ASN Aircraft accident Convair CV-340-68B HZ-ABA Deir-ez-Zor
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 27 July 1956
Time:20:10 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic CVLP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Convair CV-340-68B
Operator:Saudi Arabian Airlines
Registration: HZ-ABA
MSN: 222
First flight: 1955
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:8 km (5 mls) NNE of Deir-ez-Zor (   Syria)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Jeddah International Airport (JED/OEJD), Saudi Arabia
Destination airport:Damascus-Mezzeh Airport, Syria
The flight departed Jeddah for Damascus, Syria at 14:30 hours GMT. The pilot set a course of 346° magnetic at an altitude of 16500 feet. When abeam Medina the course was altered to a heading of
343° magnetic to correct for an estimated right drift of 6°. The pilot later tuned both the automatic direction finders to the Amman non-directional beacon and carried out a track and distance check while passing abeam. This indicated that the aircraft was either on track with a very strong headwind or was farther east of the track than it should be; the pilot accepted the former alternative. Amman was not visible at this time and there was no forward visibility. After passing abeam Amman both ADF's were tuned on an NDB which was assumed to be Damascus which gave a fairly steady QDM of 015° magnetic. Course was then altered from 343° to 015° to home on this station. After unsuccessful attempts to contact Damascus on VHF the pilot succeeded (at 18:20 GMT) in making contact with Damascus on HF. He reported the aircraft's position as 5 minutes south of Damascus at 12000 feet and stated that his VHF was out of order. The aircraft was cleared to descend first to 11500, then at 18:36 to 8500 feet, At 18:43 the FIC gave the flight the following information - landing runway 20. QNH 1005.8 mbs. , 29.71 inches, report downwind. When the FIC asked (18:50 GMT) whether the pilot could see the aerodrome, the pilot replied "...cannot see the aerodrome now but my approximate ETA Damascus in 10 minutes." The pilot was further convinced that he had a strong headwind. This was confirmed in his mind by the delayed arrival over the beacon and also based on his track and distance check when passing abeam Amman. The pilot flew 50 minutes beyond his ETA on the course of 015° magnetic and still homing on the same station which he thought was the Damascus NDB. At this time he said that he suspected that this radio bearing might be in error. He tried to tune his ADF's to Beirut NDB and Baghdad NDB but was only able to identify Beirut without obtaining a bearing.
Many calls were made on the VHF but no replies were received. An emergency was then declared. When the pilot realized that he was lost and was planning an emergency landing, he sighted a river (the Euphrates) and decided to follow it eastbound. After 15 minutes flight a large town was sighted and the pilot decided to land there. An emergency wheels-up landing was carried out approximately 5 miles north-northeast of Deir-ez-Zor at 20:10 GMT.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: The probable cause of the accident was inadequate navigational procedure on the part of the pilot.


Forced landing outside airport

» ICAO Circular 54-AN149
» Accident photo


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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 Jeddah International Airport to Damascus-Mezzeh Airport as the crow flies is 1355 km (847 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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