Crew in Delta Crash Was Critical of Air Controller

United Press International

The flight crew of the Delta Air Lines plane that crashed in a thunderstorm near Dallas last month was critical of an air traffic controller’s performance, transcripts of the cockpit conversation released today showed.

A total of 136 people were killed in the crash of Flight 191.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the conversations recorded by the jumbo jet’s cockpit voice recorder moments before the plane crashed in what one voice described as weather resembling a tornado.

One crew member’s voice on the tape said of an air traffic controller, “He’s sleeping. Get him out of bed.”

Moments later the same crew member, thought to be the captain, said, “Getting kind of hot in the oven with this controller. See--that’s what the lack of experience does.”


Second Aware of Weather

The cockpit voice recorder of a second Delta aircraft that landed safely just before the doomed Delta crashed Aug. 2 indicated that the other plane’s flight crew was aware of the weather problems.

The first aircraft’s recorder picked up a conversation in which one crew member said the weather “looks like a tornado or something. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Seconds later a voice from the landed Delta said, “An airplane just crashed. Oh, oh. . . . That was a big ball of fire. . . . I think it was Delta.”

The transcripts of the Delta Flight 191 cockpit voice recorder also showed that the crew knew it was in trouble shortly before the crash.

“Push it up. Push it way up,” one of the flight crew members said, calling for more power. “Way up. Way up. Way up.”

Seconds later the plane crashed and the recording ended.

There has been speculation that a violent down draft of air, known as a wind shear, may have caused the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration earlier released transcripts of conversations between the jet’s crew and air traffic controllers at the airport. The transcripts showed that controllers failed to inform the crew about violent weather in the jet’s flight path.

In the crash, the airliner’s wheels touched down about a mile short of the runway. The plane hopped back into the air, striking a car and killing its occupant, then plowed into a water tank less than half a mile from the runway.

The tail section, the only portion of the jet that remained intact, was moved from the airport last week to rural Denton County. Delta plans to construct a building to house the flame-scarred section until litigation in the case is complete.

Of the 28 crash survivors, two remain hospitalized in Dallas.