Event Details

Title:Controlled Flight into Terrain, Trans World Airlines, Inc., Boeing 727-231, N54328, Berryville, Virginia, December 1, 1974
Micro summary:This Boeing 727-231 was destroyed when it collided with terrain during a non-precision approach.
Event Time:1974-12-01 at 1110 EST
File Name:1974-12-01-2-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-75-16
Site of event:Approach; 25 nm northwest of Dulles
Latitude/Longitude:N3904.6' W7752.9'
Departure:Indianapolis International Airport, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Destination:Washington Dulles International Airport, Washington DC, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 727-231
Flight Phase:Approach
Operator(s):Trans World Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:At 1110 EST , December 1, 1974, Trans World Airlines, Inc., Flight 514, a Boeing 727-231, N54328, crashed 25 nautical miles northwest of Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C. The accident occurred while the flight was descending for a VOR/DME approach to runway 12 at Dulles during instrument meteorological conditions. The 92 occupants -- 85 passengers and 7 crewmembers -- were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the crew's decision to descend to 1,800 feet before the aircraft had reached the approach segment where that minimum altitude applied. The crew's decision to descend was a result of inadequacies and lack of clarity in the air traffic control procedures which led to a misunderstanding on the part of the pilots and of the controllers regarding each other's responsibilities during operations in terminal areas under instrument meteorological conditions. Nevertheless, the examination of the plan view of the approach chart should have disclosed to the captain that a minimum altitude of 1,800 feet was not a safe altitude.

Contributing factors were:

(1) The failure of the FAA to take timely action to resolve the confusion and misinterpretation of air traffic terminology although the Agency had been aware of the problem for several years;

(2) The issuance of the approach clearance when the flight was 44 miles from the airport on an unpublished route without clearly defined minimum altitudes: and

(3) Inadequate depiction of altitude restrictions on the profile view of the approach chart for the VOR/DME approach to runway 12 at Dulles International Airport.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Airspace - Air Traffic Control
Operations - Airspace - Non-Precision Approach
Operations - Charting/Databases
Operations - Controlled Flight Into Terrain
Consequence - Hull Loss


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