 to 2000, a total of 1,988 Classic series were delivered. [42]

The main development was to re-engine with the high pressure ratio CFM56-7. By the early 1990s, while the MD-80 slowly withdraw from the competition leading to introduction of the MD-90, it had become clear that the new A320 family was a serious threat to Boeing's market share, as Airbus won previously loyal 737 customers such as Lufthansa and United Airlines. In November 1993, to keep the hand in the single aisle competition, Boeing's board of directors authorized the Next Generation program to mainly upgrade the 737 Classic series. [43] In late 1993, after engineering trade studies and discussions with major customers, Boeing proceeded to launch a second derivative of the Boeing 737, the 737 Next Generation (NG) -600/700/800/900 series. [1] It featured a redesigned wing with a wider wingspan and larger area, greater fuel capacity, longer range and higher MTOWs. It was equipped with CFM56-7 high pressure ratio engines, a glass cockpit, and upgraded interior configurations. The four main models of the series can accommodate seating for 108 to 215 passengers. It was further developed into additional versions such as the corporate Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and military P-8 Poseidon aircraft. Following the merger between Boeing with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the primary competitor for the 737NG series remained only the A320 family.

Close to the next major upgrade of single aisle aircraft at Airbus and Boeing, the price of jet fuel reached a peak in 2008, when airlines devoted 40% of the retail price of an air ticket to pay for fuel, versus 15% in 2000. [44] [45] Consequently, in that year carriers retired Boeing 737 Classic aircraft to reduce fuel consumption replacements consisted of more efficient 737 Next Generation or A320 family aircraft. On June 4, 2008, United Airlines announced it would retire all 94 of its Classic 737 aircraft (64 737-300 and 30 737-500 aircraft), replacing them with A320 family jets taken from its Ted subsidiary, which has been shut down. [46] [47] [48] This intensified the competition between the two giant aircraft manufacturers, which has since become a duopoly competition.

An optional upgrade with winglets became available for the Classic and NG series.

  • The 737-300 can be retrofitted with Aviation Partners Boeing winglets. The 737-300 retrofitted with winglets is designated the -300SP (Special Performance).
  • WestJet was to launch the 737-600 with winglets, but dropped them in 2006. [49]

737-300 Edit

Development began in 1979 for the 737's first major revision, which was originally introduced as the 'new generation' of the 737. [50] Boeing wanted to increase capacity and range, incorporating improvements to upgrade the aircraft to modern specifications, while also retaining commonality with previous 737 variants. In 1980, preliminary aircraft specifications of the variant, dubbed 737-300, were released at the Farnborough Airshow. [51] This first major upgrade series was later renamed to the 737 Classic series. It competed primarily with MD-80, later its derivative MD-90 and the newcomer Airbus A320 family. Boeing engineer Mark Gregoire led a design team, which cooperated with CFM International to select, modify and deploy a new engine and nacelle that would make the 737-300 into a viable aircraft. They chose the CFM56-3B-1 high-bypass turbofan engine to power the aircraft, which yielded significant gains in fuel economy and a reduction in noise, but also posed an engineering challenge, given the low ground clearance of the 737 and the larger diameter of the engine over the original Pratt & Whitney engines. Gregoire's team and CFM solved the problem by reducing the size of the fan (which made the engine slightly less efficient than it had been forecast to be), placing the engine ahead of the wing, and by moving engine accessories to the sides of the engine pod, giving the engine a distinctive non-circular "hamster pouch" air intake. [52] [53] Earlier customers for the CFM56 included the U.S. Air Force with its program to re-engine KC-135 tankers. [54] The passenger capacity of the aircraft was increased to 149 by extending the fuselage around the wing by 9 feet 5 inches (2.87 m). The wing incorporated several changes for improved aerodynamics. The wingtip was extended 9 in (23 cm), and the wingspan by 1 ft 9 in (53 cm). The leading-edge slats and trailing-edge flaps were adjusted. [52] The tailfin was redesigned, the flight deck was improved with the optional EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrumentation System), and the passenger cabin incorporated improvements similar to those developed on the Boeing 757. [55] The prototype -300, the 1,001st 737 built, first flew on February 24, 1984, with pilot Jim McRoberts. [55] It and two production aircraft flew a nine-month-long certification program. [56] The 737-300 retrofitted with Aviation Partners' winglets was designated the -300SP (Special Performance). The 737-300 was replaced by the 737-700 of the Next Generation series.

737-400 Edit

The 737-400 was launched in 1985 to fill the gap between the 737-300 and the 757-200. In June 1986, Boeing announced the development of the 737-400, [57] which stretched the fuselage a further 10 ft (3.0 m), increasing the capacity to 188 passenger and required a tail bumper to prevent tailstrikes during take-off, and a strengthened wing spar. [58] The -400s first flight was on February 19, 1988, and, after a seven-month/500-hour flight-testing run, entered service with Piedmont Airlines that October. [59] The last two -400s, i.e. the last 737 Classics series, were delivered to CSA Czech Airlines on February 28, 2000. [60] The 737-400 was replaced by the 737-800 of the Next Generation series. The 737-400SF was a 737-400 converted to freighter, though it was not a model delivered by Boeing and hence the nickname Special Freighter (SF). Alaska Airlines was the first to convert one of their 400s from regular service to an aircraft with the ability to handle 10 pallets. [61] The airline had also converted five more into fixed combi aircraft for half passenger and freight. These 737-400 Combi aircraft were retired in 2017 and replaced by the 737-700F of the Next Generation series. [62]

737-500 Edit

The 737-500 was offered as a modern and direct replacement of the 737-200. It was launched in 1987 by Southwest Airlines, with an order for 20 aircraft, [63] and it flew for the first time on June 30, 1989. [59] A single prototype flew 375 hours for the certification process, [59] and on February 28, 1990, Southwest Airlines received the first delivery. [42]

The -500 incorporated the improvements of the 737 Classic series, allowing longer routes with fewer passengers to be more economical than with the 737-300. The fuselage length of the 737-500 is 1 ft 7 in (48 cm) longer than the 737-200, accommodating up to 140 [58] passengers. Both glass and older-style mechanical cockpits arrangements were available. [59] Using the CFM56-3 engine also gave a 25% increase in fuel efficiency over the older 737-200s P&W engines. [59] The 737-500 has faced accelerated retirement due to its smaller size, after 21 years in service compared to 24 years for the -300. [64] [65] While a few 737-300s were slated for freighter conversion, no demand at all existed for a -500 freighter conversion. The 737-500 was replaced by the 737-600 of the Next Generation series, though the -600 was not as successful in total orders as the -500.

737 NG (third generation) Edit

The Boeing 737 Next Generation, abbreviated as 737 Next Gen or 737NG, is the name given to the main models 737-600/700/800/900 series and the extended range -700ER/900ER variants of the Boeing 737 family. It has been produced since 1996 and introduced in 1997, with a total order of 7,097 aircraft, of which 7,031 have been delivered as of May 2019 [update] . [1] [24]

737-600 Edit

The 737-600, the smallest model of the Next-Generation, was launched by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) in March 1995 with the first aircraft delivered in September 1998. [66] A total of 69 aircraft without winglets have been produced with the last one delivered to WestJet in 2006. [1] The 737-600 replaced the 737-500 and is similar to the Airbus A318.

737-700 Edit

The 737-700, the first variant of the Next-Generation, was launched in November 1993 with an order of 63 aircraft. The -700 seats 126 passengers in a two-class or 149 passengers in a one-class layout. The launch customer Southwest Airlines took the first delivery in December 1997. [67] The 737-700 replaced the 737-300 and competes with the Airbus A319.

The 737-700C is a convertible version where the seats can be removed to carry cargo instead. There is a large door on the left side of the aircraft. The United States Navy was the launch customer for the 737-700C under the military designation C-40 Clipper. [68]

The 737-700ER (Extended Range) was launched on January 31, 2006, and featured the fuselage of the 737-700 and the wings and landing gear of the 737-800. A 737-700ER can typically accommodate 126 passengers in two classes with a range similar to the Airbus A319LR. [69]

737-800 Edit

The Boeing 737-800 was a stretched version of the 737-700 launched on September 5, 1994. The -800 seats 162 passengers in a two-class or 189 passengers in a high-density, one-class layout. Launch customer Hapag-Lloyd Flug (now TUIfly) received the first one in April 1998. [70] The -800 replaced directly the -400 and aging 727-200 of US airlines. It filled also the gap left by Boeing's decision to discontinue the MD-80 and MD-90 aircraft, following Boeing's merger with McDonnell Douglas. The 737-800 is the most widely used narrowbody aircraft and competes primarily with the Airbus A320. [71]

737-900 Edit

The 737-900 was launched in 1997. It retains the MTOW, fuel capacity, trading range for payload and also the exit configuration of the -800, limiting its seat capacity to approximately 177 in a two class and 189 in a high-density, one class layout. The launch customer Alaska Airlines received the delivery on May 15, 2001.

The 737-900ER (Extended Range) is the newest and largest variant of the 737NG generation. An additional pair of exit doors and a flat rear pressure bulkhead increased its seating capacity to 180 passengers in a two-class and up to 220 passengers in a one-class configuration. [72] The -900ER was introduced to meet the range and passenger capacity of the discontinued 757-200 and to directly compete with the Airbus A321.

737 MAX (fourth generation) Edit

The Boeing 737 MAX is the name given to the main MAX 737-7/8/9/10 series and high-density MAX 200 variant of the Boeing 737 family. It is offered in four main variants, typically offering 138 to 230 seats and a range of 3,215 to 3,825 nmi (5,954 to 7,084 km). The 737 MAX 7, MAX 8 (including the denser, 200-seat MAX 200), and MAX 9 replace the 737-700, -800, and -900 respectively. The further stretched 737 MAX 10 has also been added to the series. The main development was to re-engine with CFM LEAP-1B very high bypass ratio. On July 20, 2011, Boeing announced plans for a third major upgrade and respectively fourth generation of 737 series to be powered by the CFM LEAP-1B engine, with American Airlines intending to order 100 of these aircraft. [73]

On August 30, 2011, Boeing confirmed the launch of the 737 new engine variant, to be called the Boeing 737 MAX. [74] [75] [76] It was based on earlier 737 designs with more efficient LEAP-1B power plants, aerodynamic improvements (most notably split-tip winglets), and airframe modifications. It competes with the Airbus A320neo family that was launched in December 2010 and reached 1,029 orders by June 2011, breaking Boeing's monopoly with American Airlines, which had an order for 130 A320neos that July. [77] The 737 MAX had its first flight on January 29, 2016, and gained FAA certification on March 8, 2017. [78] [79] The first delivery was a MAX 8 on May 6, 2017, to Lion Air's subsidiary Malindo Air, [80] which put it into service on May 22, 2017. [81] As of January 2019 [update] , the series has received 5,011 firm orders. [1]

In March 2019, aviation authorities around the world grounded the 737 MAX following two hull loss crashes which caused 346 deaths. [82] On December 16, 2019, Boeing announced that it would suspend production of the 737 MAX from January 2020, [83] which was resumed in May 2020. In the midyear 2020, the FAA and Boeing conducted a series of recertification test flights. [84] On November 18, 2020, the FAA cleared the MAX to return to service. Before the aircraft can fly again, repairs must be implemented and airlines' training programs must be approved. Passenger flights in the U.S. are expected to resume before the end of the year. [2] Worldwide, the first airline to resume passenger service was Brazilian low-cost Gol, on December 9, 2020. [85]

737 MAX 7 Edit

The 737 MAX 7, a shortened variant of the MAX 8, was originally based on the 737-700, flying 1,000 nmi (1,900 km) farther and accommodating two more seat rows at 18% lower fuel costs per seat. [86] [87] The redesign uses the 737-8 wing and landing gear a pair of over-wing exits rather than the single-door configuration a 46-inch-longer (1,200 mm) aft fuselage and a 30-inch-longer (760 mm) longer forward fuselage structural re-gauging and strengthening and systems and interior modifications to accommodate the longer length. [88] Entry into service with launch operator Southwest Airlines was expected in January 2019, but the airline deferred these orders until 2023–2024. [89] [90] The 737 MAX 7 replaced the 737-700 and was predicted to carry 12 more passengers and fly 400 nmi (740 km) farther than Airbus A319neo with 7% lower operating costs per seat. [91]

737 MAX 8 Edit

The MAX 8, the first variant of the 737 MAX, has a longer fuselage than the MAX 7. On July 23, 2013, Boeing completed the firm configuration for the 737 MAX 8. [92] Its first commercial flight was operated by Malindo Air on May 22, 2017. The MAX 8 replaced the 737-800 and competed with the A320neo.

The 737 MAX 200, a high-density version of the 737 MAX 8, was launched in September 2014 and named for seating for up to 200 passengers in a single-class layout with slimline seats requiring an extra pair of exit doors. The MAX 200 would be 20% more cost-efficient per seat, including 5% lower operating costs than the MAX 8 and would be the most efficient narrow-body on the market when entering service. [93] In mid-November 2018, the first MAX 200 of the 135 ordered by Ryanair rolled out, in a 197-seat configuration. [94] It was first flown from Renton on January 13, 2019, and was due to enter service in April 2019. [95] [96]

737 MAX 9 Edit

The 737 MAX 9, the stretched variant of the MAX 8, was launched with an order of 201 aircraft in February 2012. It made its roll-out on March 7, 2017, and first flight on April 13, 2017 [97] It was certified by February 2018. [98] The launch customer, Lion Air Group, took the first MAX 9 on March 21, 2018, before entering service with Thai Lion Air. [99] The 737 MAX 9 replaced the 737-900 and competed with Airbus A321neo.

