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 seating chart? 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

by Tony Destro


The Bird Strike


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 

2. What was your title and/or position 
with ONA?

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  - 
Forward section-
probably row 3.

6. Left side (captains side)  / Middle side /  
Right side (co-pilot side)?

Left side

7. Do you know who the working assigned F/As 
were and their names, phone numbers, email 
addresses---any information?
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?
Can't remember.

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/As & 
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, 
right side)? 

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? 

Sorry -no

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 
who does?

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 
work, etc).

Yes- I sent them to Elisabeth and
they are on the website now.


25. Please tells us your story as 
you remember itall 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 
like this?      


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 
a/c stopped.

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/As, 
deadheading pilots sitting in PAX 
seats, or other deadheading F/As 
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/As? 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 
sitting up.

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



by Tony Destro