ONA stories by Al Quack
My ONA and Other
by Al Quack
Al in ONA uniform 1966
Cockpit of ONA N864 DC-8-63
ONA DC-8-55F Contender at Travis AFB
Air Siam Flt Hawaii July 1971
Al Quack tells about his experiences
flying as a flight engineer for ONA.
A close call for all onboard during take-off of ONA
aircraft N863F, Charter Flight #4655.
On the evening of June 20, 1973 at Bangor, Maine
airport, our crew was to meet ONA passenger flight
coming in from Tampa, FL and fly it on to Europe.
I did my normal preflight of the aircraft with my
flashlight as we (F/E’s) always used and everything
appeared to be normal. On take-off roll before V1 call
(decision speed for continued Take-Off) we all heard a
bang, which sounded like a main tire blew.
The Captain immediately rejected the take-off and
almost immediately thereafter the tower called and said
we had sparks coming from our right main gear.
While reversing the engines and braking the aircraft
the tower called again and said that we now have a fire
on our right main gear. We told the tower to call the
emergency equipment, which he did.
As the aircraft was coming to a stop, there was a
taxiway coming up on our left side, which the Captain
turned off the runway onto and stopped the aircraft.
He told me to shut down three and four engines and he
called for aircraft truck steps to be brought out
immediately to get the passengers off.
He then said he was going back to the cabin to see
how bad the fire was. The fire had started feeding off
the hydraulic fluid from broken brake lines, rubber
tires and the magnesium wheels, so it was going pretty
good coming up the right side of the fuselage just aft
of the trailing edge of the right wing by the cabin
windows, by the time the airport fire department got
I was worried about the other two engines still running
with people on the ground around the aircraft, which I
informed the Co-Pilot of my concern for their safety.
About that time the Captain came back in the cockpit and
said that the Flight Attendants had just initiated the
emergency evacuation, as some passengers had opened the
left over-wing hatches on their own and a few passengers
were already out on the left wing.
The Captain told me to shut down the other two engines,
which I did immediately, then accomplished the secure
cockpit checklist. After all the passengers were off, the
Captain and I went through the cabin twice front to back
with our flashlights to make sure everybody was off,
meanwhile the flames were still visible out the right
After we finally got off the aircraft the fire department
was just getting the fire under control and knocked down.
During this whole fire emergency I kept thinking this
aircraft is pretty full of fuel in both wings for our flight
and I kept hoping the fire department could get it out before
it ignites too, or we’ll have a bigger catastrophe than we
already have. All our Flight Attendants did a fantastic job
getting everybody off safely and in a timely manner.
There were some passenger casualty’s as expected due to
the evacuation, but no fatalities thank goodness! The
aircraft a DC-8-63F (N863F) was repaired and put back