Narrative:The flight was cleared for take-off from runway 15R at London-Heathrow, for a departure on a flight to Athens-Hellinikon (LGAT) via Nice-Le Var (LFMN). However, in poor visibility (400 yards) the pilot selected runway 3, which was a disused runway. The runway did not have markings to show it was disused.
On its attempted take-off, the Viscount struck a barrier of steel girders which tore off the two port engines and part of the landing gear. Some of the aircraft's fuel tanks were punctured, but the aircraft did not catch fire. Of the 30 souls on board, the captain and one passenger received minor injuries.
A subsequent inquiry blamed the aircraft's commander and First Officer of not checking whether they had selected the right runway. Both pilots were temporally suspended and stripped of their seniority, but subsequently allowed to resume flights with the company. The inquest also resulted in recommendations on the runway/taxiway markings and ground controlling at London Airport.
Note: "Runway 3" was a designation for one of the original pattern runways of Heathrow Airport. It had a 15/33 alignment, and crossed the airport at the spot where the present-day Terminal 3 is. The runway was closed in 1949 - six years prior to the accident - to allow for the construction of the airport's Central Terminal. Under the same designation system, runway 15L/33R, the runway in use, was called "Runway 6".
» Viscount C/N 24
» Flight International 21 Jan. 1955
» Flight International 23 Sep. 1955
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 London-Heathrow Airport to Nice-le Var Airport as the crow flies is 1034 km (646 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.