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Accident description
Last updated: 25 May 2016
Date:Tuesday 13 December 1977
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-53 (DC-3)
Operator:Air Indiana
Registration: N51071
C/n / msn: 4837
First flight: 1941
Total airframe hrs:19777
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 26
Total:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Evansville-Dress Regional Airport, IN (EVV) (   United States of America)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Evansville-Dress Regional Airport, IN (EVV/KEVV), United States of America
Destination airport:Nashville Metropolitan Airport, TN (BNA/KBNA), United States of America
Flightnumber: 216
The DC-3, chartered to fly the Evansville basketball team to Nashville lost control and crashed shortly after takeoff from runway 18.

The aircraft was operated by National Jet Services, which was doing business as Air Indiana.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "An attempted take-off with the rudder and right aileron control locks installed, in combination with a rearward centre of gravity, which resulted in the aircraft's rotating to a nose-high attitude immediately after take-off, and entering the region of reversed command from which the pilot was unable to recover. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the flight crew to ensure that the passenger baggage was loaded in accordance with the configuration contained on the load manifest. Their failure resulted in a rearward centre of gravity that was aft of the optimum range, but forward of the rearmost limit."

Centre of Gravity outside limits
Locked rudders/ailerons/gustlock
Loss of control

» Flight International 31.12.77(1893)

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America
report status: Final
report number: NTSB/AAR-78-10
report released:17 August 1978
duration of investigation: 247 days (8 months)
download report: National Jet Services, Inc., Douglas DC-3, N51071, Evansville Dress Regional Airport, Indiana, December 13, 1977. (NTSB/AAR-78-10)

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations


photo of Douglas C-53 (DC-3) N51071
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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 Evansville-Dress Regional Airport, IN to Nashville Metropolitan Airport, TN as the crow flies is 224 km (140 miles).

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Douglas DC-3

  • 4120th loss
  • ca 13.000 built
  • 52nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 57th worst accident (currently)
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 United States of America
  • 91st worst accident (at the time)
  • 116th worst accident (currently)
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