Accident description
Last updated: 20 December 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 31 August 1948
Time:12:06 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47A-10-DK (DC-3)
Operator:Sabena
Registration: OO-CBL
C/n / msn: 12420
First flight: 1944
Total airframe hrs:3040
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3-G
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Total:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Kimbwe (   Congo (Democratic Republic)) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Manono Airport (MNO/FZRA), Congo (Democratic Republic)
Destination airport:Elizabethville Airport (FBM), Congo (Democratic Republic)
Narrative:
The C-47 passenger plane impacted terrain and broke up near Kimbwe. The airplane was en route to Elizabethville (now Lubumbashi).

CONCLUSIONS (translated from French):
From the examination of the debris the orientation and trajectory of the various components of the aircraft before impact can be established more or less likely
, but it has not been possible to determine the actual cause us to the events due to the almost complete destruction of the airplane.
We are therefore reduced to make assumptions.
Some can be removed with a near certainty:
a.- fire in flight
b.- in flight loss of an essential element of the for the stability of the aircraft like wing, stabilizer, etc.
c.- airframe vibration which might have come from a faulty weight balance.

All control surfaces were identified on site with their weight balance. None carries traces of damage. Note that, in Service Bulletin No. 207 Section I, DOUGLAS states:
"It is emphasized that the DOUGLAS COMPANY has experienced no trouble in the past with the Control surfaces nor have any been reported either to us or to the Civil Aeronautics Administration."
Certain assumptions can not be ruled out:
a.- Pilot incapacitation (natural or accidental: bird through the windshield, explosion of a cylinder, etc., etc.)
b.- Dry tornado.
The weather at the alleged time of the accident was:
- Haze
- Calm air, little cloudy
- Average visibility.
According to the crews who flew over the site of the accident during search the region was know for violent updrafts.
The Territorial Administration Kipushi (30 Km. SW Elisabethville) confirmed that the day of the accident at 15.00 local time a dry tornado removed the roof of a house.
c.- failure autopilot suddenly putting the aircraft into a dangerous position before the pilot could disconnect it.
Several DC.3 airplane accidents in the USA have been attributed to autopilots.
At the airline T.W.A. the Sperry A-3 autopilot was removed from the DC.3 aircraft. Several other companies have done the same.
From this point of view, these are the most characteristic failures:
a. Seizing of the "Air Relay".
b. Seizure of the "Balancing Oil Valve"
c. Operating stop of the "following-up cable":
- Cable detached
- Pulley stuck
- Rupture of the cable return spring.
d.- Failure or wedging of an essential control element or permanent deformation of the airfrane after a local failure
This is an assumption that we can not report, although nothing positive can confirm it.

Sources:
» Rapport relative à l'accident survenu à l'avion C-47A, avec immatriculation OO-CBL à KIMBWE le 31 AOÛT 1948.


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Manono Airport to Elizabethville Airport as the crow flies is 477 km (298 miles).

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