Wednesday November 21st, 1974 Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Nairobi. Kenya Lufthansa flight 540 prepares for a flight to Johannesburg International Airport in South Africa. The flight originated in Frankfurt. West Germany. In command is the very experienced captain Christian Krack, aged 53. The first officer is Joachim Schacke, aged 35, and the flight engineer is Rudi Hahn. The plane is a 4 year old Boeing 747-130, registered D-ABYB There are 140 passengers and 17 crew. 157 people in total. TWR: Lufthansa 540. Nairobi Tower COPILOT: Five four zero, go ahead Nairobi Tower: “Roger. You may take runway 24 at your discretion or runway 06. Your choice.” Captain Krack: “Oh 24, okay” Co-pilot Schacke: “We take 24” Nairobi Tower: “Roger. Cleared to taxi holding point, runway 24.” Co-pilot Schacke: (to the Captain) “So the flaps” Captain Krack: “Yes” Flight Engineer Hahn: “Checklist completed” Nairobi Tower: “ATC clears Lufthansa 540 Nairobi to Jan Smuts delta amber 10. Climb and maintain flight level 350 to Mike Bravo Mbeya Echo. Flight Engineer Hahn: “Take-off list is completed” Co-pilot Schacke: “Okay” The pilots begin take off at 07:54 Copilot: 80 knots. Captain Krack: “V1” Captain Krack: “VR” Captain Krack: “Pay attention. Vibration….” Right after leaving the ground the Jumbo Jet starts vibrating. Flight Engineer Hahn: “All is OK” Captain Krack: “Vibration” Co-pilot Schacke: “Gear up” Flight Engineer Hahn: “Engines okay sot far” The plane starts losing speed and lift. The situation is turning critical. Flight Engineer Hahn: “RPM also okay” Flight Engineer Hahn: “Stickshaker” Co-pilot Schacke: “Okay, crash!” The plane stalls and hits the ground 1 mile from the airport. There are 59 fatalities. 98 survive including the 3 pilots. Investigators discovered that the leading edge slats were not deployed during the take off, causing the stall. The flight engineer was found to have failed to open the slat system bleed air valves as required on the pre-flight checklist. This prevented bleed air from flowing to the 747’s pneumatic slat system. The take-off warning system that would have sounded an alarm due to the flaps not being lowered did not have a separate warning that the slats’ pneumatic valve had not been opened by the flight engineer. The faulty state of the slats should by design have been indicated by yellow warning lights: one for the pilot, and eight for the flight engineer. However, both crew members stated in court that these lights had been green. Three possible explanations have since been offered for this inconsistency: that the morning sun was blinding the cockpit crew and thus hampered color perception, that a construction error could have caused green lights despite the retracted slats, and that the crew lied. None of these possibilities could be conclusively proven. This was the first fatal accident and third hull loss of a Boeing 747. Subscribe to Mauricio PC to watch all of his videos!