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Accident description
Last updated: 19 August 2017
Status:
Date:Friday 9 August 1968
Time:13:04
Type:Silhouette image of generic VISC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Vickers 739A Viscount
Operator:British Eagle International Airlines
Registration: G-ATFN
C/n / msn: 394
First flight: 1958
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 44 / Occupants: 44
Total:Fatalities: 48 / Occupants: 48
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Langenbruck (   Germany)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Innsbruck-Kranebitten Airport (INN/LOWI), Austria
Flightnumber: 802
Narrative:
The Vickers Viscount aircraft was operating a scheduled passenger flight from London, U.K. to Innsbruck, Austria. The flight proceeded at FL210 towards the destination. Over the Allersberg VOR, the aircraft was positively identified by radar control. At 13:02 hours, while over the 'Mike' NDB, the radar return from G-ATFN was seen to coincide with that of another aircraft some 13,000 ft below. At this time the Munich Controller called G-ATFN , advised the aircraft of its position and cleared it down to FL120. There was no reply to this or any subsequent call by Munich. Only one radar return was observed to leave 'Mike' and this merged into Munich radar's permanent echoes at about 13:04 hours. Subsequently it was established that G-ATFN had crashed on the autobahn approximately four nautical miles north of 'Mike'. The aircraft had hit the ground in a slightly nose-down attitude with the wings almost level and had broken up on impact.
A fierce local fire had broken out in the remains of the centre section. Almost due west of the accident site, the outer section of both wings, which had become symmetrically and simulteneously detached, were found.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident is attributable to the fact that the aircraft's electrical power supply failed in cruising flight - possibly without the generator warning lights illuminating or illuminating distinctly - which meant that during the subsequent descent, which had to be carried out by instruments because of the weather, the vital instruments for indicating the flight attitude showed increasingly incorrect readings and failed completely after the gyros had stopped rotating.
Under these conditions it was unavoidable for the aircraft to get into uncontrolled flight attitudes, in which it was subjected to severe loading. These loads exceeded the ultimate load and led to structural failure.
Following the fracture of the wings and elevator and when the crew came into visual contact with the ground, it was no longer possible to exert any decisive control over the flight path.
It has not been possible to determine with certainty the cause of failure of the electrical system. It may be assumed, however, that a fault occurred in the DC generator control circuit. Faults had occurred repeatedly in the electrical supply system without their true cause being discovered."

Classification:

Wing failure
Loss of control

Photos

photo of Vickers 739A Viscount G-ATFN
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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 London-Heathrow Airport to Innsbruck-Kranebitten Airport as the crow flies is 966 km (604 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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Vickers Viscount

  • 445 built
  • 72nd loss
  • 38th fatal accident
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 11th worst accident (currently)
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 Germany
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
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