Criminal Occurrence description
Last updated: 22 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 7 May 1964
Time:06:49
Type:Silhouette image of generic F27 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fairchild F-27A
Operator:Pacific Air Lines
Registration: N2770R
C/n / msn: 36
First flight: 1959
Total airframe hrs:10252
Engines: 2 Rolls-Royce Dart 528-7
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 41 / Occupants: 41
Total:Fatalities: 44 / Occupants: 44
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:ca 5 km W of San Ramon, CA (   United States of America) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Stockton Airport, CA (SCK/KSCK), United States of America
Destination airport:San Francisco International Airport, CA (SFO/KSFO), United States of America
Flightnumber: 773
Narrative:
A Pacific Air Lines Fairchild F-27, N2770R, arrived at Reno, NV, at 19:40 as Flight 756 from San Francisco International Airport. The next day the airplane departed at 05:54 as Flight 773 to Stockton. Arrival at Stockton Airport, CA (SCK) was at 06:28. Two passengers deplaned and ten passengers boarded. Pacific Flight 773 was cleared by the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) to the San Francisco Airport, to climb in VFR conditions to 6,000 feet, and maintain 6,000 feet. The clearance was acknowledged correctly by the crew and departure was at 06:38. During its climb, the flight reported leaving 2,000 feet and was instructed by Stockton tower to contact Oakland ARTCC. contacting Oakland Center, the flight was instructed to maintain 5,000 feet.
Oakland ARTCC established radar contact six miles from Stockton and at 06:43 the flight reported reaching its assigned altitude of 5,000 feet. At 06:45:10, the Oakland ARTCC controller instructed Flight 773 to turn left to a heading of 235 degrees for a vector to the San Francisco final approach course. At 06:47:53, the flight contacted Oakland Approach Control. Shortly after that a high-pitched message was heard. The content of this message was not clear. The most probable message was determined to be: "Skippers shot. We're been shot. (I was) Try 'in ta help." No other transmissions were heard from Flight 773. The F-27 descended and struck the upslope of an 800 foot hill.
A search of the wreckage area disclosed the presence of a .357 Smith and Wesson Model 27 Magnum revolver containing six empty cartridges which had been fired by the weapon. The gun with ammunition and a cleaning kit had been purchased by a passenger, Mr Gonzales on May 6, 1964. He had advised both friends and relatives that he would die on either the 6th or the 7th of May. He boarded Flight 756 on the 6th with a return reservation for Flight 773 on the following morning. Shortly before boarding the flight to Reno, Gonzales displayed the gun to numerous friends at the airport and told one person he intended to shoot himself. He also purchased two insurance policies in the total amount of $105,000. Investigation revealed that he was disturbed and depressed over marital and financial difficulties. On the return flight to San Francisco he gained access to the flight deck and shot both pilots.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The shooting of the captain and first officer by a passenger during flight."

Classification:

Loss of control

Sources:
» ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.16 - Volume III, Circular 82-AN/69 (9-13)


Follow-up / safety actions
Prior to the accident, the FAA adopted certain amendments to Parts 40, 41, and 42, of the Civil Air Regulations. These amendments, which became effective August 6, 1964, required that the door separating the passenger cabin from the crew compartment on all scheduled air carrier and commercial aircraft must be kept locked during flight. An exception to the rule will be during landing or takeoff on certain aircraft such as the Fairchild F-27 where the door leads to an emergency passenger exit.

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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 Stockton Airport, CA to San Francisco International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 104 km (65 miles).

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Fairchild F-27

  • 7th loss
  • 129 built
  • worst accident (at the time)
  • 2nd worst accident (currently)
safety profile

 United States of America
  • 30th worst accident (at the time)
  • 70th worst accident (currently)
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