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In Memory of
Bryce McCormick
January 20, 1920 - April 8, 1997

Bryce McCormick
American Airlines Pilot

Jan. 27, 1920
Riley County
Kansas, USA
Death: Apr. 8, 1997
Pima County
Arizona, USA
Bryce was born to Leo and Flossie McCormick in Zeandale, KS. In his youth, he was an Eagle Scout. He loved the program and through it made several lifelong friendships.
As a young man, he went to Kansas State for a year for avionic engineering. During his time in Kansas, he met the love of his life, Bonnie Gellart. He married her on Nov 9th, 1940 in San Diego, where they had moved from the midwest. He worked for Convair while learning to fly. World War II started a year after they were married and he tried to join the Army so he could fly for them, but he didn't pass the physical. Instead, he became a flight instructor and taught Army pilots to fly. After gaining flight experience, he applied with American Airlines and was hired and based in New York City. AA contracted out to the Air Transport Command during the war, so Bryce flew a lot to Africa and England. After the war ended, he transferred to the Dallas Ft Worth/DFW base with American and they lived in Ft. Worth. A few years later, he transerred to LGA-New York and they lived in Levittown on Long Island. Lastly, he was based at LAX-Los Angeles in 1949 and that is where he would stay the rest of his career. The family resided in Hawthorne and Palos Verdes Estates. During his career he flew the several fleet types for AA including the venerable DC-3 and the widebody flagship of the fleet, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 'Luxury Liner'.
On June 12, 1972 Captain McCormick was flying flight 96, DC-10 service from Los Angeles, to Detroit, then Buffalo and continuing to New York. During climbout of Detroit the aft cargo door opened causing an explosive decompression. This caused a partial collapse of the passenger compartment floor, which in turn jammed or restricted some of the control cables which led to various flight control hydraulic actuators. The jamming of the rudder control cable caused the rudder to deflect to its maximum right position. The cable controls to the number two (tail mounted) engine were severed, causing that engine to shut down.[1] Fortunately, there was no rupture of any hydraulic system, so the pilots still had control of the ailerons, the right elevator and the horizontal stabilizer. However, because the right elevator cable was partially restricted, both pilots had to apply back pressure on the yoke for the landing flare. Additionally, the approach and landing had to be made at high speed, to prevent the sink rate from becoming too high. The tendency to turn right was offset by using 45 degrees of left aileron, combined with asymmetrical thrust of the two wing engines. Ironically, no one could have been more prepared for just such an emergency: during his recurrent simulator training, he asked the instructor to simulate a total loss of hydraulics scenario that necessitated asymmetric thrust to control the jet. In spite of the partial restriction of the controls, the pilots were able to make a safe landing at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport with no major injuries.
After his retirement in 1980, Bryce and his wife did a lot of traveling. He was also very active in the retired American pilots organization, the Grey Eagles and was their President in 1983. His brother in law Martin Gellart also flew for American and was a Grey Eagle. He was always active and had to have a project to work on. At one time he had a restaurant in Indio, CA that had a smoker room for BBQ. He also owned a few planes and rented them out. Bryce helped restore the DC-3 "Knoxville" that is now housed at the American Airlines Flight Academy museum in Ft. Worth, TX. He grew tired of the L.A. traffic, and moved to Green Valley, AZ near Tucson to live out his retirement years.
Tragically, he was killed in a car accident at age 77, which also resulted in serious injury to his wife. The couple were turning left onto East Valencia Road from southbound Nogales Highway when their vehicle collided with a car traveling north on Nogales Highway, police said. Bryce, who was riding in the passenger's seat, suffered fatal injuries at the scene.