"Central to the drama is the persisting dispute over why the incident occurred in the first place.
What is undisputed is that the plane was thrown into its spiraling dive by a slat . . . ."
[Dick Witkin's review of the CBS Reports TV-documentary, New York Times, July 14, 1983, p C22.]
This "THUD" noise, or
"a popping sound"
were mentioned in several of the earliest reports from crew and pax describing their INITIAL upset.
[These sounds are typical of
during beta (sideslip angle).]
"A buffeting and
a THUD noise . . ."
Item for investigators and students:
No NTSB Go-Team was ever sent to DTW.
No Board Member was ever assigned to this case.
Four excerpts from "The Flight" section: PDF-version 843KB
of the _Livingston Award_ winning feature,
Bissinger's "The Plane that Fell from the Sky"
FAA Form 3112's
Not Disclosed until Jan' 17th 1980
Thursday Afternoon April 5th, 1979
An NTSB employee, Fred Rathke, from the CHI- Field Office interviewed mishap-pilots.
Then First Press interview.
Airport Hilton Hotel,
Jim McIntyre's first report on the mysterious upset - DIVE - pullout - Divert to DTW.
B-727 N840TW Mysterious upset - DIVE
news from first week of April 1979
Lessons from the Boeing-led
of a typical "mysterious" airliner inflight upset
Night FL390 CRZ Yaw x Roll = DIVE
B727 N840TW, TWA 841 / Wednesday 4Apr'79 at 2150 EST over Saginaw