Air France Flight 009 was a scheduled international flight that crashed into a mountain while attempting to land at Santa Maria Airport, Azores on a stopover during a scheduled international passenger flight from Paris-Orly Airport to New York City. All 48 people on board were killed.
|Air France Flight 009|
A Lockheed L-749A Constellation, similar to the accident aircraft.
|Date||28 October 1949|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to pilot error|
|Site||Pico da Vara, São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal|
|Aircraft type||Lockheed L-749-79-46 Constellation|
|Flight origin||Paris-Orly Airport, France|
|Stopover||Santa Maria Airport, Azores, Portugal|
|Destination||New York City, United States|
The aircraft was operating a scheduled international passenger flight from Paris-Orly Airport, France to New York City, with a stopover at Santa Maria Airport, Azores. There were 11 crew and 37 passengers on board. The flight departed from Orly at 20:05 on 27 October.
At 02:51 on 28 October, the pilot reported he was at a height of 3,000 feet (910 m) and had the airport in sight. After no further communications were received from the aircraft, a search was initiated, involving eight aircraft and several ships. The aircraft was found to have crashed into Pico da Vara on São Miguel Island, 60 miles (97 km) due north of the airport. All 48 on board were killed in the crash and subsequent fire. The wreckage was spread over an area in excess of 500 square yards (420 m2). The bodies of the victims were recovered and initially taken to the church in Algarvia before they were repatriated. At the time, the accident was the deadliest to have occurred in Portugal and also the deadliest involving the Lockheed Constellation. A memorial to the victims was erected on Pico da Vara at .
The accident was investigated by the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile. The investigation found that the cause of the accident was controlled flight into terrain due to inadequate navigation by the pilot whilst operating under VFR conditions. It was found that the pilot had sent inaccurate position reports and that he had failed to identify the airport.
Notable people killed in the accident included the French former middleweight world champion boxer Marcel Cerdan; French violinist Ginette Neveu and her brother Jean Neveu; Guy Jasmin, editor-in-chief of the Montreal-based newspaper Le Canada; French artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel; Ernest Lowenstein, owner of several businesses in France and Morocco; and Kay Kamen, an instrumental merchandising executive for the Walt Disney Company.
The Exhall mid-air collision happened on Saturday 19 February 1949 over the village of Exhall when a British European Airways Douglas DC-3 / Douglas Dakota collided in clear weather with a Royal Air Force Avro Anson T21.The Dakota was on a flight from Northolt Airport near London to Glasgow-Renfrew Airport in Scotland. With a crew of four it was carrying six passengers, and had taken off from Northolt at 09:13 hr. The Royal Air Force Avro Anson T21 was being operated by No. 2 Air Navigation School on a cross-country training exercise from RAF Middleton St. George.The two aircraft collided at 4500 ft near the village of Exhall, near Coventry in Warwickshire. The wreckage fell near an old peoples' home, the Exhall Lodge Hospital. There were no survivors.Although the weather at the time of the crash was clear, the accident investigation concluded that the crew of neither aircraft saw each other, possibly due to glare from the sun, and blamed the accident on a failure on the part of both captains to keep a proper look-out for other aircraft.1949 MacRobertson Miller Aviation DC-3 crash
On 2 July 1949 a Douglas DC-3 aircraft departed from Perth, Western Australia for a night flight of 441 nautical miles (817 km) to Carnarvon. The aircraft climbed to a height of about 500 feet (150 m) and then spiralled almost vertically to the ground, killing all 18 people on board. It crashed about a mile north of Perth airport and burned for over an hour. At the time, it was the worst civil aviation accident in Western Australia.1949 Manchester BEA Douglas DC-3 accident
The 1949 Manchester BEA Douglas DC-3 accident occurred when a twin-engined British European Airways Douglas DC-3 (registration: G-AHCY) crashed on Saddleworth Moor in the Pennines near Oldham, Lancashire, after a flight from Belfast. The accident killed 24 of the passengers and crew on board. The aircraft had first flown in 1944, and was captained by F. W. Pinkerton, a former RAF serviceman who, as a sergeant, had been posted missing during World War II. The airline was government-owned.1949 Queensland Airlines Lockheed Lodestar crash
On 10 March 1949 a Lockheed Lodestar aircraft became airborne at Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia for a flight to Brisbane. Before reaching a height of 300 feet (90 m) it suddenly pitched nose-up, stalled and crashed onto its belly beyond the end of the airstrip.
