On that day 25 years ago the public affairs specialist was a young U.S. Air Force airman heading home on leave to North Carolina, flying out of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
"I was looking out my window, sitting at the end of the runway aboard the second airplane lined up to take off," said Creech. "I had a window seat and was looking out the window when I noticed some really, really black thunder clouds at our end of the runway. Then I saw orange, extremely bright orange, light. My brain didn't register what I was seeing."
One hundred and thirty four people of the 163 on board the Delta Lockheed L-1011 and one person on the ground died that day, in part because of a powerful thunderstorm microburst-induced wind shear, a rare but potentially deadly downdraft.
Dave Hinton, now the deputy director of the Aeronautics Research Directorate at NASA's Langley Research Center, also remembers that accident vividly. He and a team of researchers studied it for years as part of their efforts to help develop predictive wind shear radar, a technology that is now standard on all airliners.
"It was a tremendously productive cooperation between multiple agencies and companies," said Hinton. "We advanced the state of the art from basic knowledge of a meteorological phenomena to developing well defined system requirements for on board sensors and crew procedures."
"They followed the technology development and as a result provided the credibility and basis for certification," said Hinton. "That meant that within two to three years of our wrapping up the project there were certified systems available. " Those airborne systems, better ground-based radar and improved pilot training have now virtually eliminated U.S. airliner wind shear accidents.