737 MAX 10 Edit

The MAX 10 was proposed as a stretched MAX 9 in mid-2016, enabling seating for 230 in a single class or 189 in two-class layout, compared to 193 in two-class seating for the A321neo. The modest 66 in (1.7 m) stretch of fuselage enables the MAX 10 to retain the existing wing and CFM Leap 1B engine from the MAX 9 with a trailing-link main landing gear as the only major change. [100] The MAX 10 was launched on June 19, 2017, with 240 orders and commitments from more than ten customers. [101] The variant configuration with a predicted 5% lower trip cost and seat cost compared to the A321neo was firmed up by February 2018, and by mid-2018, the critical design review was completed. [102] [103] The Max 10 has similar capacity as A321XLR, but shorter range and much poorer field performance in smaller airports than A321XLR. [104] It was unveiled in Boeing's Renton factory on November 22, 2019, and scheduled for the first flight in 2020. [105] [106] Boeing also considered a parallel development along with the 757 replacement, similar to the development of the 757 and 767 in the 1970s. [107]

In the late 2010s, Boeing worked on a medium-range Boeing New Midsize Airplane (NMA) with two variants seating 225 or 275 passengers and targeting the same market segment as the 737 MAX 10 and the Airbus A321 neo. [108] A Future Small Airplane (FSA) was also touted during this period. [109] The NMA project was set aside in January 2020, as Boeing focused on returning the 737 MAX to service and announced that it would be taking a new approach to future projects. [110]

The 737 continued to evolve into many variants but still remains recognisable as the 737. These are divided into four generations but all are based on the same basic design.

Airframe Edit

The fuselage cross section and nose is derived from that of the Boeing 707 and Boeing 727. Early 737 cockpits also inherited the "eyebrow windows" positioned above the main glareshield, which were a feature of the original 707 and 727 [111] to allow for better crew visibility. [112] Contrary to popular belief, these windows were not intended for celestial navigation [113] (only the military T-43A had a sextant port for star navigation, which the civilian models lacked.) [114] With modern avionics, the windows became redundant, and many pilots actually placed newspapers or other objects in them to block out sun glare. They were eliminated from the 737 cockpit design in 2004, although they are still installed on customer request. [115] The eyebrow windows were sometimes removed and plugged, usually during maintenance overhauls, and can be distinguished by the metal plug which differs from the smooth metal in later aircraft that were not originally fitted with the windows. [115]

The 737's main landing gear, under the wings at mid-cabin, rotates into wheel wells in the aircraft's belly. The legs are covered by partial doors, and "brush-like" seals aerodynamically smooth (or "fair") the wheels in the wells. The sides of the tires are exposed to the air in flight. "Hub caps" complete the aerodynamic profile of the wheels. It is forbidden to operate without the caps, because they are linked to the ground speed sensor that interfaces with the anti-skid brake system. The dark circles of the tires are clearly visible when a 737 takes off, or is at low altitude. [116]

From July 2008 the steel landing gear brakes on new NGs were replaced by Messier-Bugatti carbon brakes, achieving weight savings up to 550–700 lb (250–320 kg) depending on whether standard or high-capacity brakes. [117] On a 737-800 this gives a 0.5% improvement in fuel efficiency. [118]

737s are not equipped with fuel dump systems. The original design was too small to require this, and adding a fuel dump system to the later, larger variants would have incurred a large weight penalty. Boeing instead demonstrated an "equivalent level of safety". Depending upon the nature of the emergency, 737s either circle to burn off fuel or land overweight. If the latter is the case, the aircraft is inspected by maintenance personnel for damage and then returned to service if none is found. [119] [120]

The original 737 with JT8D engines that span the entire wing chord

The 737NG with improved CFM56-7 engines

The 737 MAX has larger CFM LEAP engines with chevrons

Engines Edit

Engines on the 737 Classic series (-300, -400, -500) and Next-Generation series (-600, -700, -800, -900) do not have circular inlets like most aircraft but rather a planform on the lower side, which has been dictated largely by the need to accommodate ever larger engine diameters. The 737 Classic series featured CFM56 high bypass turbofan engines, which were 25% more efficient and also reduced noise significantly over JT8D low bypass engines used on the 737 Original series (-100 and -200), but also posed an engineering challenge given the low ground clearance of the Boeing 737 family. Boeing and engine supplier CFM International (CFMI) solved the problem by placing the engine ahead of (rather than below) the wing, and by moving engine accessories to the sides (rather than the bottom) of the engine pod, giving the 737 Classic and later generations a distinctive non-circular air intake. [52]

The wing also incorporated changes for improved aerodynamics. The engines' accessory gearbox was moved from the 6 o'clock position under the engine to the 4 o'clock position (from a front/forward looking aft perspective). This side-mounted gearbox gives the engine a somewhat rounded triangular shape. Because the engine is close to the ground, 737-300s and later models are more prone to engine foreign object damage (FOD). The improved, higher pressure ratio CFM56-7 turbofan engine on the 737 Next Generation is 7% more fuel-efficient than the previous CFM56-3 on the 737 Classic with the same bypass ratio. The newest 737 variants, the 737 MAX series, feature LEAP-1B engines from CFMI with a 68 inches (1.73 m) fan diameter. These engines were expected to be 10-12% more efficient than the CFM56-7B engines on the 737 Next Generation series. [121]

Flight systems Edit

The 737 is unusual in that it still uses a hydro-mechanical flight control system, similar to the Boeing 707 and typical of the period, that transmits pilot commands to control surfaces by steel cables run through the fuselage and wings rather than by an electrical fly-by-wire system as used in all of the Airbus fleet and all later Boeing models. [122] This has been raised as a safety issue because of the impracticality of duplicating such a mechanical cable-based system in the way that an electrical or electronic system can be. This leaves the flight controls as a single point of failure, for example by metal fragments from an uncontained engine failure penetrating the wings or fuselage. [123]

The primary flight controls have mechanical backups. In the event of total hydraulic system failure or double engine failure, they will automatically and seamlessly revert to control via servo tab. In this mode, the servo tabs aerodynamically control the elevators and ailerons these servo tabs are in turn controlled by cables running to the control yoke. The pilot's muscle forces alone control the tabs.

The 737 Next Generation series introduced a six-screen LCD glass cockpit with modern avionics but designed to retain crew commonality with previous 737 generations. [124] The 737 MAX introduced a 4 screen 15.1 inch cockpit manufactured by Rockwell Collins derived from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Except for the spoilers which are fly-by-wire controlled and all the analog instruments becoming digital, everything else is similar to the cockpits of the previous 737 generations to maintain commonality. [ citation needed ]

Aerodynamic Edit

The Original -100 and -200 series were built without wingtip devices but these were later introduced to improve fuel efficiency. The 737 has evolved four winglet types: the 737-200 Mini-winglet, 737 Classic/NG Blended Winglet, 737 Split Scimitar Winglet, and 737 MAX Advanced Technology Winglet. [115] The 737-200 Mini-winglets are part of the Quiet Wing Corp modification kit that received certification in 2005. [115]

Blended winglets were standard on the 737 NG and are available for retrofit on 737 Classic models. These winglets stand approximately 8 feet (2.4 m) tall and are installed at the wing tips. They improve fuel efficiency by up to 5% through lift-induced drag reduction achieved by moderating wingtip vortices. [125] [126]

Split Scimitar winglets became available in 2014 for the 737-800, 737-900ER, BBJ2 and BBJ3, and in 2015 for the 737-700, 737-900 and BBJ1. [127] Split Scimitar winglets were developed by Aviation Partners, the same Seattle-based corporation that developed the blended winglets the Split Scimitar winglets produce up to a 5.5% fuel savings per aircraft compared to 3.3% savings for the blended winglets. Southwest Airlines flew their first flight of a 737-800 with Split Scimitar winglets on April 14, 2014. [128] The next generation 737, 737 MAX, will feature an Advanced Technology (AT) Winglet that is produced by Boeing. The Boeing AT Winglet resembles a cross between the Blended Winglet and the Split Scimitar Winglet. [129]

An optional Enhanced Short Runway Package was developed for use on short runways.

Interior Edit

The first generation Original series 737 cabin was replaced for the second generation Classic series with a design based on the Boeing 757 cabin. The Classic cabin was then redesigned once more for the third, Next Generation, 737 with a design based on the Boeing 777 cabin. Boeing later offered the redesigned Sky Interior on the NG. The principle features of the Sky Interior include: sculpted sidewalls, redesigned window housings, increased headroom and LED mood lighting, [130] [131] larger pivot-bins based on the 777 and 787 designs and generally more luggage space, [131] and claims to have improved cabin noise levels by 2–4 dB. [130] The first 737 equipped Boeing Sky Interior was delivered to Flydubai in late 2010. [130] Continental Airlines, [132] [133] Alaska Airlines, [134] Malaysia Airlines, [135] and TUIFly have also received Sky Interior-equipped 737s. [136]

737 AEW&C Edit

The Boeing 737 AEW&C is a 737-700IGW roughly similar to the 737-700ER. This is an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) version of the 737NG. Australia is the first customer (as Project Wedgetail), followed by Turkey and South Korea.

T-43/CT43A Edit

The T-43 was a 737-200 modified for use by the United States Air Force for training navigators, now known as USAF combat systems officers. Informally referred to as the Gator (an abbreviation of "navigator") and "Flying Classroom", nineteen of these aircraft were delivered to the Air Training Command at Mather AFB, California during 1973 and 1974. Two additional aircraft were delivered to the Colorado Air National Guard at Buckley ANGB (later Buckley AFB) and Peterson AFB, Colorado, in direct support of cadet air navigation training at the nearby U.S. Air Force Academy.

Two T-43s were later converted to CT-43As, similar to the CT-40A Clipper below, in the early 1990s and transferred to Air Mobility Command and United States Air Forces in Europe, respectively, as executive transports. A third aircraft was also transferred to Air Force Material Command for use as a radar test bed aircraft and was redesignated as an NT-43A. The T-43 was retired by the Air Education and Training Command in 2010 after 37 years of service. [137]

C-40 Clipper Edit

The Boeing C-40 Clipper is a military version of the 737-700C NG. It is used by both the United States Navy and the United States Air Force, and has been ordered by the United States Marine Corps. [138] Technically, only the Navy C-40A variant is named "Clipper", whereas the USAF C-40B/C variants are officially unnamed.

P-8 Poseidon Edit

The P-8 Poseidon (formerly Multimission Maritime Aircraft) developed for the United States Navy by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, based on the Next Generation 737-800ERX. The P-8 can be operated in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles. It is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons, and is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys, as well as operate in conjunction with other assets such as the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) Edit

In the late 1980s, Boeing marketed the 77-33 jet, a business jet version of the 737-300. [139] The name was short-lived. After the introduction of the Next Generation series, Boeing introduced the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) series. The BBJ1 was similar in dimensions to the 737-700 but had additional features, including stronger wings and landing gear from the 737-800, and had increased range over the other 737 models through the use of extra fuel tanks. The first BBJ rolled out on August 11, 1998, and flew for the first time on September 4. [140]

On October 11, 1999, Boeing launched the BBJ2. Based on the 737-800, it is 19 feet 2 inches (5.84 m) longer than the BBJ, with 25% more cabin space and twice the baggage space, but has slightly reduced range. It is also fitted with auxiliary belly fuel tanks and winglets. The first BBJ2 was delivered on February 28, 2001. [140]

Boeing's BBJ3 is based on the 737-900ER. The BBJ3 has 1,120 square feet (104 m 2 ) of floor space, 35% more interior space, and 89% more luggage space than the BBJ2. It has an auxiliary fuel system, giving it a range of up to 4,725 nautical miles (8,751 km), and a Head-up display. Boeing completed the first example in August 2008. This aircraft's cabin is pressurized to a simulated 6,500-foot (2,000 m) altitude. [141] [142]

Boeing Converted Freighter program Edit

The Boeing Converted Freighter program (BCF), or the 737-800BCF program, was launched by Boeing in 2016. It converts old 737-800 passenger jets to dedicated freighters. [143] The first 737-800BCF was delivered in 2018 to GECAS, which is leased to West Atlantic. [144] Boeing has signed an agreement with Chinese YTO Cargo Airlines to provide the airline with 737-800BCFs pending a planned program launch. [145]

The Boeing 737 Classic, Next Generation and MAX series have faced significant competition from the Airbus A320 family first introduced in 1988. The relatively recent Airbus A220 family now also competes against the smaller capacity end of the 737 variants. The A320 was developed to compete also with the McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 and 95 series the 95 later becoming the Boeing 717. Since July 2017, Airbus had a 59.4% market share of the re-engined single aisle market, while Boeing had 40.6% Boeing had doubts on over-ordered A320neos by new operators and expected to narrow the gap with replacements not already ordered. [146] However, in July 2017, Airbus had still 1,350 more A320neo orders than Boeing had for the 737 MAX. [147]

Boeing delivered 8,918 of the 737 family between March 1988 and December 2018, [1] while Airbus delivered 8,605 A320 family aircraft over a similar period since first delivery in early 1988. [148]

Civilian Edit

The 737 is operated by more than 500 airlines, flying to 1,200 destinations in 190 countries: over 4,500 are in service and at any given time there are on average 1,250 airborne worldwide. On average, somewhere in the world, a 737 took off or landed every five seconds in 2006. Since entering service in 1968, the 737 has carried over 12 billion passengers over 74 billion miles (120 billion km 65 billion nm), and has accumulated more than 296 million hours in the air. The 737 represents more than 25% of the worldwide fleet of large commercial jet airliners. [153] [154]

Military Edit

Many countries operate the 737 passenger, BBJ, and cargo variants in government or military applications. [155] Users with 737s include:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Kazakhstan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan (Republic of China)
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Orders and deliveries Edit

Boeing delivered the 5,000th 737 to Southwest Airlines on February 13, 2006, the 6,000th 737 to Norwegian Air Shuttle in April 2009, [156] the 8,000th 737 to United Airlines on April 16, 2014. [157] The 10,000th 737 was ordered in July 2012, [158] and rolled out on March 13, 2018, as over 4,600 orders were pending. [159]

