Accident description
Last updated: 29 July 2014
Status:
Date:Thursday 21 January 1971
Time:09:40
Type:Nord 262A-34
Operator:L'Armée de L'Air
Registration: 44/F-RBOA
C/n / msn: 44
First flight: 1968
Engines: 2 Turbomeca Bastan VI-C1
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 21 / Occupants: 21
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:2,5 km (1.6 mls) S of Mézilhac (   France) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Villacoublay/Vélizy Airport (LFPV), France
Destination airport:Orange-Caritat Airport (LFMO), France
Narrative:
Crashed in a blizzard in mountainous terrain. The airplane flew into the side of Suc de Pradou, a 1342 m high mountain and came to rest 200 m below the summit. Seven of France's top nuclear weapons experts were killed.
The crew had been cleared by Marseilles ACC at FL 80 to the Montelimar (MTL) VOR and FL50 afterwards. FL80 was the minimum safe altitude level between CMF (Clermont Ferrand) and MTL. Controllers at the time considered it possible that the pilot might have retained the FL50 as the final clearance and had disregarded the initial FL80 instruction.


Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Drames aeriens dans le departement de l´Ardèche


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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 Villacoublay/Vélizy Airport to Orange-Caritat Airport as the crow flies is 550 km (344 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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Nord 262

  • 2nd loss
  • 111 built
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 3rd worst accident (currently)
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 France
  • 21st worst accident (at the time)
  • 32nd worst accident (currently)
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