Captain Al Haynes of United Flight 232 Takes Final Flight

The pilot who led a crew that saved 184 lives has died in Seattle.

Capt. Al Haynes
Capt. Al Haynes made his United retirement flight from Denver to Seattle in 1991.George R. Lindblade

Thirty years ago, on July 19, 1989, Captain Al Haynes and the crew of a United DC-10 made the best of a stunningly bad situation and brought Flight 232, flying from Denver to Chicago, into a landing at the Sioux City International Airport in a manner that saved 184 lives. An uncontained failure of the tail-mounted engine destroyed much of the aircraft’s hydraulically-actuated flight control system. The crew and others on board, led by Haynes, taught themselves in the moment how to manipulate the airplane to the nearest suitable runway.

Haynes passed away on Sunday, August 25, 2019, at a Seattle hospital, according to news reports, at age 87—just a few days shy of his 88th birthday. He was well known in the aviation community for his generous gift of time sharing the story of the effective crew resource management responsible for avoiding a much greater loss of life in the accident. Haynes was honored by his fellow United pilots at the National Air and Space Museum's Wall of Honor though he remained humble about his role in the event. He retired from the airline in 1991.