Continental Airlines, in implementing service bulletin related maintenance, had independently developed a procedure similar to that employed by American Airlines. In two prior instances on Continental DC-10 airplanes in December 1978 and February 1979, engine/pylon assembly reinstallation had resulted in damage nearly identical to that incurred on the accident airplane. In both events at Continental, the sound of the flange fracturing was heard by maintenance personnel. Both Continental events were attributed to maintenance error by the carrier, and were not reported to McDonnell Douglas or the FAA. The NTSB concluded that these two events should have been viewed as an indication that the alternate installation procedure was inappropriate.

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