By 2006, there were an average of 1,250 Boeing 737s airborne at any given time, with two either departing or landing somewhere every five seconds. [153] The 737 was the most commonly flown aircraft in 2008, [160] 2009, [161] and 2010. [162]

In 2016, there were 6,512 Boeing 737 airliners in service (5,567 737NGs plus 945 737-200s and 737 Classics), more than the 6,510 A320 family. [163] In 2017, there were 6,858 737s in service (5,968 737NGs plus 890 737-200s and classics), fewer than the 6,965 A320 family. [164] [ verification needed ]

The 737 had the highest, cumulative orders for any airliner until surpassed by the A320 family in October 2019. [165] As of May 2021 [update] , 14,706 units of the Boeing 737 family had been ordered, with 4,014 units to be delivered, or 3,291 when including "additional criteria for recognizing contracted backlog with customers beyond the existence of a firm contract" (ASC 606 Adjustment). [1]

Deliveries by year for all 737 generations and model series [1]
Year 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Deliveries 78 43 [a] 127 580 529 490 495 485 440 415 372 376 372 290 330
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987
302 212 202 173 223 299 282 320 282 135 76 89 121 152 218 215 174 146 165 161
1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969 1968 1967
141 115 67 82 95 108 92 77 40 25 41 51 55 23 22 29 37 114 105 4

Model summary Edit

Orders and deliveries by generation and model series [1]
Generation Model series ICAO code [166] Orders Deliveries Unfilled orders First flight
737 Original 737-100 B731 30 30 April 9, 1967
737-200 B732 991 991 August 8, 1967
737-200C 104 104 September 18, 1968
737-T43A 19 19 March 10, 1973
737 Classic 737-300 B733 1,113 1,113 February 24, 1984
737-400 B734 486 486 February 19, 1988
737-500 B735 389 389 June 30, 1989
737 NG 737-600 B736 69 69 January 22, 1998
737-700 B737 1,128 1,128 February 9, 1997
737-700C 22 22 April 14, 2000 [167]
737-700W 17 14 3 May 20, 2004 [168]
737-800 B738 4,991 4,989 2 July 31, 1997
737-800A 186 146 40 April 25, 2009 [169]
737-900 B739 52 52 August 3, 2000
737-900ER 505 505 September 1, 2006
737 BBJ 737-BBJ1 (-700) B737 121 121 September 4, 1998
737-BBJ2 (-800) B738 23 21 2 N/A
737-BBJ3 (-900) B739 7 7 N/A
737 MAX 737 MAX (-7,-8,-9,-10) B37M / B38M / B39M / B3XM 4,453 486 3,967 January 29, 2016 [170]
Boeing 737 family All series B73-, B3-M 14,706 10,692 4,014 April 9, 1967 [1]

In 2019, 737 orders dropped by 90%, as 737 MAX orders dried up after the March grounding. [171] [ better source needed ] The 737 MAX backlog fell by 182, mainly due to the Jet Airways bankruptcy, a drop in Boeing's airliner backlog was a first in at least the past 30 years. [172]

As of January 2021 [update] , there has been a total of 502 aviation accidents and incidents involving all 737 aircraft, [173] including 218 hull losses resulting in a total of 5,585 fatalities. [174] [175]

A Boeing analysis of commercial jet airplane accidents between 1959 and 2013 found that the hull loss rate for the Original series was 1.75 per million departures, for the Classic series 0.54, and the Next Generation series 0.27. [176]

During the 1990s, a series of rudder issues on series -200 and -300 aircraft resulted in multiple incidents. In two total loss accidents, United Airlines Flight 585 (a -200 series) and USAir Flight 427, (a -300), the pilots lost control of the aircraft following a sudden and unexpected deflection of the rudder, killing everyone aboard, a total of 157 people. [177] Similar rudder issues led to a temporary loss of control on at least five other 737 flights before the problem was ultimately identified. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the accidents and incidents were the result of a design flaw that could result in an uncommanded movement of the aircraft's rudder. [178] : 13 [179] : ix As a result of the NTSB's findings, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered that the rudder servo valves be replaced on all 737s and mandated new training protocols for pilots to handle an unexpected movement of control surfaces. [180]

Following the crashes of two 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019, which caused 346 deaths, national aviation authorities around the world grounded the 737 MAX series. [82] On December 16, 2019, Boeing announced that it would suspend production of the 737 MAX from January 2020. [83] Production of the MAX series resumed on May 27, 2020. [181]

Owing to the 737's long production history and popularity, many older 737s have found use in museums after reaching the end of useful service.

MD 11 Takes Flight - History

The following events are those involving at least one passenger death where the aircraft flight had a direct or indirect role. Excluded would be events where the only passengers killed were stowaways, hijackers, or saboteurs.

The accident aircraft was the last 747-200 in passenger service with China Airlines and was to be sold to another carrier next month. According to Boeing, the aircraft was delivered to China Airlines in July 1979 and had accumulated approximately 21,180 landings and 64,394 flight hours. This nearly 22-year old aircraft was newer than similar models in the fleets of U.S. airlines. According to the FAA, the average age of Boeing 747-200 and 747-300 models in U.S. airline fleets at the time of this event was 24 years.

This was the 26th fatal event involving the Boeing 747. The next most recent 747 event was an October 2000 Singapore Airlines accident in Taipei that killed 79 passengers and four crew members. There have been several fatal events involving in-flight breakups, including the 1996 event involving TWA Flight 800 and a November 2001 fatal event involving an American Airlines Airbus A300 over New York City.

Previous in-flight breakups involving jet airliners have been due to varied causes, including a fuel tank explosion, severe weather or other atmospheric phenomena, bombs, missiles, and midair collisions.
More about this crash
Other 747 crashes

20 August 2007 China Airlines 737-800 flight 120 Naha, Japan: Shortly after landing at Naha on the island of Okinawa, the left engine caught fire and the crew initiated an emergency evacuation. Although the aircraft was destroyed by fire, all 157 passengers (including two toddlers) and eight crew members survived. Because this event did not result in a passenger death, it does not constitute a fatal event as defined by
More about this event
Other 737 crashes

Swissair flight 111

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Swissair flight 111, flight of a passenger airliner that crashed on September 2, 1998, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, killing all 229 on board. The subsequent investigation determined that faulty wires caused the plane’s flammable insulation to catch fire.

Swissair flight 111 was a regularly scheduled flight from New York City to Geneva. It was known as the United Nations airbus because many passengers were UN workers returning to the organization’s headquarters. At approximately 8:17 pm (Eastern Daylight Time 9:17 pm Atlantic Daylight Time [ADT]) the plane, a three-engine MD-11, took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport. On board were 14 crew members and 215 passengers. Less than an hour later, a strange smell was detected in the cockpit, and four minutes later smoke appeared but then disappeared. The pilots sent out a Pan Pan Pan, signaling that the aircraft was experiencing a problem, but there was no immediate danger. At the time, they believed there was an issue with the air conditioning system and were unaware of the rapidly intensifying fire in the ceiling. After consulting air traffic controllers, it was decided that the airplane would land in Halifax, some 56 miles (104 km) away. At about 10:21 pm (ADT), the pilots altered course in order to dump fuel. Three minutes later, they declared an emergency as various systems on the plane began to fail and the cockpit began to fill with smoke. Shortly thereafter air traffic controllers lost contact. The aircraft hit the water at about 10:31 pm , reportedly almost upside down, and broke apart on impact.

The crash occurred some 5 miles (10 km) from Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, and a number of local boaters in the area immediately launched a rescue effort. Soon vessels from the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard also reached the crash site. However, only debris and bodies were recovered no survivors were found. The plane’s flight recorder and cockpit voice recorder were retrieved on September 6 and 11, respectively, from a depth of about 180 feet (55 metres). However, both ended about six minutes before the crash, when the plane’s electrical power failed. By the time salvage efforts ended in 1999, 98 percent of the aircraft had been recovered. The cargo included valuable diamonds and jewelry as well as Pablo Picasso’s painting Le Peintre, a small piece of which was found.

An investigation was conducted by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada. In 2003 it announced that the crash had resulted from faulty wiring that ignited the flammable insulation above the cockpit. The TSB had earlier recommended stricter standards concerning flammable materials and electrical wiring. Although the final report did not cite what part of the electrical wiring was at fault, a newly installed entertainment system was believed to have played a role in the fire. The crew was cleared of any wrongdoing, and the TSB determined that even if the plane had not diverted to dump fuel, it would still have been unable to reach Halifax.

While America Slept: The True Story of 9/11

A day-by-day chronology of the steps and missteps that led to tragedy.

and the ABC News Investigative Team — -- intro: Ten years ago this month, America was more concerned about summer vacation than terror attacks. The big movie at the mall was "American Pie II," which had just taken over the box office lead from "Rush Hour II," and Beyonce was thinking about ditching her band for a solo career.

The big stories in the news were about shark attacks, wildfires and a missing Congressional intern named Chandra. A teenage baseball player became a hero, and then a villain, after he pitched a perfect game at the Little League World Series. There were also inklings that something might be amiss at an energy company called Enron. By the summer of 2001, Americans had become all too familiar with "hanging chads," but few had ever heard of al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.

While the nation drifted through the dog days, however, a group of terrorists was in the final stages of planning a series of attacks that would kill 3,000 people on September 11. Much of the federal government seemed to have been in a summer daze as well, missing the warning signs of what would become the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil. While some in the intelligence community raised red flags, the White House had brushed off warnings of an impending attack and the CIA was failing to share information with the FBI about the terrorists' travels.

On the following pages, the ABC News Investigative Team's 9/11 timeline details what America was doing and what the hijackers were doing, day-by-day, in August and September 2001. In daily updates, we track the hijackers as they go to flight school. We shadow them as they buy blue blazers -- and airline tickets and knives. We also watch as CIA analysts and FBI agents try to sound the alarm about the rising threat, and are ignored. With fresh entries each day from Aug. 11 to Sept. 10, "While America Slept" provides a maddening chronology of the steps and missteps that would change America forever. Click on the link at August 11, 2001 (below and to the right) to start following the trail.

Matthew Cole, Lindsay Lamont, Randy Kreider and Jordan Mazza contributed to this report.

quicklist: 1category: 31 Days Before 9/11title: August 11, 2001 text: President Bush is on vacation in Crawford, Texas, where five days earlier he had been warned by the CIA of a possible attack in a paper titled: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." The document said al Qaeda members were believed to be in the U.S., and that a caller to the U.S. embassy in the United Arab Emirates said "a group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives." According to "The One Percent Doctrine" by Ron Suskind, the president told the CIA briefing officer, "All right. You've covered your ass now."media: 14274638

quicklist: 2title: 9/11 Hijackerstext: All 19 hijackers are, in fact, already in the U.S. on visas obtained under their actual names.

On August 11, Hamza al-Ghamdi, who will be one of the hijackers in the second plane to hit the World Trade Center, buys a blue blazer at a Florida men's 14270584

quicklist: 3title: Osama bin Ladentext: Osama bin Laden has approved the targets and is only awaiting final word on which day the attack will 14270626

quicklist: 4title: In the News. text: The major stories of the summer involve shark attacks and a missing intern in Washington, D.C., named Chandra 14270320

quicklist: 5title: . On the Radio. text: "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child is the number one song on the Billboard Hot 14270248

quicklist: 6title: . and at the Moviestext: "American Pie II" is the top movie in box office receipts.

quicklist: 7category: 30 Days Before 9/11title: August 12, 2001 text: Al Qaeda recruit Zacarias Moussaoui has just arrived in Eagan, Minnesota, where he has moved to attend flight training 14271035

quicklist: 8title: Lots of Investigations, No Hijackerstext: Some 70 FBI "full field investigations" related to Osama bin Laden are underway across the United States. None of them involve any of the 19 men who will commandeer passenger planes on September

quicklist: 9title: In the Newstext: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrives in Moscow for talks with Russian leaders on missile defense 14270680

quicklist: 10title: Discovery Dockstext: The space shuttle Discovery docks with the Alpha International Space Station, delivering several tons of food, clothes and other supplies, as well as a new crew of three 14270710

quicklist: 11category: 29 Days Before 9/11title: August 13, 2001 text: Hijack team leader Mohamed Atta and two other hijack pilots fly to Las Vegas for an apparent planning 14270847

quicklist: 12title: Hijacker Buys Knivestext: Marwan al-Shehhi, who will take control of United Airlines flight 175 on September 11, purchases two black four-inch pocket knives -- the maximum allowable knife length under FAA rules at the time -- from a Sports Authority store in 14270867

quicklist: 13title: Moussaoui Raises Suspicionstext: Al Qaeda recruit Zacarias Moussaoui begins flight training on a flight simulator at the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Eagan, Minnesota. He raises suspicions when he tells instructors that while he wants to learn how to fly a 747 jet, he does not intend to earn a pilot's 14285405

quicklist: 14title: In the Newstext: The top story on network newscasts is wildfires on the West 14271134

quicklist: 15category: 28 Days Before 9/11title: August 14, 2001 text: Future hijackers Mohamed Atta, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour leave Las Vegas after an apparent planning

quicklist: 16title: Hijackers at the ATMtext: Fayez Banihammad and Marwan al-Shehhi, who will hijack United Airlines flight 175, withdraw $2,000 from a Bank of America ATM in Lantana,

quicklist: 17title: Bush Goes to a Baseball Gametext: President Bush interrupts his Crawford, Texas vacation for a two-day trip to Colorado and New Mexico, where he attends a major league baseball game and a Republican 14271497

quicklist: 18title: Rice Fails to Acttext: President Bush's national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, continues to fail to take action on warnings from counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke of an al Qaeda 14316823

quicklist: 19title:text: Jeffrey Skilling announces his resignation as CEO of Enron, a Houston-based energy company, after having been in the position for only six months. He cites personal reasons. media: 14274709

