At 29 years of age, Dardano had amassed 13,410 flight hours, with almost 11,000 of these as pilot in command.

It was in the airspace “S” was working. This story made a great Air Disasters episode. Your uncle is a true hero!!! [2], The aircraft registered N697SW in service with, Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, List of airline flights that required gliding, "Emergency-shortened flight is completed", "Boeing 737 - MSN 23838 - N697SW - Southwest Airlines", "N697SW - Aircraft info and flight history", "The Extraordinary Landing of TACA International Flight 110", "Miraculous Plane Landing on New Orleans Levee", Description of the NASA Michoud Facility and Air Traffic Controller's account of the event,, Airliner accidents and incidents in Louisiana, Airliner accidents and incidents caused by weather, Aviation accidents and incidents in the United States in 1988, Airliner accidents and incidents caused by engine failure, Accidents and incidents involving the Boeing 737 Classic, Avianca El Salvador accidents and incidents, Short description is different from Wikidata, All Wikipedia articles written in American English, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Earlier in his career, he had lost an eye to crossfire. If your father told you that your one-eyed uncle landed a passenger aircraft after its two engines burned out in the middle of a merciless storm — without anyone getting killed — you’d totally think he was lying, right?
My mom is the youngest daughter of Jose Antonio Dardano Portillo of San Salvador. (2) Images from Flickr's creative commons -- I also use many pictures that I get through the creative commons, but I encourage you to check individual licenses if you'd like to re-use any of these external works. Earlier in his career, he had lost an eye to crossfire on a short flight to El Salvador, where civil war was raging at the time. TIL about Carlos Dardano, the one-eyed captain of TACA Flight 110, who at age 29 made a deadstick landing onto a 700ft muddy grass levee near Lake Pontchartrain after suffering double engine flameout in unforecasted bad weather. On May 24, 1988, Carlos was flying a Boeing 737 for TACA airlines (TACA 110), which was on its way to New Orleans. I worked at New Orleans International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower/Approach Control from June, 1984 through December, 1988. If they flew due east from Lakefront, they’d be just about over the Industrial Canal in the vicinity where Taca 110 went down. And I laughed at the mom thing – I figured you must have typed that one quickly.

I am pretty proud to have any small connection to this great story.

Our radar turned at a rate of 360 degrees per second. It didn’t matter to “S”. I had a really good idea and no authority to do it.

It would be even cooler if you got to meet your “Uncle” (did you ever do the family tree?)! At 1,500 feet we lost the transponder information (the data tag that tells us the name of the flight, the altitude, and ground speed). New Orleans is surrounded by swamps, canals, and various waterways filled with stumps, trees, snakes, and alligators. Then we heard “J” say, “Understand both engines.”. Your description was so vivid — I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write it all out. Actually had the pleasure of having Carlos tell me of his exploits (not only the levee landing but also the lost eye incident) at dinner in DC (Reston, VA to be exact). It was a shock to find out that Taca 110 had lost both engines and the meteorological conditions in which they were operating. We had called up the radar map showing the local roadways and were trying to see if we could identify a place to land there. I'm sure he's a great pilot with a lot of experience, but I think I'd be happy not knowing the guy flying the plane i'm in only has one eye. At 29 years of age, Dardano had amassed 13,410 flight hours, with almost 11,000 of these as pilot in command. They may be better grounded than you think. By taking their altitude three times in three sweeps I had calculated their decent rate per minute and factored it with the distance to fly. Attempts to advance the throttles only resulted in overheating of the engines, so they were once more shut down to avoid catastrophic failure. My mom is Carlos and he’s my cousin. Initially, it was planned to remove the wings and transport the airplane to a repair facility by barge, but Boeing engineers and test pilots decided to perform an engine change on site. When I told him what was going on, he knew exactly just how bad the situation was. He wasn’t even exaggerating. I ran back over to the coordinator position. On May 24, 1988, the Boeing 737-300 lost power in both engines, but its pilots made a successful deadstick landing on a grass levee adjacent to NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility, with no one aboard sustaining more than minor injuries, and with only minor damage to the aircraft. TACA Flight 110 was an international scheduled airline flight operated by TACA Airlines, traveling from Belize to New Orleans. Merry Christmas! The airliner had been in service with TACA for about two weeks[1] after it was acquired from Polaris Aircraft Leasing in May 1988. “S” and I were in the back of the radar room and couldn’t see firsthand what was going on. Carlos Dardano lost his left eye after being shot in the head by guerrillas during the civil war in El Salvador — but despite his impaired vision, he went on to become a certified commercial pilot. Don’t feel guilty about not believing the story, I didn’t believe it when I saw it on TV back in 1988. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The tower supervisor balked. You should be very proud of your family. Although, for the record, we were second behind the employees at the NASA Michoud facility. !” (Those gringos are a bunch of sissies). I’m going to email you this message as well, in case you’re no longer checking the thread here. They said in the end that both of his kids (son and daughter) became pilots. You learn something new every day; what did you learn today? You’re cosmically tied by the kind of event that makes “life or death” a very real turn of phrase.

We live in Toronto, Canada.

I have been neglecting my blog lately, but I think fate had it right. Two days ago, this episode of Mayday was uploaded on YouTube. [5][6][7], The incident was featured in Nowhere to Land, the 11th episode of the 11th season of Mayday (Air Crash Investigation). I rang the supervisor back to the radar room and briefed him quickly on the situation. Your site looks great, too. I read your story about the air traffic control side of things on a night that I was feeling very down. Wow, small world.

Capt. I had been an air traffic controller for about four years, radar certified for just over one year. Other modifications were made to the engine nose cone and the spacing of the fan blades to better deflect hail away from the engine core. There were two problems. However, neither engine would accelerate to normal idle speed, much less to a point where it was producing meaningful thrust. I’m trying to get in touch with Carlos Dardano, if you have any information how I can please e-mail me at my name is Carlos Hernandez. c o m, if you’re interested in connecting.

TIL about Carlos Dardano. I listened to all of these podcasts while on late-night solitary walks. Traffic was fairly light, but there was something going on. Mind you this is all happening at an extremely fast rate.

We heard the man working the west side, “L”, talking at a high rate of speed and obviously struggling to keep up with his traffic load. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. They replaced the engines at the landing site, and the plane was able to take off from a nearby road that used to be a runway... and it eventually returned to service. ( Log Out /  “S” plugged in next to “L” on west radar to help him with the traffic load.

Obviously meant to say Carlos is my cousin (not mom as I now realize I wrote…) My mom is the daughter of Antonio and Julia Dardano and sister of Tony Dardano (Tio Tony to me), who in turn is father of Carlos (or Carlitos as my mother calls him). The BE20 (King Air) took off with the new instructions.