ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4B G-ARJM Ankara-Esenboga Airport (ESB)
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Date:Thursday 21 December 1961
Type:Silhouette image of generic COMT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4B
Operator:British European Airways - BEA
Registration: G-ARJM
MSN: 6456
First flight: 1961-06-08 (7 months)
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 27
Total:Fatalities: 27 / Occupants: 34
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Ankara-Esenboga Airport (ESB) (   Turkey)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Ankara-Esenboga Airport (ESB/LTAC), Turkey
Destination airport:Nicosia Airport (NIC/LCNC), Cyprus
Flightnumber: 226
The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from London to Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Ankara, Nicosia and Tel Aviv. From Istanbul the flight was operated by British European Airways on behalf of Cyprus Airways. The operating crew, employed by BEA, consisted of a captain and two first officers. Also aboard were four cabin staff employed by Cyprus Airways and 27 passengers. The trip to Ankara was normal. The time between landing and starting engines at Ankara was 46 minutes during which light snow was falling. (At takeoff the aircraft had a light covering of snow on the upper surface of its wings, however, this deposit had no bearing on the accident). The radio-telephony tape recording showed that the aircraft taxied out along the short taxiway, then back-tracked up the runway to its takeoff position on runway 21 at the intersection with the longer taxiway. The runway length available from this position was 9027 feet. Takeoff weight was 53465 kg, i.e. 18185 kg below maximum permissible weight or 1085 kg below the regulated takeoff weight. The takeoff run as to distance and time was quite normal, as also were rotation and unstick. The first abnormality occurred a second or two after unstick when the aircraft rapidly assumed an excessively steep climbing angle. One witness put the angle achieved as about twice the normal, another as 45 to 50 degrees. There was also evidence from witnesses of a wing drop and of variations in the engine noise during this climb. The aircraft stalled with the left wing down at a height of about 450 feet then sank to the ground in a relatively flat attitude. The accident site was 1600 m and on a bearing of 214degT from Esenboga Tower.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The probable cause of the accident was the obstruction of the pitch pointer in the captain's director horizon which led him to make an excessively steep climb immediately following unstick."

ADI issues
Loss of control

» Air crash : the clue is in the wreckage / Fred Jones
» Flight International 10 July 1969 (p.40)
» Milliyet 22-12-1961


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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 Ankara-Esenboga Airport to Nicosia Airport as the crow flies is 550 km (344 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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DH-106 Comet

  • 112 built
  • 12th loss
  • 7th fatal accident
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 7th worst accident (currently)
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  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 14th worst accident (currently)
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