A captain and first officer prepare the flight deck for departure (Photo: Devin Durant)

A Lesson on the Importance of Crew Resource Management

On Dec. 28, 1978, United flight 173 was approaching Portland after an evening flight from Denver. The Douglas DC-8 was operated by an experienced flight crew with a combined total of over 35,000 flight hours between the three. As the crew lowered the landing gear for their approach, a loud thunk was heard and a shudder was felt throughout the aircraft. The crew requested a holding pattern to diagnosis the issue and prepare for a potential emergency landing. The aircraft…