quicklist: 20category: 27 Days Before 9/11title: August 15, 2001 text: FBI agents initiate an "intelligence investigation" into Zacarias Moussaoui after flight school instructors report concerns that he might be a 14274743

quicklist: 21title: 'We Are Going To Be Struck Soon'text: CIA counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black tells a Defense Department convention, "We are going to be struck soon, many Americans are going to die, and it could be in the U.S."media: 14289452

quicklist: 22title:text: Future hijack pilot Marwan al-Shehhi purchases a one-week gym membership in Lantana, Florida. He and most of the other hijackers-in-training carry out physical fitness 14289462

quicklist: 23title: In the Newstext: The Pentagon announces that U.S. warplanes have bombed a radar site in Iraq in an attempt to disable the nation's increasingly effective air defenses, the second such attack in a 14289443

quicklist: 24category: 26 Days Before 9/11title: August 16, 2001 text: The crew of hijackers that will take control of American Airlines flight 77 and crash it into the Pentagon check in at the Valencia Motel in Laurel, Maryland, a few miles from the headquarters of the National Security Administration, where operations are underway to detect suspected terrorists. media: 14310514

quicklist: 25title: Another Hijacker Takes Flight Trainingtext: Using his FAA flight certificate, Hani Hanjour, who will act as pilot of the hijacked American Airlines flight 77, takes 1.3 hours of flight training at Freeway Airport in Mitchellsville, 14310523

quicklist: 26title: Moussaoui Arrestedtext: Zacarias Moussaoui is arrested on immigration charges as FBI agents in Minneapolis grow increasingly suspicious of why he enrolled in 747 flight 14310576

quicklist: 27category: 25 Days Before 9/11title: August 17, 2001 text: Ziad Jarrah completes a "check ride," a test of his piloting skills, with a flight instructor at Airborne Systems Flight School in Ft. Lauderdale. On September 11, he will act as hijack pilot of United Airlines flight 93, which the hijackers will attempt to redirect to Washington. It will crash in a Pennsylvania field after passengers revolt against the 14310596

quicklist: 28title: Bush Gets a Visitortext: CIA director George Tenet visits President Bush in Crawford, Texas but later says he does not recall any mention of the domestic terror 14310622

quicklist: 29title: Moussaoui Ordered Deportedtext: A deportation order is signed for Zacarias Moussaoui while FBI agents begin an effort to obtain a court order to search his computer. media:

quicklist: 30title: In the Newstext: Bad weather forces American balloonist Steve Fossett to land on a cattle ranch in Brazil, ending his fifth attempt to become the first man to circumnavigate the globe solo in a 14310678

quicklist: 31category: 24 Days Before 9/11title: August 18, 2001 text: The FBI requests evidence of al Qaeda recruit Zacarias Moussaoui's terror connections from a U.S. legal attaché in Paris to obtain a search warrant for Moussaoui's lap-top

quicklist: 32title: The Unread Memotext: Minneapolis FBI agent Harry Samit (seen in suit at right) sends a memo to headquarters in Washington that Zacarias Moussaoui is "conspiring to commit a terrorist act." The memo goes unread by FBI counter-terrorism chief Michael 14310805

quicklist: 33title: In the Newstext: Danny Almonte of the Bronx in New York City becomes the first pitcher in 44 years to throw a perfect game in the Little League World Series. Two weeks later, reporters proved that Almonte was actually 14 years old, two years older than the legal limit for Little League play. media: 14310917

quicklist: 34title: text: "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys takes over the top single spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. media: 14310934

quicklist: 35category: 23 Days Before 9/11title: August 19, 2001 text: The New York Times publishes a story about a misplaced briefcase that forces FBI lead al Qaeda expert John O'Neill to 14322121

quicklist: 36title: 'God Is Great!'text: text: A flight instructor at the Palm Beach, Florida county airport overhears Mohamed Atta on a plane radio shout in Arabic, "God is Great!" Atta's name can be seen at right in an airport log for August 14341372

quicklist: 37title: In the Newstext: Three separate shark attacks in Florida dominate television newscasts, as the season is dubbed "The Summer of the Shark."media: 14324697

quicklist: 38title: text: American golfer David Toms wins the PGA championship, breaking the record for a major tournament with a score of 14322112

quicklist: 39category: 22 Days Before 9/11title: August 20, 2001 text: Hani Hanjour, future hijack pilot of American Airlines flight 77, takes a flight lesson from an instructor who thinks Hanjour must have been trained by the military because he is able to navigate a plane without radar, using its terrain recognition system. media: 14341452

quicklist: 40title: A Hijacker Shops for Plane Ticketstext: Hanjour shops Travelocity for flights on September 5, 2001 from Dulles airport in Washington, D.C. to Los 14334306

quicklist: 41title: Search Warrant Deniedtext: Attorneys at FBI headquarters turn down a request by FBI agents in Minnesota for a warrant to search the computer of suspected terrorist Zacarias

quicklist: 42title: In the Newstext: Rehearsals begin on Broadway for "Mamma Mia." media: 14322637

quicklist: 43category: 21 Days Before 9/11title: August 21, 2001 text: Nearly $5,000 is deposited in the United Arab Emirates checking account of hijacker Fayez Banihammad. The account is later used to buy tickets for Banihammad and another hijacker for United Airlines flight 175 on September 14322848

quicklist: 44title: 'Something Big Is Going to Happen'text: A Jordanian in prison for suspected terrorist ties tells FBI agents of an impending attack against buildings in New York and Washington, D.C., saying, "Something big is going to happen." His credibility is questioned as he cannot provide details of time and 14322877

quicklist: 45title: CIA Fails to Inform FBI of al Qaeda Operatives in U.S.text: FBI agent Margaret Gillespie learns for the first time that two known al Qaeda operatives have been tracked to the United States from Malaysia by the CIA, which kept the information secret from domestic law enforcement 14322857

quicklist: 46category: 20 Days Before 9/11title: August 22, 2001 text: FBI agents at the "Alec Station," a joint FBI-CIA operation established to hunt Osama bin Laden, demand to know why the FBI was not notified by the CIA of the arrival in the U.S. of two known al Qaeda operatives, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, in January 14323223

quicklist: 47title: Hijacker Buys a Pilot's GPStext: United Airlines flight 93 hijack pilot Ziad Jarrah purchases a large color diagram of a 757 cockpit control system and a Garmin III Pilot GPS system for use on September 14334150

quicklist: 48title: In the Newstext: President George W. Bush, on vacation in Texas, receives a 57 percent job approval rating in a Gallup 14323252

quicklist: 49title: text: Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, a leading conservative, announces that he will retire at the end of his term in 14323241

quicklist: 50category: 19 Days Before 9/11title: August 23, 2001text: Anchor Connie Chung's interview with Congressman Gary Condit of California, who had been romantically linked to missing intern Chandra Levy, airs on ABC's "Primetime" to an estimated audience of 24 million people, making it the most-watched show of the 14358988

quicklist: 51title: 'Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly'text: CIA director George Tenet receives a briefing about Zacarias Moussaoui titled "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly," but no connection is made with the threat of an al Qaeda attack in the 14357488

quicklist: 52title: An 'Unhurried Search' for al Qaedatext: The FBI begins an "unhurried search" for two al Qaeda operatives reported to be the U.S., Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf

quicklist: 53title: Mohamed Atta Loses His Driver's Licensetext: Florida suspends the driver's license of hijack leader Mohamed Atta for failure to appear in traffic 14333945

quicklist: 54category: 18 Days Before 9/11title: August 24, 2001text: Hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi are finally put on the FBI's terror watchlist, 19 months after the CIA first tracked them to the United 14323223

quicklist: 55title: The Date Is Settext: The attack date is set as the first 9/11 airplane tickets are purchased by hijacker Fayez Banihammad for United Airlines flight 175 from Boston to San 14357477

quicklist: 56title: 'Suspicious 747 Flight Training'text: A CIA cable describes Zacarias Moussaoui as a potential "suicide hijacker" involved in "suspicious 747 flight training."media:

quicklist: 57title: In the Newstext: Mormon fundamentalist Tom Green of Utah is sentenced to five years in prison for bigamy and failure to pay child 14357431

quicklist: 58category: 17 Days Before 9/11title: August 25, 2001text: Hijack team leader Mohamed Atta establishes an American Airlines profile and an Advantage frequent flier program 14357507

quicklist: 59title: Hijacker Buys a Plane Tickettext: One day after his name is added to the FBI's terror watchlist, hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar uses his Yahoo email account to book a seat on American Airlines flight 77 for 14357670

quicklist: 60title: In the Newstext: Pop singer Aaliyah dies in a plane crash at the age of 14357464

quicklist: 61category: 16 Days Before 9/11title: August 26, 2001text: American Airlines flight 77 hijack pilot Hani Hanjour practices flight patterns with a rental plane from Congressional Air Charters in Gaithersburg, 14380903

quicklist: 62title: Hijacker Flies First Classtext: Hijacker Waleed al-Shehri uses his VISA debit card to book a first-class seat on American Airlines flight 11 for September 14357694

quicklist: 63title: In the Newstext: Chicago Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa hits his 50th home run of the season, becoming the third player in major league baseball history to have four 50-home-run seasons the other two are Babe Ruth and Mark 14357567

quicklist: 64category: 15 Days Before 9/11title: August 27, 2001text: American Airlines flight 77 hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi purchases a Leatherman Wave folding tool knife at a Target store in Maryland. media: 14380938

quicklist: 65title: A Final Planning Sessiontext: Hijack leader Mohamed Atta has a final planning session with the soon-to-be American Airlines flight 77 hijack team in room 343 of the Valencia Motel in Laurel, 14322103

quicklist: 66title: The INS Revokes a Hijacker's Visatext: Following the FBI's inquiry, the Immigration and Naturalization Service revokes the visa of future hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar, but no request is made on an "urgent, emergency basis" to run the names of al-Mihdhar and fellow hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi through INS databases, which officials say "might have been able to locate them."media: 14334099

quicklist: 67title: In the Newstext: Samsung announces that it will begin selling flat-screen plasma TVs later in the

quicklist: 68category: 14 Days Before 9/11title: August 28, 2001text: Mohamed Atta buys tickets online for himself and another hijacker, Abdulaziz al-Omari, on American Airlines flight 11, which will be the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on 9/ 14380988

quicklist: 69title: Another Hijacker Buys His 9/11 Tickettext: Marwan al-Shehhi, the hijacker of United Airlines flight 175, buys his ticket for 9/11 from the United ticket counter at Miami International 14381059

quicklist: 70title: The FAA Warns of Possible Violencetext: Intelligence information leads the FAA in Washington to issue a warning about possible violence against U.S. air carriers, but only those flying in and out of Israel -- nothing

quicklist: 71title: In the Newstext: 1991 police beating victim Rodney King is arrested in Claremont, California on drug 14381069

quicklist: 72category: 13 Days Before 9/11title: August 29, 2001text: United Airlines flight 93 hijacker Ahmed al-Haznawi reserves his ticket for September 11 on, while brothers Hamza and Ahmed al-Ghamdi reserve their tickets for United flight 175. media: 14381081

quicklist: 73title: A Fake Driver's Licensetext: United flight 93 hijacker Ziad Jarrah obtains a Virginia driver's license from the DMV in Springfield, Virginia, using the address of illegal immigrant Luis Martinez-Flores. Flores had already allowed two other hijackers to claim they lived at his 14334290

quicklist: 74title: In the Newstext: It is the last full day of President George W. Bush's nearly month-long vacation in Crawford, 14381106

quicklist: 75title: John McCain in the Hospitaltext: Sen. John McCain undergoes minor prostate surgery at the Mayo Clinic center in Phoenix,

quicklist: 76category: 12 Days Before 9/11title: August 30, 2001text: Hijacker Ziad Jarrah books his ticket for United Airlines flight 93. He also attends kickboxing and street-fighting classes at a gym in Hollywood, Florida -- skills he will later use to storm the flight's 14334275

quicklist: 77title: A Knife for Slitting Throatstext: Mohamed Atta purchases a utility tool kit containing a large knife from Lowe's. On September 11, Atta and the other hijackers will slit the throats of passengers and cabin crew members on American Airlines flight 14270847

quicklist: 78title: A Rookie Agent on Al Qaeda's Casetext: Rookie FBI agent Rob Fuller is assigned to the bin Laden unit. It is his first intelligence

quicklist: 79title: text: The State Department announces that American embassies in Bulgaria and Romania will be temporarily closed because of an unspecified terror

quicklist: 80title: In the Newstext: The NFL locks out its referees and replaces them with alternate crews after talks break down between the league and the NFL Referees Association over their 14381212

quicklist: 81category: 11 Days Before 9/11title: August 31, 2001text: American Airlines flight 77 hijacker Hani Hanjour makes his reservation for 9/11, the last of the hijackers to do so. He pays in cash since the ticket costs $1,842 -- too much to charge on his debit card. media: 14383690

quicklist: 82title: Tying Up Loose Endstext: Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi close each of their Hudson United Bank accounts, while Hamza al-Ghamdi (right) and Ziad Jarrah end their leases in Florida. The hijackers will spend their remaining nights in hotels and motels. media: 14381228

quicklist: 83title: In the Newstext: The last-ever new episode of the series "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" airs on 14381252

quicklist: 84category:10 Days Before 9/11title: September 1, 2001text: Waleed Al-Shehri purchases a silk shirt and khaki pants at Burdines department store in Pompano Beach, Florida. The hijackers will all be dressed in Western clothing on September 11. media: 14357694

quicklist: 85title: The Hijacker 'Was A Gentleman'text: Hani Hanjour moves out of his Paterson, New Jersey apartment. His landlord returns the full deposit in cash without inspecting for damage, because, as he later tells the New York Times, Hanjour "was a gentleman."media: 14381548

