A GAL AND HER PLANE
My career with ONA
by Nancy Murray Lowey, Orange VA
Tony Destro is documenting
the ONA Bird Strike
There is so much history one the ONA Crew Web
and tons of stories from the former employees.
I've been an ONA fan since my cousin Nancy
(Neal) worked for ONA. Way back then I
was just a teenager. ONA would show up once
in a while at MIA.
Anyone out there have an old DC-10
Any cabin interior pics?
Any pics of company employees?
By your participation in answering this
questionnaire and telling us your story
we hope to put together an interesting
documentary type story, and possibly
reunite other ONA employees by providing
us their missing contact information.
Anything you have is important!
Best regards from Tony
ONA 1975 BIRDSTRIKE
by Tony Destro
NANCY IN NOVEMBER 1975
BIRD STRIKE DRAMA
The Bird Strike
NANCY MURRAY LOWEY WAS ON
BOARD THE BIRD STRIKE PLANE
12 NOV 1975
Deadheading Company Employee onboard ACFT
Questionnaire for ONA Website
1. What is your name, Phone number,
Home/mailing address, Email address?
Nancy Lowey et email email@example.com
2. What was your title and/or position
Flight Attendant Supervisor/Instructor
3. What were your dates of employment with ONA?
4. Exactly what seat were you sitting in
onboard the ACFT?
I was sitting in front cabin left side
about 3th row back next to window.
5. Forward / Middle / Rear sections -
probably row 3.
6. Left side (captains’ side) / Middle side /
Right side (co-pilot side)?
7. Do you know who the working assigned F/A’s
were and their names, phone numbers, email
Sorry, I do not remember.
8. Do you remember exactly or approximately where
they were sitting in their jump seats (left side,
right side, front, center, rear, over-wing)?
They were sitting on single jumpseats -one on the
left side and one on the right side attached to the
forward bulkhead. I know when the a/c took the sharp
left turn and stopped F/A's came out of their
seatbelts in those jumpseats. Later it was
determined that the F/A/s had incorrectly fastened
9. Do you know the name of the Senior F/A assigned
to this flight?
10. Do you know the contact for the Senior F/A
(phone, address, email address)?
11. What door were you sitting near?
Front left L-1
12. From your view in your seat,
do you remember who was sitting
around you (i.e. dead heading F/A’s &
Pilots, Maintenance Personnel, Management,
Operations Personnel, Crew Schedulers,
Baggage Handlers, Reservations /
Booking agents, Translators, company
personnel on vacation, etc)? Other
deadheading flight attendants and
possibly Maintenance folks-
cannot remember names.
13. If so, do you have contact information
for these people?
14. Where were these employees seated
from you view (left side, center rows,
All areas- mostly on right side but
it was fairly open – less people here..
15. Do you have any contact information
for any of them?
16. Where did the deadheading employees
board the ACFT from (a hanger, bussed to
tarmac, at the airport via Jetway, etc.)?
Gee- I cannot remember- probably walked
on tarmac to enter along with the working
F/A's and cockpit crew.
17. What was the mood / atmosphere like at
the place of boarding (party atmosphere,
excitement, just routine)?
Genuinely happy atmosphere although it was
a cold very gray dreary day.
18. Any interesting stories take place
while waiting to board the ACFT (anyone
late, replaced on the flight because
they could not make it, got sick, etc)?
Not that I know of.
19. Did this FLT depart on time?
I believe so.
20. How did the deadheading employees
arrange themselves (seating wise)
when the entered the ACFT (assigned
seating, open seating-free for all,
by company position)?
Open seatting- folks spread out so
they could plan on napping throughout
flight, with groups of friends, etc..
21. After everyone entered the ACFT,
what was the general mood on board
(festive, party, exciting adventure
to a far away land, etc)?
People were workmanlike like but
happy. Generally a sense of
adventurous excitement lay
ahead and folks took it in stride.
22. When the door closed and ACFT taxied
for departure was their any delay, or
did it go right to the RWY and start
its take-off roll?
I do not believe there was a delay.
The a/c departed on time.
23. Do you have any pictures of
this event? Do you know anyone
Yes- I have several in sequence as
the a/c burned and broke apart and
finally the END- only the tail engine
in tact and sitting among the debris
and foamextinguishing agent. Many of
these pictures appear on the website
already. A Flight Engineer took them –
had several sets developed and we
purchased them from him. I have not
seen the tail section – final picture
of the A/C on the web site, though.
24. Besides this event, do you have
any pictures of yourself, or other ONA
employees together (on a layover, party,
on the ACFT, an ONA get together, at
Yes- I sent them to Elisabeth and
they are on the website now.
25. Please tells us your story as
you remember it—all the details, such as;
a. Why did you pick/bid to do this trip?
I was assigned to go as a F/A scheduler
and supervisor. It was my 2nd/3rd time
I believe going in this capacity.
b. How long had you been an ONA employee?
Five years when the accident happened.
c. Was this your first time doing something
d. Had you been to the Middle East before
and done Hadj flights?
e. Was the DC-10 going fast when this
It was traveling at a speed readying for T/O
f. Did you hear loud / strange noises?
I do not remember hearing noises –
just some commotion- folks moving up to
the front of the a/c, calmly, because
windows were melting on the right side
mid and aft sections of a/c and they
reported seeing the dark smoke of the
blown engine. The wing was on fire.
Windows were melting in the forward
part of a/c on right side as well.