Fuel from the aircraft's tanks caught fire and the aircraft burned fiercely. All 21 people on board died, either of injuries during the crash or in the ensuing conflagration. It was the worst civil aviation accident in Queensland at the time, and the second-worst accident in Australia. It occurred exactly three years after the worst, the ANA DC-3 crash near Hobart on 10 March 1946.Investigation of the crash uncovered some errors in the information used to determine the position of the aircraft's centre of gravity. It became clear that the aircraft had taken off with its centre of gravity slightly outside the approved limits. Investigators also found evidence that the takeoff may have been performed with the elevator trim tab still set for landing. If the elevator trim tab had not been set for takeoff this would have been exacerbated by the incorrect position of the centre of gravity and the aircraft would have been uncontrollable.1949 Strato-Freight Curtiss C-46A crash
On 7 June 1949 a Strato-Freight Curtiss Wright C-46D, registered in the United States as NC92857, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 10 km (6.4 mi) west of the San Juan-Isla Grande Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, US while en route to Miami, Florida, US. Of the 81 passengers and crew on board, 53 were killed.Albert Guay
Joseph-Albert Guay (23 September 1918 – 12 January 1951) was a Canadian mass murderer, who on 9 September 1949, killed 23 people aboard Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 108 near Sault-au-Cochon, Quebec using a dynamite time bomb. Guay planted the bomb in the suitcase of his wife, the intended victim, in order to bypass a divorce, obtain life insurance money and elope with his mistress.
Guay, along with two accomplices, were convicted and sentenced to death, and he was executed in 1951.American Airlines Flight 157
American Airlines Flight 157 was a civil aviation accident resulting in 28 fatalities. The aircraft, a Douglas DC-6, was flying on November 29, 1949, from New York City bound for Mexico City with 46 passengers and crew. After one engine failed in mid-flight, a series of critical mistakes by the flight crew caused the pilot to lose control of the plane during the final approach to a routine stopover at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. The airliner slid off the runway and struck a parked airplane, a hangar, and a flight school before crashing into a business across from the airport. 26 passengers and two flight attendants died. The pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and 15 passengers survived.BSAA Star Ariel disappearance
Star Ariel (registration G-AGRE) was an Avro Tudor Mark IVB passenger aircraft owned and operated by British South American Airways (BSAA) which disappeared without a trace over the Atlantic Ocean while on a flight between Bermuda and Kingston, Jamaica on 17 January 1949. The loss of the aircraft along with that of BSAA Avro Tudor Star Tiger in January 1948 remain unsolved to this day, with the resulting speculation helping to develop the Bermuda Triangle legend.Eastern Air Lines Flight 537
Eastern Air Lines Flight 537, registration N88727, was a Douglas DC-4 aircraft en route from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, D.C. via intermediate points on November 1, 1949. NX-26927 was a Lockheed P-38 Lightning being test-flown for acceptance by the Government of Bolivia by Erick Rios Bridoux of the Bolivian Air Force. The two aircraft collided in mid-air at an altitude of 300 feet about half a mile southwest of the threshold of Runway 3 at Washington National Airport, killing all 55 aboard the DC-4 and seriously injuring the pilot of the P-38. At the time it was the deadliest airliner incident in United States history.The tower controllers on duty that day at National testified that the P-38 had taken off on Runway 3, turned left north of The Pentagon, circled over Arlington, then returned, requesting permission to land due to engine trouble. The controller cleared the aircraft to join the left traffic pattern, but instead it flew south of the airport and entered a long straight-in approach at the same time Flight 537 was turning onto a shorter final. The controller then called Flight 537 ordering it to turn left; it began the turn, but by then the P-38, being considerably faster than a DC-4 on final, overtook the aircraft 1/2 mile southwest of the threshold of Runway 3.The DC-4 was cut in half by the left propeller of the P-38 just forward of the trailing edge of the wing. The aft portion of the DC-4 fell to the ground on the west bank of the Potomac River; other pieces were located in Alexandria, Virginia at the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Potomac Yard and on a highway passing near the Yard. The fore portion of the aircraft fell into the river, as did the P-38.
