Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) join with the aviation community in mourning the passing of Captain Al Haynes, who will forever fondly be remembered for a career of professionalism, training, and superior airmanship. Thirty years ago last month – July 19, 1989, United Flight 232 piloted by Haynes departed Denver en route to Chicago. Sixty-seven minutes into the flight, he notified air traffic controllers that the number two engine had failed, and the aircraft was only marginally controllable. During the ensuing emergency landing at Sioux City, Iowa, 184 of the 296 passengers survived.
For the next 25 years, Haynes gave nearly 2,000 presentations about United Flight 232, including at NATCA’s Communicating For Safety (CFS) conference in 2016. His goal was always to educate other pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, emergency crews, and emergency planners. When talking about the incident, Haynes commended his crew, air traffic control, and ground units in their execution of emergency procedures and maneuvers. He also commended the cooperation between all parties involved throughout the emergency. This story that Haynes recounted remains profoundly inspiring and valuable as a teaching tool in the areas of aviation safety, training, and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).
About Haynes, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said, “NATCA looks to examples of exceptionalism in aviation, like Capt. Haynes lived and taught, to provide a standard for us to strive toward. We are deeply saddened by his passing, but profoundly grateful for his career of service to aviation safety. Our Union believes that every day is a training day, and we will continue to remember how Capt. Haynes and others made a big difference in the survival rate during that flight 30 years ago.”