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Accident description
Last updated: 29 May 2017
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 13 December 1977
Time:19:22
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
Narrative:
A Douglas DC-3, N51071, operated as a passenger charter flight to transport the University of Evansville basketball team and associated personnel from Evansville, Indiana, to Nashville, Tennessee. The aircraft departed runway 18 in instrument meteorological conditions. The plane crashed less than 1 minute 30 seconds after takeoff. All 29 persons aboard died in the crash.
The aircraft was operated by National Jet Services, which was doing business as Air Indiana.

Probable Cause:

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."

Accident investigation:
cover
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America
status: Final
number: NTSB/AAR-78-10
released:17 August 1978
duration: 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)

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

Sources:
» Flight International 31.12.77(1893)


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Douglas C-53 (DC-3) N51071
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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 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

  • 4229th loss
  • 1573rd fatal accident
  • ca 13.000 built
  • 53rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 58th worst accident (currently)
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