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: "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
Loss of control
» Flight International 31.12.77(1893)
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
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).