December 28, 1978
Portland, Oregon
United Air Lines, Flight 173

While on a flight from Denver to Portland, the aircraft ran out of fuel while the crew was
distracted with a landing gear problem. Failure of the captain to monitor properly the
aircraft's fuel state and to properly respond to the low fuel state as indicated by other
crew members. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the other two flight crew
members either to fully comprehend the criticality of the fuel state or to successfully
communicate their concern to the captain.

CAPT = Captain
F/O = First Officer
F/E = Flight Engineer
FLT ATT = Flight Attendant
APP = Approach Control
### = expletive

F/O I think you've lost lost number four ... better get some crossfeeds open there or something
FLT ATT I'll go and make the five minute announcement - I'll be sitting down now.
F/O We're going to lose an engine!
F/O Fuel!
F/O Open the crossfeeds, man!
F/E We're going to lose number three in a minute, too - it's showing zero!
CAPT You've got a thousand pounds - you've got to. [emphatically]
F/E 5,000 in there ... but we lost it.
CAPT All right.
F/E Are you getting it back?
F/O No number four - you've got that crossfeed open?
F/E No, I haven't got it open. Which one?
CAPT Open 'em both - get some fuel in there!  Got some fuel pressure?
F/E Yes sir.
CAPT Rotation! Now she's coming.  OK - watch one and two.  We're showing down to zero or a thousand.
F/E Yeah.
CAPT On number one?
F/E Right.
F/O Still not getting it.
CAPT Well, open all four crossfeeds.
F/E All four?
CAPT You've got to keep 'em running!
F/E Yes sir.
F/O Get this ### on the ground!
F/E Yeah - it's showing not very much more fuel.
CAPT [to Approach Control] United 173 has the field in sight now - we'd like to turn left for 28L.
APP OK - maintain 5,000.
F/E We're down to one on the totalizer.  Number two is empty.
CAPT [to Approach Control] United 173 is going to turn towards the airport and come on in.
APP Turn left, heading 360 - and verify you have the airport in sight.
CAPT [to Approach Control]  We have the airport in sight.
APP United 173 is cleared for visual approach - Runway 28L.
CAPT Reset that circuit breaker momentarily - see if we get gear lights.
CAPT Yeah - nose gear's down.
CAPT [to Approach Control]  How far do you show us from the field?
APP I'd call it 18 flying miles.
F/E Boy, that fuel sure went to hell all of a sudden - I told you we had four. [four thousand pounds]
CAPT There's an interstate highway type thing along that bank on the river - in case we're short.
CAPT That's Troutdale [airport] over there - about six of one and half a dozen of the other.
F/O Let's take the shortest route to the airport.
CAPT [to Approach Control]  What's our distance now?
APP 12 flying miles.
CAPT About three minutes - four.
F/E We've lost two engines guys!  We just lost two engines - one and two.
F/O You've got all the pumps on and everything?
F/E Yep.
APP United 173, contact Portland Tower, 118.7 - you're about eight or niner flying miles from the airport.
CAPT They're all going - we can't make Troutdale!
F/O We can't make anything!
F/O Portland Tower, United 173, Mayday!  We're... the engines are flaming out - we're going down!  We're not going to be able to make the airport!

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