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Accident description
Last updated: 23 August 2017
Status:Final
Date:Monday 16 August 1965
Time:21:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic B721 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 727-22
Operator:United Airlines
Registration: N7036U
C/n / msn: 18328/146
First flight: 1965-05-18 (3 months)
Total airframe hrs:611
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 24 / Occupants: 24
Total:Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 30
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Lake Michigan, MI (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America
Destination airport:Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD/KORD), United States of America
Flightnumber:UA389
Narrative:
The Boeing, just 3 months old, departed New York-LaGuardia at 19:52 for a flight to Chicago-O'Hare. The aircraft climbed to cruising altitude FL350, which was reached at 20:11. At 21:03 the flight was cleared to FL240 and further down to FL140 three minutes later. At 21:11 the crew were cleared to descend to 6000 feet. Last radio communications with the flight were at 21:19 when the crew were told to maintain 6000 feet and that ILS approaches were in progress on runway 14R. Shortly after this the aircraft crashed into Lake Michigan in 250 feet of water, 30 miles ENE of O'Hare Airport.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board is not able to determine the reason for the aircraft not being leveled off at its assigned altitude of 6000ft."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 4 months
Accident number: NTSB File No.1-0030
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 88/74 Volume III (9-22)


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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 Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL as the crow flies is 1169 km (731 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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Boeing 727

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