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.
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
» Drames aeriens dans le departement de l´Ardčche
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.