Narrative:Flight 3N18 departed Hill AFB for an IFR cargo flight to Nellis AFB. While climbing from FL120 to FL130 the crew reported loss of electrical power and requested no-gyro vectors to visual flight conditions and immediate descent clearance. During the descent the aircraft attained a high airspeed and high rate of descent and disintegrated in flight.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "A progressive failure in the aircraft's electrical system leading to the disabling or erratic performance of some critical flight instruments and flight instrument lighting while the flight was operating in night instrument meteorological condition. As a result of these conditions, the flight crew could not resolve the instrumentation anomalies to determine proper aircraft attitude reference, and became disoriented and lost control of the aircraft. The crew's efforts to regain control of the aircraft imposed aerodynamic loads which exceeded design limits of the aircraft and caused it to break up in flight."
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
Saturn Airways merged into Trans International Airlines; the airline was renamed Transamerica October 1, 1979
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 Ogden-Hill AFB, UT to Las Vegas-Nellis AFB, NV as the crow flies is 601 km (375 miles).