quicklist: 86title: Beware of Imposterstext: American Airlines issues an internal memo warning that some crew members had had their uniforms stolen in Rome, Italy in April 2001, and to beware of 14388431

quicklist: 87title: In the Newstext: Millions line up to see "Jeepers Creepers," helping it make a record debut for a film opening over Labor Day

quicklist: 88category: 9 Days Before 9/11title: September 2, 2001text: Hani Hanjour returns to Laurel, Maryland, where he and the other American Airlines flight 77 hijackers will remain until the day of the 14341452

quicklist: 89title: Hijackers at Gold's Gymtext:Three of those American flight 77 hijackers obtain weekly guest passes at Gold's Gym in Greenbelt, Maryland, paying in 14334046

quicklist: 90title: In the News text: The Saudi Interior Ministry announces that three Chechen rebels who hijacked a Russian Jet with 174 passengers aboard in March 2001 will be tried in Saudi Arabia, under Sharia 14388443

quicklist: 91title: Another Shark Attacktext: Ten-year-old David Peltier dies after being attacked by a shark in four-foot-deep water off the coast of Virginia Beach,

quicklist: 92category: 8 Days Before 9/11title: September 3, 2001text: Ten years ago today, it's Labor Day 2001. The hijackings are eight days away, and the hijackers remain 14334173

quicklist: 93title: text: The four hijackers who will actually fly the planes have, by this day, finished a full round of test flights at small airports and all have FAA pilots' 14383690

quicklist: 94title: $1,500 from Al Qaedatext: In Germany, Mohamed Atta's fellow hijack planner and roommate Ramzi bin al-Shibh receives $1,500 via wire from an al Qaeda bank account in the Mideast. He apparently uses the money to evacuate Germany, but is later arrested in 14382047

quicklist: 95title: A Warning from Egypt?text: Intelligence officials in Egypt say they warned the U.S. on this day of impending al Qaeda attack. President Hosni Mubarak says the warning involved an airplane or an

quicklist: 96title: In the News text: Hewlett-Packard announces that it has reached an agreement with Compaq to merge the two

quicklist: 97title: A Hijacking at the United Nationstext: A U.S. delegation storms out of the U.N. Conference on Racism after, as Congressman Tom Lantos says, it is "hijacked" by those hostile to Israel. media: 14382801

quicklist: 98category: 7 Days Before 9/11title: September 4, 2001 text: Hijack leader Mohamed Atta sends a Federal Express package to an accomplice in the United Arab Emirates, returning several thousand dollars in unused 14357507

quicklist: 99title: Another Warning About Moussaouitext: Senior security officials at the Federal Aviation Administration are finally told by the FBI that a suspected terrorist by the name of Zacarias Moussaoui may have been training to hijack a 747 aircraft at Kennedy airport in New York. The FAA does not issue any additional security 14271035

quicklist: 100title: Rice and Clarke Discuss Al Qaedatext: After requesting an immediate meeting months earlier, Richard Clarke finally meets with National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and other administration officials to discuss the al Qaeda threat against the United States. That same day, Clarke issues a memo urging officials to imagine hundreds dying because of the government's reluctance to pursue al 14382869

quicklist: 101title: John O'Neill Starts A New Jobtext: After resigning from the FBI, al Qaeda expert John O'Neill begins his new job at the World Trade Center. He will die on 9/ 14382935

quicklist: 102title: In the News text: Disney opens its ninth theme park, Tokyo DisneySea, an aquatic park at the Tokyo Disney Resort in 14382948

quicklist: 103title: A Company Called Googletext: Google is awarded a U.S. patent for the PageRank search algorithm used in its search

quicklist: 104category: 6 Days Before 9/11title: September 5, 2001text: American Airlines flight 77 hijackers Hani Hanjour and Majed Moqed are photographed using an ATM at the First Union National Bank in Laurel, Maryland. media: 14333933

quicklist: 105title: Returning Extra Funds to Al Qaedatext: At the Sun Trust Bank in Florida, where several of the hijackers have accounts, Fayez Banihammad wires more than $8,000 to an al-Qaeda account in the Middle East, returning money he no longer 14357477

quicklist: 106title: Rookie Agent Looks for a Hijackertext: Rookie FBI Agent Robert Fuller tries contacting Marriott hotels in the New York area, knowing that al Qaeda suspect Khalid al-Mihdhar listed Marriott as his destination in his customs form. His search turns up no

quicklist: 107title: The French Warn the U.S. About Al Qaedatext: In Paris, FBI and CIA officials attend an emergency session at the French Ministry of the Interior. The Americans are given information on the bin Laden ties of Zacarias Moussaoui, but his case remains on the FBI back 14383098

quicklist: 108title: text: In Washington, Congress returns from its summer recess, and the Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing about terrorism at which bin Laden is 14383425

quicklist: 109category: 5 Days Before 9/11title: September 6, 2001text: Two American Airlines flight 11 hijackers, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Satam al-Suqami, fly from Florida to Boston and check in at the Park Inn. media:

quicklist: 110title: Bin Laden Learns the Datetext: In Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden receives word the hijackings are scheduled for the following Tuesday, September 14270626

quicklist: 111title: A Hijacker With a Complainttext: United Airlines flight 175 hijacker Mohand al-Shehri calls United Airlines to inform them that his first name was spelled incorrectly on his reservation for 9/ 14383493

quicklist: 112title: In the Newstext: The U.S. announces that it will no longer aim to break up Microsoft as part of an antitrust action against the software 14383527

quicklist: 113category: 4 Days Before 9/11title: September 7, 2001text: Two American Airlines flight 11 hijackers, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Satam al-Suqami, now at the Park Inn in Boston, hire two female 14380988

quicklist: 114title: Hijackers Assemble in Newarktext: The hijackers of United Airlines flight 93 fly from Florida to Newark, New Jersey, where they'll spend their remaining nights at the Marriott Hotel at Newark International Airport before boarding their planned flight to San Francisco on the morning of the 14458268

quicklist: 115title: A Reading Lessontext: President George W. Bush's now-infamous trip to a Sarasota, Florida elementary school is publicly announced on this day. media: 14458208

quicklist: 116title: In the Newstext: The U.S. government reports a rise in the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, the highest in nearly four 14458225

quicklist: 117category: 3 Days Before 9/11title: September 8, 2001text: Several of the American Airlines flight 77 hijackers empty their bank accounts, giving the money to American Airlines flight 11 hijacker Mohamed 14381129

quicklist: 118title: Atta Sends Extra Money Hometext: Atta wires $7,860 to the Wall Street Exchange Center in Dubai from the Giant and Safeway stores in Laurel, 14334243

quicklist: 119title: text: Several of the hijack ringleaders, including Ziad Jarrah and Mohamed Atta, go to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, the Food Factory in Laurel, 14463905

quicklist: 120title: In the Newstext: Venus Williams defeats her younger sister Serena at the U.S. Open women's tennis finals to earn her second consecutive U.S. Open 14458290

quicklist: 121title: text: "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez featuring rapper Ja Rule becomes the new top single on the Billboard Hot 14458278

quicklist: 122category: 2 Days Before 9/11title: September 9, 2001text: Mohamed Atta flies from Baltimore to Boston, where he meets up with United Airlines flight 175 hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi. The two spend the night at the Milner Hotel in downtown 14463853

quicklist: 123title: The Police Stop Ziad Jarrahtext: In the early hours of the morning, after leaving dinner in Laurel, Maryland, United Airlines flight 93 hijacker Ziad Jarrah receives a speeding ticket in Maryland as he heads north on I-95 at 90 miles per 14463887

quicklist: 124title: 'The Big One Is Coming'text: Ahmad Shah Massoud is assassinated by two suspected al Qaeda bombers posing as journalists, who used documents forged by Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri. FBI agent Ali Soufan says, "Bin Laden is appeasing the Taliban. Now the big one is coming."media: 14463941

quicklist: 125title: text: The five American Airlines flight 77 hijackers cook and eat a meal in the kitchenette of their Laurel, Maryland 14310514

quicklist: 126title: In the Newstext: The ten-part World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers," written by historian Stephen E. Ambrose and produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, premieres on 14463954

quicklist: 127category: 1 Day Before 9/11title: September 10, 2001text: Mohamed Atta, likely trying to stagger the hijackers' arrival to Boston's Logan Airport on the day of the attacks, makes a last-minute decision to drive to Portland, Maine with Abdulaziz al-Omari, where they will catch a connecting flight to Boston at 6 a.m. on September 11. They are captured on a surveillance camera with an inaccurate time and date stamp at a South Portland, Maine gas station (right), and are also seen at a Pizza 14334030

quicklist: 128title: A Goodbye Lettertext: Ziad Jarrah sends a four-page farewell letter in German to his girlfriend Aysel Sengun, with whom he once made plans to marry. He thanks her for sticking with him through five "difficult" years, says he is her prince, and ends with "Aufwiedersehen."media: 14310596

The Flight from Dallas

From noon to dusk on November 22, 1963, history went dark, locked inside the closed and crowded cabin of Air Force One. Fifty years later, what happened after JFK died has fully come to light.

This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue.


Colonel James Swindal, a handsome forty-six-year-old carpenter's son from Alabama and the pilot of Air Force One, sits in the communications shack behind his cockpit, pushing back a roast-beef sandwich. Two million dollars' worth of the latest technology buzzes around him, teletype machines and radios and three separate phone patches. He'shalf-listening to the radio, Charlie frequency, to the chatter of Secret Service agents narrating the progress of President John F. Kennedy's motorcade through Dallas. Swindal's copilot, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Hanson, has left the plane, taking advantage of the short stop at Love Field to pay a quick visit to his ailing mother-in-law. As Swindal waits, he brings on only a light load of fuel for this afternoon's scheduled flight to Austin, part of the president's continuing tour of Texas.

Behind Swindal, in the large passenger compartment, two secretaries type press releases farther back, in the stateroom&mdashwith its two fixed tables, TV set, and six chairs upholstered in gold&mdashall is quiet. Only in Air Force One's single bedroom is there activity: George Thomas, Kennedy's valet, lays out a fresh set of clothes for the president to change into when he returns. The day started out rainy and overcast, but now the sun is out, and it's warm for late November. Thomas picks out a lightweight blue suit for Austin, a carefully pressed shirt, and a freshly polished pair of shoes.

Back in the communications shack, Swindal hears the first in a series of puzzling radio calls. The Secret Service agents refer to one another by code names, all starting with D. "Dusty to Daylight," the radio crackles. "Have Dagger cover Volunteer." Dagger, Swindal knows, is a laconic agent named Rufus Youngblood, a thirty-nine-year-old native of Georgia. Volunteer is the code name for Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The radio suddenly drops out. Swindal worries that President Kennedy's notoriously tricky back has leveled him&mdashhe was wearing his cumbersome brace when he left the plane&mdashand the motorcade, on its way to the Dallas Trade Mart for a luncheon, has needed to stop.

Outside on the tarmac, radio operator John Trimble is stretching his legs when a member of the White House Communications Agency, listening to the same Secret Service feed on his portable radio, waves him over. He tells Trimble that someone in the presidential motorcade has been hurt. The plane needs to be readied for takeoff immediately. "My first reaction was that one of the Secret Service agents had fallen from a car," Trimble says later.

He runs up the ramp and onto the plane. In his wake, the crews from two nearby passenger jets&mdashAir Force Two, the vice-president's plane, and the Pan American charter for the accompanying press&mdashstream past Air Force One's wheels, under its shining silver belly. They had been grabbing lunch inside the terminal when they wereinterrupted by a PA announcement: Time to move.

Swindal asks Trimble to radio the White House switchboard to find out what's happened, or is happening still. He needs a destination. In the meantime, he heads for the stateroom and turns on the TV.

A vague early bulletin hits the screen and then hangs in the air: President Kennedy has been shot. The pilot is soon joined by Thomas, the valet Sergeant Joseph Ayres, the plane's steward and the two secretaries, their hands lifted to their mouths. Thomas retreats to the bedroom and begins putting away the clothes he's just laid out. The women start to cry.

The White House confirms to Trimble the terrible news. Through his headset, he listens to the report in disbelief.

12:50 P.M.

General Godfrey McHugh, President Kennedy's topmilitary aide, calls Air Force One from Parkland Hospital. They will be leaving for Andrews Air Force Base, and they will be leaving soon.

Trimble radios Andrews and asks that a voice frequency be kept clear of traffic. He does not want to say why he doesn't know how far the news has traveled and does not want to be the bearer of it. But Andrews complies with this unusual request immediately&mdash"Roger, sir. The frequency has been cleared"&mdashbecause the operator likely knows, too.

Swindal orders the fuel tanks topped up. He also disconnects Love Field's mobile air-conditioning unit from the plane. The temperature inside Air Force One begins to rise. Swindal idles only one engine, conserving fuel, providing just enough power to keep on some lights and the TV. Hanson, the copilot, rushes into the cockpit, something like numb. His mother-in-law, who was watching her TV, had yelled the news to him the instant he'd walked through her door. "My mind rejected the idea," he says later, "as though it was some kind of bad dream." He fires up the other engines at least twice, as if wanting to make sure they still work.

Swindal plots a flight plan east to Andrews, over Texarkana, Texas, and Memphis and Nashville. Then the two men wait and cook, unaware of exactly what's unfoldingat the hospital only a few miles away. Now Swindal sees a pair of unmarked police cars screaming onto the runway over the morning's puddles and discarded welcome signs.

1:30 P.M.

Lyndon Johnson, trapped somewhere between vice-president and president, is hunched down in the backseat of the first car. Jesse Curry, the chief of the Dallas police, is behind the wheel. Rufus Youngblood and Congressman Homer Thornberry pile out of the back with Johnson. Congressman Albert Thomas, who had waved down the car when it was peeling away from Parkland Hospital, is in the front seat. He jumps out with Curry.

Lady Bird Johnson is in the second car with Congressman Jack Brooks and three more members of the Secret Service. Together they run up the Eastern Airlines ramp at the rear of the gleaming Boeing 707.

