How to land a passenger jet without any flight controls

Allec Joshua Ibay's flight sim recreation of United Airlines Flight 232's loss of all flight controls doesn't skip a second. The unadorned, tick-tock quality of the video makes it surprisingly gripping, not least because of the incredible solution the crew found to their predicament: controlling the plane entirely by raising and lowering thrust from the engines. Even then, they couldn't turn left at all, meaning the slightest overturn right would require an entire 360-degree swoop to get back on target.

Then they had to land it.

When it came down hard at Sioux Falls City, the jet flipped and fireballed, but 185 of the 290 people aboard survived. Pilot Alfred C. Haynes and Denny Fitch, an expert DC-10 instructor who chance placed aboard the flight, were credited with saving their lives.

A similar incident in Japan saw just as much ingenuity from the crew. Even with Japan's mountainous terrain and no chance of getting to an airport, a handful of passengers survived what was otherwise the worst single-plane crash in history.

Ibay's clearly a genius, by the way. This completely low-fi youtube flight sim clip seems completely unedited but for default-font captions and brief inserts from stock footage to illustrate things the app couldn't. Yet it has more terror in it than any airplane disaster flick I've seen.

Compare to the cheesy TV movie version: