Event Details

Title:Smoke emergency, Pan American World Airways, Inc., Boeing 707-321C, N458PA, Boston, Massachusetts, November 3, 1973
Micro summary:This Boeing 707-321C experienced a smoke emergency, and landed short of the diversion.
Event Time:1973-11-03 at 0939 EST
File Name:1973-11-03-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-74-16
Site of event:Final, short of RWY 33L
Departure:John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 707-321C
Flight Phase:Landing
Operator(s):Pan American World Airways
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:At 0939 EST, November 3, 1973, Pan American World Airways, Inc., Clipper Flight 160, a Boeing 707-321C (N458PA) crashed at Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts. The aircraft was destroyed, and its three crewmembers were killed.

About 30 minutes after Clipper 160, a cargo flight, departed John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, the flightcrew reported smoke in the cockpit. The flight was diverted to Logan International Airport where it crashed just short of runway 33 during final approach.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the presence of smoke in the cockpit which was continuously generated and uncontrollable. The smoke led to an emergency situation that culminated in loss of control of the aircraft during final approach, when the crew in uncoordinated action deactivated the yaw damper in conjunction with incompatible positioning of flight spoilers and wing flaps.

The Safety Board further determines that the dense smoke in the cockpit seriously impaired the flight crew's vision and ability to function effectively during the emergency. Although the source of the smoke could not be established conclusively, the Safety Board believes that the spontaneous chemical reaction between leaking nitric acid, improperly packaged and stowed, and the improper sawdust packing surrounding the acid's package initiated the accident sequence.

A contributing factor was the general lack of compliance with existing regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials which resulted from the complexity of the regulations, the industrywide lack of familiarity with the regulations at the working level, the overlapping jurisdictions, and the inadequacy of government surveillance.

As a result of the accident, the Safety Board has made 16 recommendations to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). (See Appendix I.)
Learning Keywords:Operations - Cabin or Cockpit Smoke
Operations - Smoke Events of Particular interest
Operations - Cargo - Hazmat
Operations - Runway Underrun
Operations - Uncontrolled Flight into Terrain
Other - Regulatory Oversight
Consequence - Hull Loss
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