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Accident description
Last updated: 30 July 2016
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 31 January 1957
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-7B
Operator:Douglas Aircraft Company
Registration: N8210H
C/n / msn: 45192/764
First flight: 1957-01-31 ()
Total airframe hrs:1
Engines: 4 Wright R-3350 (972TC18DA4)
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)
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO/KSMO), United States of America
Destination airport:Santa Monica Airport, CA (SMO/KSMO), United States of America
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.
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."

Classification:
Mid air collision
Loss of control

Sources:
» 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)


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