UAL 232 Controller Excerpts

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Here are excerpts from a tape of conversations among air traffic controllers at Minneapolis and Sioux City, Iowa, and the crew of a United Airlines DC-10 that crash-landed July 19 at Sioux City. Of the 296 people aboard Flight 232, 185 survived and 111 were killed. The tape, covering about 36 minutes of relevant interchanges, was released Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

3:23 p.m. CDT -- Minneapolis controllers to Sioux City controllers: Sioux City, got an emergency for you.

Sioux City: All right.

Minneapolis: I've got a United aircraft coming in, lost No. 2 engine, having a hard time controlling the aircraft right now. He's out of 29,000 right now and descending to Sioux City. Right now he's east of your VOR but he wants the equipment standing by right now. .... He's east 40 miles ....

Sioux City: Radar contact.

3:25 p.m. -- Minneapolis: Did you say you had a radar on United Airlines 232?

Sioux City: Affirmative radar.

Minneapolis: He's having a hard time controlling the plane right now and trying to slow down and get steady on a heading. As soon as I get comfortable, I'll ship him over to you and he'll be in your control.

Sioux City: All right.

3:26 p.m. -- UAL 232: Sioux City approach, United Airlines 232 Heavy (wide body), with you out of 26 (26,000 feet altitude). Heading right now is 290 and we've got about a 500-foot rate of descent. .... OK, so you know we have almost no control ability, very little elevator and almost no aileron. We are controlling the turns by power. ... We can only turn right, but we can't turn left.

Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, understand, sir, you can only make right turns.

3:27 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232, ... your present track puts you about 8 miles north of the airport, sir, and the only way we can get you around to (runway) 31 is a slight left turn with differential power or, if you can, jockey it over.

UAL 232: OK, we're in a right turn now. That's about the only way we can go. We'll be able to make very slight left turns on final, but right now just going to make right turns to whatever heading you want.

3:29 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, say souls on board and fuel remaining.

3:32 p.m. -- UAL 232: We have no hydraulic fluid, which means we have no elevator control, almost none, and very little aileron control. I have serious doubts about making the airport. Have you got some place near there that we might be able to ditch? Unless we get control of this airplane, we're going to put it down wherever it happens to be.

Sioux City: United 232, roger. Stand by.

3:36 p.m. -- Sioux City: And United 232 Heavy, did you get the souls on board count.

UAL 232: Stand by, tell you, right now we don't even have time to let go and call the gal ....

Sioux City: Roger.

UAL 232: Two hundred ninety-two souls on board United 232.

Sioux City: Roger, thank you.

3:43 p.m. -- UAL 232: United 232, we're going to have to continue one more right turn. We've got the elevators pretty much under control within 300 or 400 feet, but we still can't do much with the steering.

Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, roger, understand you do have the elevators possibly under control. Will you be able to hold the altitude?

UAL 232: Negative. We don't have it. We are better, that's all.

Sioux City: Roger.

3:46 p.m. -- UAL 232: OK, United 232, we're starting a left turn back to the airport. Since we have no hydraulics, braking is really going to be a problem. Ah, we suggest the equipment be toward the far end of the runway and I think under the circumstances, regardless of the condition of the airplane, when we stop, we're going to evacuate. So you might notify the ground crew equipment that we're going to do that.

Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, wilco sir, and if you can continue that left turn to a 220 heading, sir, that will take you right to the airport.

3:51 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, you are going to have to widen out just slightly to your left, sir, to make the turn to final and also to take you away from the city.

UAL 232: Whatever you do, keep us away from the city.

3:53 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, been advised there's a four-lane highway up in that area, sir, if you can pick that up.

UAL 232: OK, we'll see what we can do here. We've already put the gear down, and we're going to have to put it down on something solid if we can.

3:54 p.m. -- UAL 232: We've got about three or four minutes to go, it looks like.

Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, Roger. Can you pick up a road or something up there?

UAL 232: We're trying ....

3:55 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, the airport is, oh, about 18 miles southeast of your position, about 220 on the heading. But we're going to need you southbound away from the city first, it you can hold a 180 heading.

UAL 232: We're trying to get to it right now .... OK, we're 180 degrees heading, now what do you want?

3:56 p.m. -- Sioux City: ... That heading will put you, oh, currently 15 miles northeast of the airport. If you can hold that, it will put you on about three-mile final.

UAL 232: OK, we're giving it heck.

3:57 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, the airport's currently 12 o'clock and 13 miles.

UAL: OK, we're looking for it.

Sioux City: Ah, United 232 Heavy, if you cannot make the airport, sir, there is an interstate that runs north to south to the east side of the airport. It's a four-lane interstate.

3:58 p.m. -- UAL: We're just passing it right now. We're going to try for the airport.

Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, roger, and advise when you get the airport in sight.

UAL 232: Have runway in sight. We'll be with you very shortly. Thanks a lot for your help.

Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, the wind is currently 360 at one one (11 knots) .... You're cleared to land on any runway.

UAL 232: (Laughter) You want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?

Sioux City: ... There is a runway that's closed, sir, that could probably work, too. It runs northeast to southwest.

UAL: We're pretty much lined up on this one, or we think we will be.

3:59 p.m. -- Sioux City: United 232 Heavy, roger sir. That closed runway will work, sir. We're getting the equipment off the runway and they'll line up for that one.

UAL 232: How long is it?

Sioux City: 6,600 feet, and the equipment is coming off. (Thirteen seconds elapse.) At the end of the runway, it's just a wide open field, so, sir, the length won't be a problem.

UAL 232: OK. (Twelve seconds elapse, then a ground proximity warning horn sounds.) Pull up, pull up. (unintelligible).