"Many hours following the collision of an Eastern Air Lines passenger transport and a Bolivian fighter plane, the search went on today under the glare of floodlights for the nine passengers whose bodies had not yet been recovered.
"Shocked Members of Congress, stunned by the loss of one of their own number (Dem. George J. Bates), promised a complete air safety investigation. The Civil Aeronautics Board said its hearings into the cause of the crash will start in a few days. The airline scheduled a probe of its own, as well. The disaster occurred as the big DC-4 transport headed into the National Airport for a landing shortly before noon, flying at about 300 feet.
"Into the traffic pattern, calling for landing instructions, came a P-38 fighter piloted by Bolivia's top airman, Erick Rios Bridoux. Bridoux was testing the twin-engine craft which his government had purchased from the United States. An airport tower operator a bare half-mile away saw the P-38 bear down on the transport. He cried a radio warning to the 28-year-old Bolivian, but the P-38 kept coming. Then the tower frantically signalled the transport. The DC-4 pilot swerved the big ship from its path, but too late. The fighter ripped into it from above and from the side. The airliner split in half. Bodies and wreckage fell into the water and along the bank of the Potomac."
Air Force Sergeant Morris J. Flounlacker hauled the weakly treading Bridoux out of the Potomac, just as the wounded pilot lost consciousness. At Alexandria Hospital, doctors found he had a broken back, crushed ribs and serious contusions.Bridoux contradicted much of the tower controllers' testimony when he spoke to Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) investigators. He claimed he had taken off from Runway 36, had been in constant contact with the tower, and had been explicitly cleared to land on Runway 3 under the call sign "Bolivian 927". However, the testimony of both the tower personnel and a military controller listening in on the frequency from his position at Bolling Air Force Base (as well as other discrepancies in the P-38 pilot's testimony) led the CAB to discount Bridoux's version of events. As Bridoux spoke and understood English well, it was thought that language difficulties played no part in the accident.
The CAB determined the primary probable causes of the accident to be the P-38 pilot's decision to land without proper clearance and his failure to exercise normal vigilance in looking out for conflicting traffic. The CAB also found that the tower controllers failed to exercise due vigilance in not notifying the pilots of Flight 537 earlier as to the critical traffic situation developing. However, the report also states that even if Flight 537 had received earlier advice with respect to the P-38's location, it might still have been too late to avoid the accident, as Bridoux's actions left Flight 537 only a few seconds in which to turn.Among the dead on Flight 537 were Congressman George J. Bates, New Yorker cartoonist Helen E. Hokinson, and former Congressman Michael J. Kennedy.Hurum air disaster
The Hurum air disaster was an Aero Holland plane crash in Hurum southwest of Oslo, Norway when a Douglas DC-3 which was carrying Jewish children from Tunisia who were to transit through Norway while immigrating to Israel crashed as it was approaching Fornebu Airport on 20 November 1949, killing 34 people, including 27 children.List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft
This article is a list of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft and is grouped by the years in which the accidents and incidents occurred.List of accidents and incidents involving the Lockheed Constellation
The Lockheed Constellation ("Connie") was a propeller-driven airliner powered by four 18-cylinder radial Wright R-3350 engines. It was built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958 at its Burbank, California, USA, facility. A total of 856 aircraft were produced in four models, all distinguished by a triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage. The Constellation was used as a civilian airliner and as a U.S. military air transport, seeing service in the Berlin Airlift. It was the presidential aircraft for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.Standard Air Lines Flight 897R
Standard Air Lines Flight 897R was a domestic passenger flight between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Burbank, California. At 7:43am on July 12, 1949, the flight, operated by a Curtiss C-46E (registered N79978), crashed in Chatsworth, California, upon approach to Burbank, killing 35 of the 48 passengers and crew on board.Superga air disaster
The Superga air disaster occurred on 4 May 1949, when a Fiat G.212 of Avio Linee Italiane (Italian Airlines), carrying the entire Torino football team (popularly known as the Grande Torino), crashed into the retaining wall at the back of the Basilica of Superga, which stands on a hill on the outskirts of Turin. Thirty-one people died; there were no survivors.