Accident description
Last updated: 29 August 2014
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 5 January 1969
Time:01:34 UTC
Type:Boeing 727-113C
Operator:Ariana Afghan Airlines
Registration: YA-FAR
C/n / msn: 19690/540
First flight: 1968-02-22 (11 months)
Total airframe hrs:1715
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 43 / Occupants: 54
Total:Fatalities: 48 / Occupants: 62
Ground casualties:Fatalities: 2
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:2,5 km (1.6 mls) E of London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) (   United Kingdom) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Frankfurt International Airport (FRA/EDDF), Germany
Destination airport:London-Gatwick Airport (LGW/EGKK), United Kingdom
Flightnumber: 701
Narrative:
Ariana Afghan Airlines Flight 701 departed Kabul on a flight to London-Gatwick. Intermediate stops were made at Kandahar, Beirut, Istanbul and Frankfurt. Prior to leaving Frankfurt the crew obtained the weather information of the London area. The RVR at Gatwick was 100 metres in freezing fog and no improvement was expected before 06:00 UTC the following morning. The visibility at Stansted was 2 km. The aircraft left Frankfurt at 00:36 UTC. After contacting London Airways at 01:13 the crew learned that runway 27 was in use at Gatwick and that the RVR was still 100 metres. The aircraft called Gatwick Approach at 01:27, reporting at FL50. The crew confirmed that they wanted to make an approach and were then cleared to 2,000 feet. The flight was vectored to capture the ILS. At 01:29 hrs the captain told ATC that in the event of a go-around he would proceed to the Mayfield NDB and then to London-Heathrow. Two minutes later, about 8 miles from touchdown the captain informed ATC that the aircraft was established on the ILS localiser. After the undercarriage was lowered the captain asked the flight engineer to warn him if the "stabilizer out of trim" warning light illuminated as it had done before while on approach to Frankfurt. After intercepting the glideslope the descent from 2,000 feet was started. At that point the "stabilizer out of trim" warning light illuminated. The engineer warned the captain who then saw that the autopilot was trimming the aircraft nose-down. Thinking this was wrong he disconnected the autopilot and re-trimmed the aircraft slightly nose-up. The aircraft crossed the ILS outer marker on the glide slope at 01:33 and the captain called for 30░ flap, which the co-pilot set. As the flaps extended the rate of descent increased and the aircraft began to go below the glide-slope. The pilots remained unaware of the deviation from the glide-slope for some time. After the copilot called at 400 feet, the captain tried to trim the aircraft nose-up. There seemed to be no response. Both pilots then pulled back on the control column and at the same time the commander applied full power. The aircraft continued to descend and seconds later, as the nose began to rise in response to the application of elevator and power, it brushed through tree tops, knocked a chimney pot off a house, and then collided with tree trunks. This impact removed part of the starboard wing and the aircraft began to roll to the right. The aircraft broke clear of the trees and the starboard main wheels touched the ground in a field. The aircraft became airborne again, still rolling to the right, in a nose high attitude. Then the aft end of the fuselage collided with a house, which it demolished, and the aircraft disintegrated.

CAUSE: "The accident was the result of the commander inadvertently allowing the aircraft to descend below the glide slope during the final stage of an approach to land until it was too low for recovery to be effected."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

Sources:
» Accident Report No. EW/C/303


Photos

Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

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 Frankfurt International Airport to London-Gatwick Airport as the crow flies is 624 km (390 miles).

languages: English Franšais Nederlands Deutsch Espanol

Share
Share

Boeing 727

  • 9th loss
  • 1832 built
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 33rd worst accident (currently)
safety profile

 United Kingdom
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
»safety profile