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Last updated: 26 March 2019
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 31 December 1968
Time:11:34
Type:Silhouette image of generic VISC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Vickers 720C Viscount
Operating for:MacRobertson Miller Airlines
Leased from:Ansett-ANA
Registration: VH-RMQ
C/n / msn: 45
First flight: 1954-10-20 (14 years 3 months)
Total airframe hrs:31746
Cycles:25336
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Dart 505
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 22 / Occupants: 22
Total:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 26
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:45 km (28.1 mls) S of Port Hedland, WA (   Australia)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Perth Airport, WA (PER/YPPH), Australia
Destination airport:Port Hedland Airport, WA (PHE/YPPD), Australia
Flightnumber:1750
Narrative:
MacRobertson Miller Airlines flight 1750 departed Perth, Australia at 08:36 hours local time on a domestic flight to Port Hedland. The flight climbed to Flight Level 190, encountering light to moderate turbulence. The en route part of the flight was uneventful. At 11:20 hours the flight advised that it would be commencing its descent from FL190 in three minutes. At 11:34 hours the flight reported that it was then 30 miles by Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) south of Port Hedland and had left 7,000 feet on descent. This was the last message received from the aircraft. The aircraft was seen to descend rapidly and steeply a little later. The wreckage was found at 28 miles from Port Hedland.
Investigation showed that at 11:34:12 hours the starboard wing of the aircraft, outboard of Station 143 and including the No. 4 engine installation, separated from the aircraft in flight. Immediately following this failure some components of the starboard wing struck the starboard tailplane and elevator causing the outboard portions of these two components to fail and the tail section and rear fuselage to separate from the aircraft. At the same time fuel released into the air from the ruptured fuel tanks burned momentarily and affected, superficially, some external surfaces of the aircraft.
The gyrations of the aircraft subsequent to the wing failure were violent enough to cause the other three engine installations to separate inflight. The remainder of the aircraft, comprising the cabin, cockpit, port wing and the inboard portion of the starboard wing, struck the ground at 11:34:38 hours.
Investigation further revealed that the starboard inner wing had failed in upward bending at Station 143, where the strength of the lower boom of the main spar had been substantially reduced by fatigue cracking extending over some 85% of its cross-sectional area. It is probable that, at the time of the failure, flight loads close to 1g steady flight loads were being applied to the wing.

Probable Cause:

CAUSE: "The cause of the accident was that the fatigue endurance of the starboard inner main spar lower boom was substantially reduced by the insertion of a flared bush at station 143 when the margin of safety associated with the retirement life specified for such booms did not ensure that this boom would achieve its retirement life in the presence of such a defect."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: ASIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 244 days (8 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Wing failure
Loss of control

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 107-AN/81 (71-95)


Follow-up / safety actions
Immediately after the accident the Australian Department of Civil Aviation temporarily grounded all Australian-registered Viscount Type 700 aircraft. The temporary grounding of Australian-registered Viscounts was eventually made permanent, pending investigations into the cause of the accident

Photos

photo of Vickers 720C Viscount VH-RMQ
photo of Vickers 720C Viscount VH-RMQ
photo of Vickers 720C Viscount VH-RMQ
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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 Perth Airport, WA to Port Hedland Airport, WA as the crow flies is 1309 km (818 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
  • 75th loss
  • 40th fatal accident
  • 15th worst accident (at the time)
  • 28th worst accident (currently)
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 Australia
  • 5th worst accident
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