Narrative:BEA's scheduled flight from Le Bourget to Northolt departed at 18:39. At 19:25 the pilot contacted Uxbridge ATC and reported at 4,500 feet. ATC instructed the flight to maintain 4,500 feet and reported the meteorological observations for Northolt at 19:14: visibility 50 yards, surface wind calm, sky obscured with fog. The pilot then decided to divert to London Airport. At 19:28 hours ATC informed the aircraft that visibility at London Airport at 19:20 hours was 40 yards and at Blackbushe at 19:25 hours 1000 yards. The captain decided he would continue to London Airport and try to land there, with Blackbushe as alternate. The airplane descended to 4,000 feet and at 19:42 London Approach Control told the pilot he was cleared for the field and to maintain 4,000 feet. The captain thereafter told London Control that he wanted to carry out a Ground Controlled Approach (GCA). The controller cleared the flight to descend to 1,500 feet and told the flight that it would be a straight-in approach to runway 28. At 19:49 the aircraft was transferred to the talk down controller. Two minutes later, with 6 miles to go, the pilot was told he was on the glide path, that his heading was good, that the visibility was now 30 yards. At 19:53 with 1-1/2 mile to go, he was again reminded that the "break-off point" was at 140 feet. At 400 yards short of the runway the decision altitude was reached. At 19:54 the pilot said that he was overshooting. A few seconds later with undercarriage retracted, the aircraft struck the runway, skidded 140 feet damaging its propellers, became airborne again and came down about 3,000 feet further on. The aircraft's starboard wing was torn off as the aircraft skidded across the runway and across a disused runway, coming to rest alongside a pile of drain pipes where it burst into flames.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "Although it cannot be established with certainty, the probable explanation of the known facts may be that the captain deliberately came down below break-off point and then at 100ft or less came into fog which abruptly reduced the visibility of the runway lights and that then and not till then he started overshoot procedure with fatal results."
» ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.2, Circular 24-AN/21 (35-40)
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 Paris-Le Bourget Airport to London-Northolt Airport as the crow flies is 349 km (218 miles).