Concern was evident.
g. From full throttle till abort,
how long did that take?
No real knowledge but it did not
appear to take long.You only hoped the
cockpit crew knew what was happening
aft. We knew we were in trouble but
had confidence that the trip down
the run way would abort.
h. After the abort, how long before
the EVAC took place?
It took place mmediately after the
i. Who initiated it?
F/A's on duty initiated it up front.
j. How did you know you should EVAC
the ACFT? Did an alarm go off,
a P/A announcement, or just plane
instinct that something was wrong and
you must get out?
We went on instinct! Windows were
melting , huge black smoke was outside
a/c. A/c took sharp left turn and stopped.
Folks from back of a/c flooded the
front of a.c with reports of fire and
k. Immediately after the aborted T/O,
the ACFT stopped moving, was there any
confusion between working F/A’s,
deadheading pilots sitting in PAX
seats, or other deadheading F/A’s
sitting in PAX seats about what should happen?
No there was no confusion. . The Left front
door (L1) was opened first ( without
assessing the outer conditions by a female
F/A and huge swirls of black smoke were
evident outside. So we knew we could not use
that exit. Folks all moved quickly over to
the right side of a/c. There was a bit of a
crush at that door but it was opened and half
the slide inflated – one of the F/A/s
( Vietmanese male) slid down with another
F/A and held the slide for the rest of us.
I felt secure enough when I was ready to
slide down that I turned around and went
back to my seat in the 3rd row left side
to get my purse. People cried out to come
back but I felt I had time enough. Most
folks left all carry on belongings on the
a/c. So they lost their passports and other
forms of identification. It was an orderly
and polite evacuation at this door.
l. Did the order to EVAC initiate from the
working cockpit crew or working F/A’s? It
was initiated – as far as I know from the
F/A's and all of us in the cabin. I never
saw the cockpit crew or heard an announcement
from anyone and I was sitting up front in view
of the cockpit door. On exiting I did see an
escape tape hanging from the right cockpit
window. 'Stinky' Davis reportably took a
final walk throught the cabin although I
did not see him exit the A/C at any time
on the right side.
m. When your time came to jump out of the
burning ACFT were you scared?
No absolutely not. We practiced in training
so many times it was not foreign to most
of us. Of course there may always be a bit of
momentary hesitation at the moment after one
sits to slide but there was no choice in
what any of us had to do! So down we went
with the well trained cabin crew waiting
for us below!
n. Did you pause and look outside before
jumping and see the ACFT on fire?
Not for any length of time- reports from
those moving up from mid section and aft
reported on what was happening behind us-
windows were melting, heat was in the cabin,
wing on fire and of course the thick black,
gray smoke that was evident at the left door
when opened moments before and could not be
used spoke of what was happening. So I am
pretty sure I took a look right and then
proceeded down to safety.
o. Was there pushing & shoving on the ACFT?
None what so ever.
p. Was there screaming & yelling?
Not to my knowledge- just a business
like atmosphere with folks knowing what
to do in this situation. People were polite
and helpful at our door.
q. Did you smell smoke inside ACFT or
see a fire inside the ACFT?
I cannot remember smelling smoke inside
and did not see fire inside either.
r. Was anyone standing up during
the abort? Did they fall down?
No- folks were moving swiftly up
front and then sitting – did not see
anyone standing per se during abort
and final stop nor f did I see anyone
fall. I remember some people shouting-
or reminding us to brace. I do not
believe I did ( grab my ankles) I
just braced by holding onto the seat
in front of me with both hands and
s. Did you get hurt at any time,
or know of anyone getting hurt?
t. Do you know who the last people
were to exit the ACFT?
Not really – just deadheading personnel.
u. After everyone got off the ACFT,
where did everyone go?
How long were you there?
After evacuating people gathered on
the right side of a/c close to it
and observed- especially deadheading
males. F/A's – myself included -asked
folks to move away from the A/C to a
safer distance. One deadheading pilot
suggested we use a passenger manifest
to detemine who was still possibly
onboard and I told him it was on
the plane. He seemed confused.
v. Did you continue as an ONA employee,
or resign after the accident?
I continued employment for 2 years and
2 days later we were on board another
DC-10 bound for Saudi Arabia. On take
off everyone cheered! For most people on
board that A/C – they had to get new
passports and ID's besides clothing and
personal affects for traveling before
taking off again for Saudi Arabia in
2 days. Since I was able to recover my
purse I was among the few that did not
have to travel to NYC for those new
passports. We were also issued checks
for our lost items – luggage – the next
day at the ONA offices in Jamaica, NY.
ONA was very generous and timely,
from my perspective, in cost replacement
of our personal belongings.
w. After ONA ceased operations did you
become an airline employee for another
No I became a teacher. My experience as
a F/A Supervisor and F/A instructor opened
up a gift to me that I discovered while
teaching prospective ONA F/A's trainees.
I found I liked to teach and I have
spent my career as a teacher in a
school system and as a trainer and
teacher to horses and riders.
How fortunate we were – all of us-
to have been touched by ONA. I believe
it worked to facilitate, guide and direct
many of us in our future life endeavors.
There was comradery and loyalty among its
employees as seen even today by the many
reunions nationally and globally.
Lifetime friendships were made. Cultural
lines were crossed and respected by
crew member to crew member and crew
member to passengers.
A healthy experience for so many!
x. If so, what airline, how long,
what type position, etc…
NANCY MURRAY LOWEY