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Donald Louis Repo

Definition: Engineer and second officer of Flight 401


The engineer and second officer for flight 401 was Donald Louis Repo, a man who had gone to sleep early the night before because he was trying to shake a cold. Repo was 51 years old and had been employed by Eastern Airlines for 25 years, just short of half of his lifetime. A native of Massachusetts now living in Miami, that morning he had gone to the bank and then left for the airport around noon, flying to Tampa where he boarded aircraft 310 to work flight 164. Now he and the same crew would fly back to Florida as flight 401.

One of the flight engineer's duties is to get on board early, before the captain and first officer, and run through a series of checks. Before the air conditioning could even be turned on, the flight engineer had to make sure the flight deck is equipped with spare light bulbs, first aid kit, rain repellent, smoke goggles, a hand axe and so on. Repo also would fill out the takeoff data card, which had to match the weight limits on the manifest. The manifest listed nine passengers in the forward cabin and one hundred and forty-four aft; a total of 153 in all. In fact, there would be 160 on board. For balancing purposes, it was assumed that each passenger weighed an average of 170 pounds, which figured out to be a total payload, with luggage and freight, of not quite 35,000 pounds. Despite the enormous quantities and that there was a error counting the passengers, the manifest was meticulously detailed. To the quarter-of-a-million pound operating weight of the airplane was added 400 pounds. This was for two additional men who would occupy the flight deck jump seats during this flight. Warren Terry, a co-pilot, and Angelo Donadeo, a maintenance specialist. Both of whom were off duty airline employees who were "dead-heading" - airline slang for employees hitching a free ride to return from a duty assignment.


Eastern Flight 401


Related Categories:

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  external linkFind a Grave Memorial
  external linkOfficial Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 - History, Photos, Survivors and Tribute



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