Accident description
Last updated: 30 July 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 12 May 1959
Time:16:13
Type:Silhouette image of generic VISC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Vickers 745D Viscount
Operator:Capital Airlines
Registration: N7463
C/n / msn: 287
First flight: 1957
Total airframe hrs:4180
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Dart 510
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 27 / Occupants: 27
Total:Fatalities: 31 / Occupants: 31
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Chase, MD (   United States of America) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America
Destination airport:Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, GA (ATL/KATL), United States of America
Flightnumber: 75
Narrative:
Capital Airlines Flight 75 taxied away from the terminal at 15:20, 20 minutes late. The Vickers Viscount took off from runway 22 at 15:29 and climbed to 14,000 feet, and onto the assigned airway Victor 3. At 16:02 Flight 75 contacted the Washington Center, reporting over Westchester and estimating Westminster at 16:17, with Herndon next. In the same message it advised, "... ah, we've got a pretty good string of thunderstorms along that course ... ah, if we could stay in the clear and stay a little bit south of Westminster, is that O.K. with you?" The center controller replied "Capital 75, that'll be all right and report passing Westminster." The flight acknowledged. At 16:10 the flight advised, "Ah, Washington Center, this is Capital 75, we've reduced to one seven zero knots account rough air." This was the last message from the flight. Just three minutes later the aircraft lost control in an area of severe turbulence and entered a steep descent. The aircraft probably reached an airspeed of 335 knots, which is 15 percent in excess of the Viscount never-exceed speed or about 5 percent in excess of VD, the maximum speed demonstrated in certification. At an altitude of approx. 5000 feet both horizontal stabilizers simultaneously failed downward separated. Following separation of the right and left stabilizers the aircraft pitched down violently so that all, four engine nacelles broke upward from combined inertia and gyroscopic loads. Immediately thereafter both wings were subjected to extreme downloads under which the right separated and the structural integrity of the left wing was destroyed. With the nacelles, right wing, and stabilizers gone, drag induced by the left wing yawed the fuselage violently to the left. Forces to the left tore off the vertical fin with portions of the fuselage attached, the latter already weakened when the left stabilizer stub tore away. During the subsequent gyrations the left wing broke up, its fuel cells were opened and the flash fire occurred. At the saw time the remaining fuselage disintegrated.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was a loss of control of the aircraft in extreme turbulence resulting in an involuntary steep descent following which aerodynamic loads from high airspeed, recovery, and turbulence exceeded the design strength of the aircraft."

Classification:
Turbulence

Wing failure
Loss of control

Sources:
» Civil Aeronautics Board File No 1-005
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (120-123)


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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 New York-La Guardia Airport, NY to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, GA as the crow flies is 1216 km (760 miles).

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Vickers Viscount

  • 22nd loss
  • 445 built
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 24th worst accident (currently)
safety profile

 United States of America
  • 35th worst accident (at the time)
  • 109th worst accident (currently)
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