Accident description
Last updated: 18 December 2014
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 16 June 1955
Time:ca 01:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-149 Constellation
Operator:Panair do Brasil
Registration: PP-PDJ
C/n / msn: 2032
First flight: 1946
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 10
Passengers:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 14
Total:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 24
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:12,9 km (8.1 mls) SW of Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (ASU) (   Paraguay) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, SP (CGH/SBSP), Brazil
Destination airport:Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (ASU/SGAS), Paraguay
Narrative:
Lockheed Constellation PP-PDJ was carrying out a scheduled Panair flight from London to Buenos Aires with stops at Paris, Lisbon, Dakar, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Asuncion. The aircraft was on the São Paulo - Asuncion leg of this flight when the crew contacted Asuncion at 01:05. They were cleared to land on runway 02 and were told to report when on finals. Last contact was at 01:15. The aircraft was descending through clouds until the left wing hit a 12 metre tree. Part of the wing broke off and the plane continued knocking down coconut trees. Some 500 metres from the initial point of impact, the aircraft came into violent contact with a tree at ground level, uprooting it, so that the fuselage fell over in a position facing about 30° to the left of the path of flight. At this point the fuselage caught fire.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "1) The accident was due to a piloting error in making the approach circuit on instruments. An error in timing resulted in the final approach being initiated at too great a distance from the airport. Proof of this was provided by the fact that the landing gear was found extended, the flaps down, the mixture control set at 'rich', all of which indicated that the aircraft was in the ready to land condition. 2) The accident was caused by personnel failure: pilot error. The pilot did not follow the recommended procedure for instrument final approach and he descended below the height prescribed in the final approach chart. Concurring factors were: 1) flight fatigue, due to excess flight time. The pilot flew in the preceding months an average of 113 hours. 2) The crew did not follow the normal cockpit procedure. The co-pilot did not set his altimeter to the received altimeter settings. 3) Bad layout of the face of the chronometer of the instrument panel, which did make the readings more difficult."

Classification:
Insufficient rest / fatigue
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

Sources:
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 50-AN/45 (119-121)


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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 São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, SP to Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport as the crow flies is 1110 km (694 miles).

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Lockheed L-049

  • 18th loss
  • 88 built
  • 6th worst accident (at the time)
  • 11th worst accident (currently)
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 Paraguay
  • worst accident (at the time)
  • 2nd worst accident (currently)
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