Event Details

Title:In-flight upset, China Airlines, Boeing 747 SP, N4522V, 300 Nautical Miles Northwest Of San Francisco, California, February 19, 1985
Micro summary:This Boeing 747 suffered an in-flight upset in which it rolled over and lost 31,000 feet of altitude.
Event Time:1985-02-19 at 1016 PST
File Name:1985-02-19-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-86-03
Diversion Airport:San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, USA
Site of event:300 nmi NW of SFO
Departure:Taipei Chiang Kai Shek International Airport, Taiwan
Destination:Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 747-SP
Flight Phase:Cruise
Operator(s):China Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:2
Other Injuries:0
Diverted to:San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, USA
Executive Summary:About 1016 Pacific standard time, February 19, 1985, China Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747 SP-09, enroute to Los Angeles, California from Taipei, Taiwan, suffered an inflight upset. The flight from Taipei to about 300 nmi northwest of San Francisco was uneventful and the airplane was flying at about 41,000 feet mean sea level when the No. 4 engine lost power. During the attempt to recover and restore normal power on the No. 4 engine, the airplane rolled to the right, nosed over, and entered an uncontrollable descent. The captain was unable to restore the airplane to stable flight until it had descended to 9,500 feet. After the captain stabilized the airplane, he elected to divert to San Francisco International Airport, where a safe landing was made. Although the airplane suffered major structural damage during the upset, descent, and subsequent recovery, only two persons among the 274 passengers and crew on board were injured seriously.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the captain's preoccupation with an inflight malfunction and his failure to monitor properly the airplane's flight instruments which resulted in his losing control of the airplane.

Contributing to the accident was the captain's over-reliance on the autopilot after the loss of thrust on the No. 4 engine.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Upset - Uncommanded or excessive Pitch
Operations - Upset - Uncommanded or excessive Roll
Operations - Upset - Uncommanded or excessive Yaw
Operations - Upset in-flight (extreme attitudes, stall, spin)
Systems - Automation Design
Systems - Autopilot/Autothrottle


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