August 9, 1931: A Ford 5-AT-C Trimotor, registration NC9662, crashed on the bank of the Little Miami River near Cincinnati, Ohio, killing all 6 on board. The cause was failure and separation of the right side engine due to a broken hub.
January 10, 1945: American Airlines Flight 6001, a Douglas DC-3 was approaching Lockheed Air Terminal now known as Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA when it apparently veered to the left as if circling to landing. The pilot radioed, stating he could not gain visual contact with the ground and requested vectors to Palmdale. Clearance to proceed was given, but the flight was not seen or heard from again until the next day when search crews found the wreckage in foothills approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) NE of the Lockheed Air Terminal. All 24 occupants (21 passengers and 3 crew), including 17 members of the Army and Navy, were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be the pilot's missed approach procedure to the point where it could not be applied safely.
March 3, 1946: American Airlines Flight 6-103, a Douglas DC-3, routing New York-Tucson-San Diego, crashed into Thing Mountain, near El Centro, California. The crew reported flying over El Centro; thereafter the aircraft descended and crashed into the mountain. All 25 occupants on board (22 passengers and 3 crew) were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be the pilot's action in permitting the descent to occur, for which no explanation has been found.
August 25, 1946: American Airlines Flight 26, (Flagship Tulsa), a Douglas C-47 was on a training flight originating and terminating in Memphis, TN. Approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) WSW of Ashland, MS the aircraft crashed into the ground. Both occupants on board were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be an unexplained loss of control.
October 8, 1947: An American Airlines Douglas DC-4 over Texas went into a steep dive after a prank played by an off-duty pilot. The off-duty pilot secretly activated the wind-gust lock in flight, which resulted in the command pilot, not realizing that the wind-gust lock was activated, rolling the elevator trim with no response. When the off-duty pilot deactivated the gust lock, the aircraft went into a steep dive, executed part of an outside roll and became inverted. Neither the command pilot nor the off-duty pilot had their seat-belts fastened which led them to hit the feathering switches with their heads. No one realized the feathering reduced power but it allowed the strapped-in co-pilot to bring the aircraft back under control at an altitude of 350 feet.
March 20, 1955: American Airlines Flight 711, a Convair 240, was flying Chicago-Springfield, MO when it crashed a quarter mile short of the airport while landing. Of the 35 occupants on board (32 passengers and 3 crew), 13 were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be spatial disorientation and inattention to instruments.
January 6, 1957: American Airlines Flight 327, a Convair 240, flying Providence, Rhode Island-Joplin-Tulsa when it struck trees about 4 miles (6.4 km) N of the approach end to Rwy 17 at Tulsa International Airport, slid along the ground to the top of an upslope, and then jumped a ditch and came to rest 540 feet (160 m) from the approach end. Of the 10 occupants on board (7 passengers and 3 crew) one passenger was killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be the lack of alertness by the captain in allowing the first officer to continue the descent to too low an altitude.
August 15, 1959: American Airlines Flight 514 (Flagship Connecticut), a Boeing 707 was on a training flight ending at Grumman Peconic River Airport, Calverton, NY now known as Calverton Executive Airpark, when during descent the aircraft began a barrel roll to the right, yawed and crashed in flames after the pilots shut off the engines to simulate a flameout. All 5 crew on board were killed. The cause of the crash was determined to be the failure of the crew to recognize the yaw.
March 1, 1962: American Airlines Flight 1, a Boeing 707, crashed shortly after takeoff from Idlewild airport due to a maintenance error causing rudder failure. All 95 people on board were killed. At the time, it was the nation's highest death toll involving a single commercial airplane.
December 28, 1970: American Airlines (Trans Caribbean Airways) 727-200; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands: The pilot made a hard landing which caused the aircraft to bounce, followed by a second touchdown which caused the main landing gear to fail. The aircraft overran the runway and hit an embankment. Two of the 46 passengers were killed, the crew survived.