Swindal sees a pair of unmarked police cars screaming onto the runway over the morning's puddles and discarded welcome signs. And he knows.

Youngblood and the other agents begin running through the cabin, rapidly closingthe plane's shades and curtains. There's an uneasy, unspoken feeling that Air Force One could be attacked at any moment,driven into by a gasoline truck, strafed by machine-gun fire from a rooftop. There are enemies out there. With the shades closed and the power mostly off, the plane goes dark.

"I'm sticking to you like glue," Youngblood tells Johnson.

Through one of the last open windows, SergeantAyres, the steward, sees a police car swerving across the runway, its tires screeching, its sirens ringing out. If there's a conspiracy, here's the rest of it, he thinks. The Secret Service agents come close to opening fire on the speeding car, filling it with bullets. They would have killed Jack Valenti, an unofficial aide of Johnson's Lem Johns, a fellow Secret Service agent Cliff Carter, one of Johnson's closest advisors and Cecil Stoughton, the White House photographer.

Other cars, with still more passengers, have already pulled up to the bottom of the steps at the plane's rear entrance. There are more Johnson people&mdashMarie Fehmer, his secretary, and Liz Carpenter, a former newspaper reporter turned confidante&mdashand the first wave of Kennedy loyalists: Evelyn Lincoln, the president's secretary, and Pam Turnure and Mary Gallagher, Jackie Kennedy's ladies-in-waiting. The two camps have arrived at Air Force One as if by instinct, propelled by different versions of the same understanding: This plane is for the president.

1:36 P.M.

Johnson and Lady Bird spend their first minute or two on board in the bedroom&mdashtwo single beds, a nightstand, a painting of a French farmhouse on the wall. The room's ghosts are too new, and the Johnsons are uncomfortable in their company. On the careening drive to Love Field, Lady Bird had looked out a window and seen a flag already lowered to half-mast. "I think that was when the enormity of what had happened fresh struck me," she says later. The Johnsons ask to go to the adjacentstateroom instead.

Lyndon Johnson appears in the hallway. He is six foot three, filling the passage. Everybody in the room jumps to their feet, including the three congressmen, Texans all. Congressman Thomas is the first of them to speak: "We are ready to carry out any orders that you have, Mr. President."

Cliff Carter picks up a white phone in the rear of the plane. Trimble patches him through to his wife in Austin. He asks her to call Rufus Youngblood's wife. Carter heard radio reports of dead agents on his way to Love Field, and he knows these reports are untrue. All of the agents are alive. Only the now former president is not.

His conversation is interrupted by the sound of hammering. In the small aft cabin, behind the bedroom, Sergeant Ayres is removing two rows of seats to make room for a casket.

1:38 P.M.

On the TV in the stateroom, Walter Cronkite puts on his dark-framed reading glasses. The plane goes pin-drop quiet. "From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1:00 P.M. Central Standard Time. Two o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some thirty-eight minutes ago." Cronkite's voice cracks when he continues: "Vice-President Lyndon Johnson has left the hospital in Dallas, but we do not know to where he has proceeded. Presumably he will be taking the oath of office shortly and become the thirty-sixth president of the United States."

1:40 P.M.

Johnson goes into the relative privacy of the bedroom, Marie Feh-mer and Youngblood following him in. The oath of office. Johnson takes off his jacket in the rising heat and lies down on one of the beds. He picks up the phone and asks Trimble to connect him to Robert Kennedy, the attorney general. The two men are not close, the scars and resentmentsfrom thenasty 1960 race for theDemocratic presidential nomination never having faded.

"I knew how grief-stricken he was," Johnson later tells the Warren Commission, "and I wanted to say something to comfort him. Despite his shock, he discussed the practical problems at hand."

Johnson asks Kennedy whether he's heard any news of plots, of responsibility. The new president's mind has been racing. Was it the communists? Was it the Vietnamese? Behind his closed curtains, he is certain that something larger is afoot. But Robert Kennedy has the fewest answers of any man in the world.

Johnson then asks Kennedy where he should take the oath of office and what its exact words are. The questions are metwithsilence before Kennedy repliesthat he will find out and call back. He hangs up.

The new president receives two calls from Washington in quick succession: The first is from McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy's national-security advisor the second is from Walter Jenkins, one of Johnson's most trusted aides. Both men tell him he should return to the capital immediately. Johnson says he will not leave without Jackie Kennedy, and she has let it be known that she will not leave without her husband's body. These dominoes must fall in order. Johnson does not want to be remembered as an abandoner of beautiful widows.

Robert Kennedy calls back. The specifics of this conversation will be forever debated several of that day's calls are recorded, but no recording of this one has ever surfaced. According to Johnson's account, Kennedy tells him he should take the oath in Dallas, and that it is imperative. Kennedy later denies he said anything of the sort.

After those few disputed minutes, Nicholas Katzenbach, the deputy attorney general, is patched into the call. He has the wording of the oath. It is in the Constitution and probablyin every lawyer's office across the country. Fehmer leaves the bedroom and heads into the front passenger compartment to pick up another phone. Katzenbach dictates the oath, and Fehmer types it out. She asks if she can read it back to him, and she does, both Johnson and Kennedy still listening in their respective quiets: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

1:43 P.M.

Air Force One radios Andrews Air Force Base: "Stand by to take off." It does not take off.

1:50 P.M.

Johnson calls Irving Goldberg, a lawyer and friend. They decide to ask U. S. district judge Sarah T. Hughes&mdasha longtime friend of Johnson's&mdashto administer the oath. Fehmer calls Hughes'soffice a clerk tells her that the judgeis not in. He believes she's at the Trade Mart, where she wentto see President Kennedy make his speech. Fehmer hangs up and informs Johnson that Hughes can't be found. He tells her to call the office back. This time, he takes the phone.

"This is Lyndon Johnson," he says. "Find her."

1:55 P.M.

Air Force One continues to fill.Although it normally carries about twenty-five passengers comfortably, it is now taking on most of Air Force Two's original passengers as well, nearly twice its usual load.The secretaries who cried before the TV have been told to leave and board the second plane. In their place, piles of bags, including Johnson's suitcases, are carried from Air Force Two across the runway. Bill Moyers, a twenty-nine-year-old advance man, has chartered a small plane from Austin to Love Field. Now he's given permission by Swindal to land and come aboard. Mac Kilduff, President Kennedy's assistant press secretary, is also on his way. Only a little more than twenty minutes ago, at 1:33 P.M., he had announced the president's death to the world in front of a chalkboard in a nurse's classroom. On it, a single word had been scrawled: PARKLAND.

Johnson does not want to be remembered as an abandoner of beautiful widows.

When Kilduff first opened his mouth, no sound had come out, and the gathered newsmen hollered at him to start again. "John F. Kennedy died at approximately one o'clock Central Standard Time today, here in Dallas," Kilduff said. "He died of a gunshot wound in the brain."

2:02 P.M.

Judge Hughes has been found. She is on her way.

In the passenger cabin, Stoughton, the White Housephotographer, approaches Liz Carpenter and Marie Fehmer. He is sweating and ashen. "You must go in and tell the president," he says, still trying to catch his breath, "that this is a history-making moment, and while it seems tasteless, I am here to make a picture if he cares to have it. And I think we should have it."

2:14 P.M.

A white hearse pulls up to the ramp at the rear of the plane, followed immediately by another car, and then another. Both are packed with Secret Service agents. Among them are Bill Greer, the driver of President Kennedy's open-topped limousine Roy Kellerman, who had been in the front passenger seat and Clint Hill, who had sprinted forward to climb onto the back of the car, only seconds too late.

Joining the crowd behind the hearse is President Kennedy's so-called Irish Mafia, his close network of Boston advisors: Ken O'Donnell, Larry O'Brien, and Dave Powers, a conspicuous bloodstain on his brown suit. Dr. George Burkley, Kennedy's personal physician, and General McHugh also gather around the back of the car. So does another of Kennedy's military aides, General Ted Clifton, one more member of this mobile army. Together they pull out the dead president's casket, shining bronze in the sun. Minutes before, it was the subject of a drawn-out fight at Parkland, pushed and pulled between Kennedy's men and county officials citing unbreakable Texas laws regarding the autopsies of murder victims. The casket's sudden presence on the ramp is proof of a hollow northern victory.The men smash off the casket's long handles in order to fit it through the plane's door and settle it into the empty space in the aft cabin, where the two rows of seats had been.

Jackie Kennedy, who had ridden in the back of the hearse with her husband's body, follows the casket up the steps and heads for the bedroom. She is shocked to find Johnson, Fehmer, and Youngblood inside it&mdashwith Johnson, depending on the account, either still on the bed or having just lifted himself off it.

"John F. Kennedy died at approximately one o'clock Central Standard Time today, here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound in the brain."

In a 1969 interview with Bob Hardesty, Johnson seemingly confesses to the less graceful of the possibilities: "He wasn't going to sleep in the bed, and I was trying to talk to [Robert] Kennedy and take pills and locate the judge and do all these things I had to do."

In less than a minute, all four mortified people in the bedroom leave&mdashJackie retreats to the aft cabin, next to the casket, while Johnson and his company scurry forward, to the stateroom. Johnson finds Lady Bird and together they return to Jackie, convincing her to go back into the bedroom. The Johnsons sit with her on one of the beds. Sergeant Ayres has laid out some blue Air Force One towels on it.

"Oh, Mrs. Kennedy," Lady Bird says, as she will later recall in her diary, "you know we never even wanted to be vice-president and now, dear God, it's come to this."

Jackie appears in shock. "Oh, what if I had not been there. I was so glad I was there," she says.

"I don't know what to say," Lady Bird says. "What wounds me most of all is that this should happen in my beloved state of Texas."

To this, Jackie says nothing. She sits in her very particular brand of silence, her pink outfit stained with gore, flecked with fragments of her husband's skull and brain. One of her stockings is almost completely lacquered in blood. Her right glove, white that morning, is caked and stiff with it. Her left glove is missing. Lady Bird asks her if she can get someone to help her change.

"No," Jackie says. "Perhaps later I'll ask Mary Gallagher, but not right now. I want them to see what they have done to Jack."

The Johnsons tell Jackie about their plans for the swearing in. Then they take their leave. Jackie stays in her spot on the bed. She looks around the empty room, begins to unbutton her single glove, and lights herself a cigarette, adding smoke to the shimmering air.

2:20 P.M.

Ken O'Donnell, desperate to take off, heads toward the cockpit. He can be blunt. O'Donnell wasn't Kennedy's gatekeeper he was the gate. Now he runs into McHugh and orders the general to get the plane in the air. After the casket fight at Parkland, O'Donnell fears that Air Force One will be refused air clearance or even intercepted by swarms of local cops. (In the confusion, he is not aware that their chief is on the plane.) "I'm concerned that the Dallas police are going to come and take the body off the plane and Jackie Kennedy's going to have a heart attack right in front of us there," he later recalls. "I'm petrified."

McHugh has already spoken to Colonel Swindal, who gave him the message that McHugh now passes along: President Johnson wants the plane grounded until he's sworn in.

O'Donnell takes his case for immediate departure to Johnson himself, who is still conferring with his Texas assembly in the stateroom. "There was some difference of opinion between him and me," O'Donnell later tells the Warren Commission. Johnson, citing Robert Kennedy's alleged advice, will not be moved.

She sits in her very particular brand of silence, her pink outfit stained with gore, flecked with fragments of her husband's skull and brain.

"There's no question in [my] mind," O'Donnell says later, "that Lyndon Johnson wanted to be sworn in by Judge Sarah T. Hughes, an old family friend, and he was afraid somebody was going to take the thing away from him if he didn't get it quick."

2:28 P.M.

Judge Hughes arrives, wearing a brown dress with white polka dots. She is a tiny woman. In photographs, she almost disappears.

Kilduff escorts three pool reporters onto the plane behind her: Sid Davis of Westinghouse Broadcasting, Merriman Smith of UPI, and Charles Roberts of Newsweek. They see Johnson in the stateroom. The president has risen out of his gold-upholstered chair, ready to be sworn in. "If there's anybody else aboard who wants to see this, tell them to come in," he says. The room begins to fill. The temperature continues to climb. "Almost suffocating," are the words Roberts later uses to describe the scene.

2:34 P.M.

Marie Fehmer palms the typewritten oath to Judge Hughes. But they still need a Bible. Larry O'Brien, excusing himself to Jackie, finds a Catholic missal in the bedroom's nightstand drawer. It is in a small box, still wrapped in cellophane. It is possibly a gift, something that somebody, somewhere, had thrust into Kennedy's hands, perhaps even on this last trip to Texas. Now O'Brien tears open the box and hands the book to Judge Hughes.

Ken O'Donnell follows O'Brien into the stateroom. Johnson sees him: "Would you ask Mrs. Kennedy to come stand here?" He wants her to stand beside him.

"You can't do that!" O'Donnell shouts. "The poor little kid has had enough for one day, to sit here and hear that oath that she heard a few years ago! You just can't do that, Mr. President!"

"Well," Johnson says, "she said she wanted to do it."

"I just don't believe that," O'Donnell says, even as he heads toward the bedroom. He paces in the hallway, his hands on his head&mdashhysterical is the word he later uses to describe himself. Finally he walks into the bedroom. Jackie is combing her hair.

"Do you want to go out there?" O'Donnell asks.

"Yes," Jackie says. "I think I ought to. At least I owe that much to the country."

2:37 P.M.

Jackie Kennedy comes out of the bedroom. The room falls silent. She has taken off her single bloody glove, but she has not changed her clothes or made use of the blue towels.

2:38 P.M.

