Accident description
Last updated: 29 August 2014
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: Damaged beyond repair
Location:near Langenbruck (   Germany) show on map
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
Narrative:
The flight had departed London at 11:37 for Innsbruck and had just passed the Mike NDB near Munich at FL210 when it lost control. The Viscount crashed onto the Nürnberg-München highway in a slightly nose-down attitude and broke up on impact.

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." (HMSO CAP 354)

Classification:

Wing failure
Loss of control

Sources:


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).

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

  • 72nd loss
  • 445 built
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 12th worst accident (currently)
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 Germany
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
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