Narrative:Douglas DC-7B N8210 took off from Santa Monica at 10:15 for a local functional test flight. At 10:50 a US Air Force Northrop F-89D-40-NO Scorpion (52-1870) took off from Palmdale, also on a functional test flight following overhaul. Purpose of the flight was to check the radar fire control systems of both all-weather interceptors. Both aircraft were performing their tests at an altitude of 25000 feet, over a published local flying zone (bounded by San Diego, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield and El Centro). An almost head-on mid-air collision occurred and part of the DC-7's left wing was sheared off. The F-89 crashed in flames in the mountains; one of the two crew ejected safely. The DC-7 crashed onto a schoolyard.
|Date:||Thursday 31 January 1957|
|Operator:||Douglas Aircraft Company|
|C/n / msn:|| 45192/764|
|First flight:|| 1957-01-31 ()|
|Total airframe hrs:||1|
|Engines:|| 4 Wright 972-TC18-DA-4|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0|
|Total:||Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4 |
|Ground casualties:||Fatalities: 3|
|Collision casualties:||Fatalities: 1|
|Airplane damage:|| Destroyed|
|Airplane fate:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||6,5 km (4.1 mls) NW of Sunland, Los Angeles, CA (United States of America)
|Phase:|| En route (ENR)|
|Departure airport:||Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO), United States of America|
|Destination airport:||Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO), United States of America|
At the time of the collision the DC-7 was flying at FL250 and at about 330 knots true airspeed to check carburetor operation at maximum cruise power. The F-89 was turning left from a 135deg heading to 45deg heading using a 30deg bank for a simulated intercept.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The high rate of near head-on closure at high altitude, which together with physiological limitations, resulted in a minimum avoidance opportunity during which the pilots didn't see each other's aircraft."
» ICAO Aircraft Accident No.9 (Circular 56-AN/51), p. 38-44
» Pacoima Jr. High School Airplane Crash of 1957 (audio recording as it happened)
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 Santa Monica Airport, CA to Santa Monica Airport, CA as the crow flies is 0 km (0 miles).