Twenty-seven observers crowd onto the eagle-adorned carpet in the stateroom of Air Force One. It has been ninety-eight minutes since President Kennedy died. Cecil Stoughton climbs up on a couch, pressing himself against a wall. He has a semi-wide lens, a new Hasselblad 50mm, but he still has trouble making the shot. "You're going to have to back off just a little bit if I'm going to get you all in," he says to Johnson, and the foursome at the center of the portrait pushes back into the watching crowd. Most of them can't hear Judge Hughes over the whine of the engines coming to life.

Johnson chooses to swear rather than affirm, adding, for good measure, four words that are not in the oath: "So help me God." He turns to kiss Lady Bird, near tears, on the forehead. She grabs Jackie's hands. "The whole nation mourns your husband," she says.

Chief Curry leans toward Jackie. "God bless you, little lady," he says, "but you ought to go back and lie down."

"No, thanks. I'm fine," she says before she slowly makes her way to the aft cabin. She drops into a seat beside her husband's casket. She will not move from it.

Johnson shakes hands with the congressmen, the pool reporters, and his staff. In Stoughton's pictures&mdashin the less-seen frames before and after the photograph that will come to define the moment&mdashsome faces are smiling. Lyndon Johnson is the first southern president since Andrew Johnson of Tennessee took over from Abraham Lincoln.

In the crush of the moment, few people notice the man standing in the back, Stoughton's flash lighting up his spectacles, a steel briefcase in his hand.

2:41 P.M.

Johnson issues his first official order as president: "Now, let's get airborne."

Chief Curry, Judge Hughes, Sid Davis, and Stoughton&mdashwith his precious film still in the camera around his neck&mdashdash off the plane and down the ramp. Air Force One's doors are locked shut behind them.

There will soon be stories that have Judge Hughes taking the Catholic missal with her and in her shock handing it to a mysterious man, never to be seen again. In fact, the missal ends up in Lady Bird's purse. She will show it secretively to Liz Carpenter, and they will worry for a moment that it's a Catholic book, one more of the day's accidental crossings. Today, the missal is at the LBJ Library in Austin. It looks as new as it did the day it was made, its soft black leather cover embossed with a cross.

"When I walked down the steps," Stoughton later remembers, "I was the only living, breathing person who knew what happened." There was the world inside the plane and the world outside it, each knowing little of what was happening in the other Stoughton was one of the few who had passed between them. "Not only that, I had the whole record of it in my hand."

2:47 P.M.

Colonel Swindal lifts Air Force One into the sky. Davis, watching from the tarmac, is shocked by the steepness of the ascent&mdash"almost vertical," he says. It's as though Swindal wants to leave not only Dallas but also the earth.

President Johnson has never been on Air Force One&mdashwhich is code-named Angel by the Secret Service&mdashat least not in flight. Whenever he and Kennedy were flying to the same city, he would ask for permission to come aboard, to be allowed to share a little of Kennedy's spotlight, to wave from the top of the same ramp. Those requests were always refused&mdashKennedy always citing security concerns, Johnson always believing his exile was for more personal reasons. The Kennedy people dismissively called him Rufus Cornpone, the sort of man capable of ruining a good suit just by wearing it. Evelyn Lincoln says later that Johnson's repeated demotion to Air Force Two "bothered the vice-president more than anything else." Now here he is, flying on the first plane, leaving the second in its wake&mdashnot due to the favor of a more powerful man but because he is the most powerful man. He looks around the stateroom. Jackie Kennedy had helped decorate it. Soon he will have much of it torn out.

2:49 P.M.

The crowded plane is largely silent, muffled by a thick blanket of shock. The smoke-filled air slowly begins to cool.

Only Johnson is active. In the stateroom, he wolfs down a bowl of bouillon and begins mapping a route, like a pilot,through the coming hours and days. He calls Walter Jenkins and asks him to begin arranging meetings&mdashwith Cabinet members, with White House staff, with legislative leaders, his old friends and foes in the Senate. "Bipartisan," Johnson tells Jenkins.

It's impossible to know when Johnson first begins seeing in his mind's eye the things he will do, but the opportunity to do them he sees right away.

To the rear of the stateroom, Jackie Kennedy sits next to the casket, which lies along the left-hand wall of the cabin, lashed into place with bracing straps. Red bronze and weighing several hundred pounds, it was the best one Clint Hill had found at Vernon Oneal's funeral home in Dallas. It had been delivered polished to Parkland, but now it's chipped and scratched, scarred by the fight at the hospital and the frantic push up the ramp. There are broken bolts where the handles had been.

Jackie, General McHugh, and the Irish Mafia huddle in the cramped space beside it. She cries for the first time. "Oh, Kenny, what's going to happen?" she asks O'Donnell.

"You want to know something, Jackie?" he says. "I don't give a damn."

"Oh, you're right, you know, you're right," Jackie says. "Just nothing matters but what you've lost."

Dr. Burkley makes his way back to join them. Passing the vacant bedroom, he notices the door is ajar. On one of the beds, lying on a newspaper, he sees Jackie's bloody glove, dried stiff as a cast, as though her hand were still in it. He finds Mary Gallagher and brings her back to the bedroom, pointing at the glove with his own bloodstained arm. "Put it away somewhere," he says. "Don't crush it."

2:55 P.M.

Johnson retreats to the bedroom to change his sweat-soaked shirt. He summons O'Donnell. While he's dressing, Johnson asks O'Donnell to stay by his side&mdashto help with the transition from Kennedy to Johnson, from Massachusetts to Texas, from 1963 to 1964. "I need you more than he ever needed you," Johnson says, O'Donnell later recalls. "You can't leave me&hellip . You know that I don't know one soul north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and I don't know any of those big-city fellows. I need you."

"Just nothing matters but what you've lost."

O'Donnell is noncommittal. He leaves the bedroom and returns to the aft cabin, to Jackie and the casket. The day's losses are not only personal they are also professional. The center of gravity has shifted. Lady Bird hears one of the Secret Service agents whisper, in what she later calls "the most desolate voice," "We've never lost a president in the Service." Those who were charged with protecting Kennedy now sit together in the forward passenger compartment, responsible only for a box. Roy Kellerman assigns most of his agents to Rufus Youngblood, the new man in charge. Clint Hill will stay assigned to Jackie. He sits mostly in silence, going over the day's events, the same few seconds that will play on a loop for the rest of his life.

"I jumped onto the left-rear step of the presidential automobile," Hill later remembers. "Mrs. Kennedy shouted, 'They've shot his head off,' then turned and raised out of her seat as if she were reaching to her right rear toward the back of the car for something that had blown out. I forced her back into her seat and placed my body above the president and Mrs. Kennedy&hellip . As I lay over the top of the backseat, I noticed a portion of the president's head on the right-rear side was missing and he was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain was gone. I saw a part of his skull with hair on it lying in the seat."

At some point, Hill visits Jackie at the back of the plane. "Oh, Mr. Hill," she says, reaching out for his hands. "What's going to happen to you now?"

3:00 P.M.

Johnson asks Moyers, Valenti, and Carpenter to work on the speech he will deliver when they arrive at Andrews. "Nothing long," he says. "Make it brief. We'll have plenty of time later to say more." Fehmer types up the draft on a white card and gives it to Johnson. He reads it to himself:

This is a sad time for every American. The nation suffers a loss that cannot be weighed. For me it is a deep personal tragedy. I know the nation, and the whole free world, shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy bears.

I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask God's help&mdashand yours.

Johnson takes out a pen and changes a few words("We have suffered a loss&hellip . The world shares the sorrow&hellip .") and amends the end. Now it reads: "I ask for your help&mdashand God's." Satisfied, he puts the card in his pocket.

3:17 P.M.

Air Force One receives a weather report warning of storm clouds ahead. Be advised of a severe weather area from forty miles west of Greenwood, Mississippi, to twenty miles west of Blytheville, Arkansas, extending one twenty miles, one hundred and twenty miles to the east, for tornadoes, tops five zero thousand, fifty thousand feet.

Colonel Swindal begins a quick climb. He ascends higher than he had ever flown with President Kennedy, high enough to see clearly the curvature of the earth, and for the first time it hits him.

"I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask God's help&mdashand yours."

In a letter to William Manchester, the author of The Death of a President, Swindal describes the moment: "As the sun set on the flight from Dallas, flying over the storm clouds at forty thousand feet and darkness coming on so fast because of our high speed toward the East, suddenly realizing that President Kennedy was dead I felt that the world had ended and it became a struggle to continue."

3:19 P.M.

Rufus Youngblood wants Johnson to spend the night in the White House. Johnson is irritated by the suggestion. He doesn't want his arrival to look like a palace coup. "We're going home to the Elms," he says. "That's where we live. If you can protect us at the White House, by God you can protect us at home, too."

Youngblood radios Jerry Behn, the chief of the Secret Service, in Washington. "Volunteer will reside at Valley for an indefinite time," he says. Moments later, there is another call from the plane. Someone has remembered that the vice-president had been so powerless that he has only a commercial telephone line to his house. On the ground, linemen from the White House Communications Agency get to work on something more secure.

3:20 P.M.

Sergeant Ayres makes telephone contact with Rose Kennedy, the mother of PresidentKennedy. The connection between the plane and Hyannis Port, routed through the White House, is weak. "Yes, Mrs. Kennedy," Ayres says. "I have"&mdashand here Ayres takes the briefest of pauses, apparently unsure whether to introduce Johnson as President Johnson. "I have, uh, Mr. Johnson here for you."

Johnson cups the receiver with his hand and looks at his wife. Like Ayres, he too doesn't know what to say.

"I wish to God there was something that I could do, and I wanted to tell you that we are grieving with you."

"Yes," Mrs. Kennedy says. "Well, thanks a mill&mdashthank you very much."

"Here's Lady Bird," Johnson says, hastily handing over the phone.

"Thank you very much," Mrs. Kennedy says. "I know. I know you loved Jack, and he loved you&mdash"

Lady Bird begins to talk. "Mrs. Kennedy, we feel like we've just had&mdash"

"&mdashwe are glad that the nation had your son&mdash"

"Yes, well, thank you, Lady Bird. Thank you very much. Goodbye."

"Love and prayers to all of you," Lady Bird says.

"Yes. Thank you very much. Goodbye. Goodbye."

3:23 P.M.

Some of the Kennedy people have asked Johnson to bar the press from Andrews, to make their touchdown as invisible as possible. They don't want to make a spectacle of the bronze casket or the blood-soaked Jackie.

"No," Johnson says. "It will look like we're in a panic."

Kilduff, whose code name is Warrior, talks over the radio to deputy press secretary Andrew Hatcher, code-named Winner, at the White House. "Winner, Winner, this is Warrior," Kilduff says. "Will you please advise the press that normal press coverage, including live TV, will be allowed at the base?"

When Kilduff walks back to tell Jackie of the decision, she seems to approve of it. "I want them to see what they've done," she says again.

Now Kilduff falters. He knows that Texas was Jackie's first political trip since the death nearly four months ago of her newborns on, Patrick&mdashthat President Kennedy thought the sound of cheering might help wash away some of her grief. Kilduff had also lost a son, four-year-old Kevin, who drowned while his father was away with the president. Now the damaged parents lean into each other, and together they talk about loss.

3:24 P.M.

General Clifton calls McGeorge Bundy at the White House and tells him that Johnson wants to meet with secretary of defense Robert McNamara immediately after landing.

Johnson has not ruled out a military response to the assassination. "It's the Kremlin that worries me," he says to General Clifton, as later reported by Johnson's biographer, Robert Caro. "It can't be allowed to detect a waver &hellip Khrushchev is asking himself right now what kind of man I am. He's got to know he's dealing with a man of determination." Johnson remains consumed by plots and conspiracies. If the Soviet Union is behind the killing, or Cuba, or Vietnam &hellip

"Khrushchev is asking himself right now what kind of man I am."

A few minutes earlier, Johnson was told about the bespectacled man and the contents of his metal briefcase. His name is Ira Gearhart. His code name is Satchel. His briefcase holds a collection of bulky packets, each bearing wax seals and the signatures of allthe Joint Chiefs. By Manchester's account, one contains cryptic numbers that will permit Johnson to talk to the prime minister of Great Britainand the president of France in four minutes. Another holds the codes to launch a nuclear attack. The rest contain the infamous Doomsday Books, a range of retaliation scenarios&mdashRetaliation Able, Retaliation Baker, Retaliation Charlie&mdashand the estimated number of casualties that would result from each. (It is rare for Gearhart not to be near the president when he is out of the White House, though at least twice today, Satchel and his suitcase were separated from both of his presidents, at the Trade Mart and at the hospital.) Now Johnson has the means to order the country to war.

General Clifton wants to make sure his message to the ground has gone through: A helicopter will carry Johnson to the White House. McNamara should be on it, he says again.

3:47 P.M.

Ken O'Donnell rises to his feet. "You know what I'm going to have, Jackie? I'm going to have a hell of a stiff drink. I think you should, too."

"What will I have?" Jackie asks.

"I'll make it for you. I'll make you a Scotch."

She has never had a Scotch in her life. "Now is as good a time as any to start," she says.

4:05 P.M.

Colonel Swindal radios ahead to make arrangements for his landing. "We need steps on the right front of the aircraft," he says. "The press box will be on the left front of the aircraft. The &hellip "&mdashand like so many others, Swindal struggles with the following combination of syllables&mdash"President Johnson will deplane at the front of the aircraft. And we need a forklift at the rear of the aircraft, and Lace will deplane from the right front. Over."

Lace&mdashJackie&mdashwill deplane from the right front,away from the forklift, away from the body, away from the cameras and the lights.

Swindal doesn't know that Dr. Burkley has joined the long line of men on their knees in front of her, next to the casket. He tells her they will be landing soon. Maybe she would like to change her clothes, wash away the blood.

"No, let them see &hellip" she says. No one within earshot needs to hear more. They understand that the ramp at the right front of Air Force One will go unused.

4:22 P.M.