April 27, 1976: American Airlines Flight 625, a Boeing 727, crashed on approach to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands resulting in a considerable number of fatalities. Overran short runway, pilot error cited. American subsequently ceased all jet service into St. Thomas until runway expansion and other airport improvements were completed. During this interim period, American served St. Thomas with Convair 440 prop aircraft operated by a wholly owned subsidiary, American Inter-Island Airlines (see Notes under Fleet history section).
May 25, 1979: American Airlines Flight 191, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, crashed at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. During the takeoff roll, the left engine and pylon separated from the wing. The crew continued the takeoff, but wing damage due to the engine separation also damaged the aircraft hydraulic system and caused retraction of some flight control surfaces. The aircraft rolled and crashed shortly after takeoff. All 258 passengers and 13 crew were killed. Two people on the ground were also killed. This is the deadliest accident in the airline's history and the deadliest on U.S. soil.
15 November 1979: American Airlines Flight 444 en route from Chicago-Washington, DC; the Unabomber attempted to blow up the flight with a bomb smuggled into the cargo hold. The explosive failed to detonate, instead only giving off large quantities of smoke. There were no fatalities, and 12 passengers were treated for smoke inhalation.
On April 16, 1985, engine number 3 of an American Airlines Boeing 727 was torn from its mounts while flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet. Frozen fluid from a leakage of the lavatory waste drain valve was ingested by the engine. There were no injuries.
February 3, 1988: American Airlines Flight 132, a MD-83, experienced a cargo hold fire because of a chemical reaction resulting from undeclared and improperly packaged hazardous materials. There were no fatalities.
May 21, 1988: American Airlines Flight 70, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 bound for Frankfurt, overran Runway 35L at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport during an attempted rejected takeoff; the jetliner continued to accelerate for several seconds before slowing, and did not stop until it had run 1,100 feet (335 m) past the runway threshold, collapsing the nose landing gear. 2 crew were seriously injured and the remaining 12 crew and 240 passengers escaped safely; the aircraft was severely damaged and was written off.
April 14, 1993: The pilot of American Airlines Flight 102, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, lost directional control during a crosswind landing in rainy conditions and caused the jetliner to slide off Runway 17L at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after arriving from Honolulu, Hawaii. The craft dug into deep mud alongside the runway, collapsing the nose landing gear and tearing off the left-hand engine and much of the left wing. 2 passengers suffered serious injuries while using the evacuation slides to escape from the steeply tilted fuselage; the remaining 187 passengers and all 13 crew evacuated in relative safety, but the aircraft was written off.
February 9, 1998: American Airlines Flight 1340 a Boeing 727 struck the ground short of the runway 14R threshold at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) while conducting a Category II (Cat II) instrument landing system (ILS) coupled approach.
November 20, 2000: Purser Jose Chiu, of American Airlines Flight 1291, an Airbus A300, died when a pressurized cabin door opened abruptly during an emergency evacuation at Miami International Airport. The airplane took off from Miami for a planned flight to Haiti. Climbing through 16,000 feet, bleed air from the engines pressurized the cabin to an artificial altitude of 8,000 feet as normal. 11 minutes after departure, warnings from lavatory smoke detectors and a warning light indicating a possible fire in the belly hold (both false, as it turned out) caused the captain to return the aircraft to Miami and order an emergency evacuation upon landing. However, the forward cabin outflow valve was partially blocked by insulation blankets. The blocked valve prevented the cabin from depressurizing and resulted in the cabin pressure increasing further after landing. A flight attendant in the rear cabin (investigators could not determine which one) came forward and advised the captain that the emergency exit doors would not open. About 40 seconds after this statement, Chiu was observed trying to force the handle with both hands. The door, under an estimated 1,500 pounds of pressure, suddenly burst open. The rush of escaping air hurled Chiu more than 40 feet out of the left main door to his death. Two flight service directors in the forward area also were knocked unconscious when the door exploded open.
December 22, 2009: American Airlines Flight 331 overran the runway in heavy rain at Kingston, Jamaica during landing and came to rest on an access road just short of the Caribbean Sea, with its fuselage broken in three. More than 40 people were injured.