Crash Course: The Portland Air Disaster That Made and Changed History

April 29, 2019 7PM

Accidents don’t just happen. On a cold winter night in 1978, an out-of-fuel DC8 passenger jet with 189 aboard crash landed in a suburban neighborhood on East Burnside. Ten people lost their lives. The pilot was blamed and stripped of his career and a sweeping transformation of flight crew training took place that made United Flight 173 (in)famous as the model for failure and change. That was only part of the story. Hiding in plain sight for years in an attorney’s file boxes, the forgotten truths of the landmark air disaster revealed much more: an emotional journey tethered to the disgraced pilot and a three-year-old survivor named Lisa who became an unlikely hero for justice and public safety in the legal battle that followed. This is the long-overdue, true story of a misunderstood airline disaster that forever changed the lives of those on board and countless others.

Speaker Julie Whipple is an award-winning journalist and educator from Portland, Oregon. She holds an MFA in creative writing with an emphasis on nonfiction. She has worked as a reporter in Kenya and Tanzania where she was the East-African correspondent for the London-based, weekly news magazine Africa Economic Digest. In the United States, her work has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, The Oregonian, the Portland Business Journal and Portland Monthly Magazine. Crash Course, her first book, has been featured on KOIN 6 News, KATU 2, KBOO Radio, and The Oregonian. She is a member of the Authors Guild and PEN America.