The Irish wake continues in the aft compartment. Kilduff gulps back gin. Whole bottles of Scotch are emptied. The men remember the Celtic folk songs loved by the man in the box, and through their tearful smiles they talk about what should happen now, how the president, their president, should be sent off and how he should be remembered. They talk about Lincoln, about parades and horses pulling black carriages. And they talk about grave sites and eternal flames. The men believe it should be lit in Boston, next to the grave of baby Patrick, father and son and city forever united. O'Donnell tells Jackie not to let anyone change her mind about that. But her mind is already making its own journey, to a hillside in Arlington, Virginia, tracing the steps her husband will travel from here to there.

Jackie sends Dave Powers forward with a message. She wants Bill Greer, the agent who drove the limousine, to drive the ambulance already waiting at Andrews to carry the body to Bethesda Naval Medical Center. "I want his friends to carry him down," she says.

In that 1969 interview with Bob Hardesty, Johnson talks of the people clustered in the tail of his plane: "It was a peculiar situation that they sat back in the back and never would come and join us," he says. "I thought they were just wine heads."

4:40 P.M.

Charles Roberts and Merriman Smith frantically type their all-important pool reports. Smith had lost his manual portable typewriter somewhere along the way and is stuttering away on one of the plane's electrics&mdash"having a hell of a time writing," Roberts later recalls. Roberts bangs more ably, driving out sheet after sheet. The reporters receive frequent visitors, mostly men who want the record&mdashthis singular historic record&mdashmade straight. General McHugh pounds the table in front of Roberts: "Ken O'Donnell, Larry O'Brien, Dave Powers, and me spent this flight in the tail compartment with the president&mdashPresident Kennedy." Dr. Burkley wants it known that he was with the president when he died. Even Johnson comes up to visit with them, two or three times, asking if they have all the facts they need. Now, during the last visit, Roberts looks up at Johnson and thinks, Mr. President, I know you want to talk, but I've got a lot of work to do. He manages to keep this thought to himself.

Occasionally, the reporters ask questions of the grief-heavy passengers slumped around them. Roberts talks briefly to Roy Kellerman, the Secret Service agent, his eyes brimming with tears. He also watches Evelyn Lincoln weeping and Pam Turnure, her mascara streaked across her cheeks. Other passengers have spent the flight with their foreheads cupped in their hands, disappearing into their own universes, invaded only by the occasional sob from elsewhere in the cabin and the chugging of typewriters.

"It was a sinking in," Roberts says later. "We were all doing second, third, fourth takes, realizing all of the implications of the thing as we rode back."

He notes that no one raises a shade or opens a curtain for the entire flight. Angel's passengers do not see the sun set. It's been night from beginning to end. "Like going back in a tunnel," Roberts remembers. "And much, much crying."

4:58 P.M.

Air Force One touches down at Andrews Air Force Base. It is now 5:58 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.


Great banks of floodlights have been set up they are snapped off so that Colonel Swindal can see his way. He taxis to a stop inside a socket bordered by White House&ndashbound helicopters and Bethesda-bound ambulances and the quiet, somber crowd, thousands strong, that's filled the spaces in between. "I do not believe we will ever completely recover from the shock of this tragedy," Swindal writes later, "and I know that I personally will never again enjoy flying as I did before."

Kennedy's staff members walk from the passenger compartment through the stateroom, on their way to the back of the plane. Johnson kisses Evelyn Lincoln again. He sees Pam Turnure, grabs her hand, and kisses her, too. He expects that he will walk off the plane with Jackie&mdashit is important to him to show that the nation's two White Houses, this morning's and tonight's, are one, another of his small illusions of seamlessness. But the hallway to the back of the plane begins to fill, packed with mourners standing shoulder to shoulder.

Robert Kennedy has been waiting alone for Air Force One, crouched in the back of an Army truck. Now he takes advantage of the darkness. He ducks and runs up the ramp to the plane's front entrance, seconds after the stairs have been wheeled into place. He pushes his way to the back. Liz Carpenter feels him before she sees him. "He didn't look to the left or the right, and his face looked streaked with tears," she says later. She reaches out and touches him on the back.

"Where's Jackie?" Kennedy says. "I want to be with Jackie."

He brushes past Johnson, refusing to make eye contact with his brother's successor. The dead president's Secret Service agents follow behind Robert Kennedy, and now Johnson is trapped in his stateroom. His face is impassive, but he later confesses his displeasure. "Well, I don't know that I had thought out all of the logistics of the leaving of the plane," he will tell Walter Cronkite. "But it didn't occur to me that the ramp would be removed and we would not be privileged to go down the same ramp with the body."

The floodlights burst back on. Despite them, or perhaps because of them, Johnson will soon find himself, at least for the moment, among history's most invisible presidents. "We don't even know Lyndon Johnson is within five thousand miles of there," O'Donnell says later. He and the rest of Kennedy's men surround the casket. "We carried it on the plane, we're going to carry it off the plane," O'Donnell says, and he chokes on the words.

"Hi, Jackie," Robert Kennedy says, reaching her side. "I'm here."

"Oh, Bobby," she says, falling into him.

In the stateroom, Lady Bird Johnson pulls on her coat and hat, looking up at her husband, the president. This is how it begins. Johnson finds the card in his pocket, for now unable to see anything beyond those first few public sentences of his tenure: I ask for your help&mdashand God's. He begins moving toward the back of Air Force One, at the end of the long line, instructing his three Texas congressmen and his skeleton staff&mdashValenti and Moyers, Carpenter and Fehmer&mdashto walk off the plane behind him. He doesn't want to appear as alone as he is, and never will be again.

At the weighed-down tail, a truck lift, painted yellow, has been raised into position. There is a young Navy lieutenant standing on top of it, his hand in a crisp salute. His will be the first outside eyes to see inside. O'Donnell, O'Brien, and Powers Greer, Kellerman, and Hill Dr. Burkley and Generals Clifton and McHugh gather at the rear. Eight men strain to lift the broken casket off the floor. Robert Kennedy takes Jackie's hand. The door swings open. Cool night air rushes in, and with it a terrible silence and a blinding light.

First Responders and Volunteers at Ground Zero

An aerial view of Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Unfortunately, there were not many survivors to find: Two firemen were pulled from their truck in a cavity beneath some wreckage, and a few people were pinned at the edges of the pile. By September 12, workers had rescued all of the people who were trapped at the site. After that, the Ground Zero workers had a new and more heartbreaking mission: to sift carefully through the debris in search of human remains. The fallen buildings were unstable, and engineers worried that the weight of trucks and cranes would cause the wreckage to shift and collapse again, so the workers had to keep using the bucket brigades. Meanwhile, huge fires continued to burn at the center of the pile. Jagged, sharp pieces of iron and steel were everywhere. The work was so dangerous that many firefighters and police officers wrote their names and phone numbers on their forearms in case they fell into the hole or were crushed.

Did you know? Fires continued to burn in lower Manhattan for 99 days after the attack.

Eventually, the pile stabilized enough that construction crews could start using excavators and other heavy equipment. Ironworkers hung from tall cranes and cut the buildings down, one reporter said, “like trees.” Structural engineers worked to reinforce the giant concrete �thtub” that formed the two-by-four-block foundation of the buildings and protected it from flooding by the Hudson River. Crews built roads across the site to make it easier to haul away the debris. (By May 2002, when the cleanup officially ended, workers had moved more than 108,000 truckloads𠄱.8 million tons–of rubble to a Staten Island landfill.) But the site was still dangerous. Underground fires continued to burn for months. Every time a crane moved a large chunk of debris, the sudden rush of oxygen intensified the flames. Downtown Manhattan reeked of smoke and burning rubber, plastic and steel.

A/P - AUTO PILOT: Tap to open/close the auto pilot panel.
NAV - NAVIGATION: Activates auto pilot navigation. The aircraft follows the flight plan. When NAVIGATION is active, Speed, Heading and Altitude cannot be changed manually..
APP - APPROACH: Activates auto approach. Available only when airplane is within ILS range.
SPD - SPEED: Keep the button pressed and move up/down to set the speed.
HDG - HEADING: Keep the button pressed and move up/down to set the heading.
ALT - ALTITUDE: Keep the button pressed and move up/down to set the altitude.
VS - VERTICAL SPEED: Keep the button pressed and move up/down to set the vertical speed.

All ground services are always available but passenger boarding bridge and vehicles are only available when your aircraft is properly positioned at the gate in HD airports.


Tap on EXTERIOR INSPECTION to open ground check inspection view.

Use virtual joysticks to inspect aircraft. Tap on EXTERIOR INSPECT. to open/close the checklist panel. Tap on EXIT to return to the aircraft.

Tap to open/close the checklist panel

CHECKLIST panel: PREV - Go to previous checklist CLEAR - Delete current list NEXT - Go to next checklist CLOSE - Close the checklist

Tap to open/close the currently selected sub-menu. Keep the button pressed and move up/down to select a different sub-menu (SYSTEMS, ENGINES, LIGHTS, FUEL, CHECKLIST).

Keep the button pressed and move up/down to change flaps settings.

Press to extend/retract the landing gear. Make sure to have an IAS (Indicated Airspeed) below "VLO" (Maximum landing gear operating speed) in order to extend it.

Keep the button pressed and move up/down to change spoilers settings.

Tap to switch on/off the ground brake.

Move left/right to operate the rudder.

Tap to switch multiple panel configuration.
Keep the button pressed and move up/down to quickly change the panel.
Press and hold on a single instrument for 1 second and move up/down/left/right to customize it.

Tap to switch multiple camera views.
Keep the button pressed and move up/down/left/right to quickly choose the desired camera view.

Keep the indicator pressed and move up/down/left/right to change the indicator type.

FMC- Flight Management Computer: Open/close FMC panel.
CENTER- Center the map view on your airplane.

RMV - REMOVE: Select a waypoint from the list and press RMV to remove it.
NXT - NEXT: Select a waypoint from the list and press NXT to make it the next active waypoint.
UP - UP: Select a waypoint from the list and press UP to move it to the up in the list.
DWN - DOWN: Select a waypoint from the list and press DOWN to move it to down in the list.
CLR - CLEAR: Clear all waypoints.
DEP - DEPARTURE: Only departure on HD airport. Press DEP to open the SID list, then choose a SID and press SELECT to activate it.
ARR - ARRIVAL: Only arrival on HD airport. Press ARR to open the STAR list, then choose a STAR and press SELECT to activate it.
APP - APPROACH: Active only if an arrival airport exists in your flight plan. Press APP to open the APPROACH list, then choose an APPROACH and press SELECT, then choose the TRANSITION (only HD airport) and press SELECT to activate it.

Choose any of the options available to quickly perform an activity

  • CUSTOM/REAL: Choose real time or customize any setting
  • DATE: Tap on the date to change it
  • TIME: Move the slider to change it

  • FUEL: Move the slider to change quantity
  • PASSENGERS: Move the slider to change quantity
  • CARGO: Move the slider to change quantity

  • CUSTOM: move sliders to change weather settings
  • REAL: real weather conditions

  • CUSTOM/RANDOM/OFF: Choose your failures, get surprised by random failures or switch them off
  • Move the failure list up/down to scroll it and see all available failures
  • Move the slider of each failure to set it at the desired frequency or move it all the way to the left to switch it off

  • SENSITIVITY: Set your control sensitivity, the lower the sensitivity, the smoother the response of the airplane to your movements
  • INPUT TYPE: Choose your device accelerometer or a virtual joystick. Virtual joystick can be activated in any free part of the screen excluding the HUD area
  • INVERT VERTICAL AXIS: Switch to normal or inverted virtual joystick's vertical axis

CONTINUE Return to your flight

EXIT- Leave the flight

  • EXIT: Back to main menu
  • TRY AGAIN: Restart your flight
  • REWIND: Return to your flight as it was one minute before exiting/crashing
  • REPORT: End of flight report. Will also appear when switching engines off or after connecting PBB (Passenger Boarding Bridge) and switching engines off
  • REPLAY: Look at your replay

MAIN CHAT the same chat as the one in the main menu available to all players. Tap on the top left button to change language.

MULTIPLAYER CHAT named after the server you have chosen in multiplayer. Tap on the top right button to filter pilots by distance.

Available on any HD Airport. Follow map instructions to reach your assigned gate, then reach the parking area following instructions provided by the VDGS. When correctly parked (OK), the PASSENGER BOARDING BRIDGE will become available.

Aircraft not aligned, move to the left

Aircraft correctly aligned, distance in feet to target area

Target area reached, stop aircraft here

Target area overpassed, move back

If enabled, tap to open camera settings For cockpit cameras:

Press and drag on the buttons:
VERT. To adjust camera position
ANGLE To adjust the camera angle
Press RESET to reset the position
Press on monitor name to cycle between monitors
Press and hold on individual monitor name for one second and move up/down/right/left to select monitor.
If the monitor supports it, you can access its custom settings.
NAV and WEATHER have RANGE functionality to change zoom level

The NTSB Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board conducted a full investigation of the crash.

Their final report was released in May, 1988, which blamed the pilot for the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flightcrew’s failure to use the taxi checklist to ensure that the flaps and slats were extended for takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the absence of electrical power to the airplane takeoff warning system which thus did not warn the flightcrew that the airplane was not configured properly for takeoff. The reason for the absence of electrical power could not be determined.


You can check out the full NTSB report below:

The Victims of the Crash

The flight crew and all but one passenger were killed instantly.

Seven were from Orange County, California, and the remainder were from Arizona, Michigan or other states.

Nick Vanos, a 24-year-old center for the Phoenix Suns, was killed. The Northwest hangar at the airport served as a temporary morgue.

More than 30 of the passengers were under the age of 25 two 12-year-olds were unaccompanied minors.

The flight's captain, John R. Maus, was an experienced pilot with 31 years of experience with the airline. The flight's first officer, David J Dodds, had logged more than 8,000 hours of flying in his career. Other pilots described the two as "competent and capable."

The crash is the seventh worst aviation accident in U.S. history.