Behind The Scenes of the Cockpit Fire of the Star Studded UAL Flight 27

by on July 6, 2010

in consumer, Entertainment

UAL Flight 27 - A Cockpit Fire

Back in May of 2010, United Airlines flight 27 experienced a cockpit fire. This airline flight was oddly carrying a few Hollywood stars aboard. The likes of Ashley Olsen, Pamela Adlon, Jarrod Spector & Justin Bartha were among the guests on this almost ill-fated flight. Everyone on board came out OK as the flight from New York to Los Angeles made an emergency landing at Dulles International Airport.

There was much to do about the passengers and very little to do about the man who calmly resolved the situation and put the airplane down safely, hence, effectively saving lives. All they did is refer to him as “the pilot.” That 757 pilot’s name is Leon Hammack and I count him as a friend of mine.

It’s now July and Leon has taken to chatting about the incident and his accounting gives an interesting behind-the-scenes feel for what led up to the event and his perspectives while dealing with it.

It’s no small feat to sit inside a cramped space and have flames and or smoke start to erupt in these confined spaces, never mind fighting a fire with some short sighted set ups. (Take note of oxygen mask points later on in Leon’s accounting at his website.) Leon gives us a great back-story to how he got there, what happened and how he dealt with the situation as it took place.

Keep in mind that this taped Inside Edition YouTube vid starts out LOUD for a moment, and that the reference later on about a passenger rushing forward with a fire extinguisher is incorrect. But none-the-less, it sounded as exciting as they could make it:

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This video comes from moments after the aircraft has landed and come to a stand still, and gives some perspective of what the atmosphere was like just after the event.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my life, it’s that 99% of all pilots are the calmest f***ers there ever was. My adopted father was a flight instructor and a civilian test pilot for Hughes / McDonald Douglas and he had nerves of steel.

I recall one case many years ago, we found ourselves tumbling through the air after an ugly air-pocket with a nasty down draft took our lift out from under us and all he did was chuckle and point to the controls asking if I was going to do anything about it. Meanwhile, the horizon I’ve come to know and love kept flashing by in weird contorting directions and my blood was smacking into my head, then my feet. And he sat there chuckling at me.

He was also on record back in Rhode Island for having been hit in mid-air by another airplane and somehow limping home 10 miles with 2/3rd’s of one wing gone.

Yes, I have a serious level of respect for most pilots. Being a pilot isn’t just about the operation of a vehicle, but many many hours of repetitive training, annual check ups and other such levels of awareness.

With that said, here’s the link to Leon’s account of the United Airlines Flight 27 Cockpit Fire! Leon goes farther into the issue of some of the causes of these cockpit fires at More on the Cockpit Fire. (A little unnerving if you ask me!)

And remember what Clark Kent said to Lois Lane in Superman: That statistically, it’s still safer to fly than to drive!

[References: NYC Aviation, Huffington Post, AV Web.]

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