Accident description
Last updated: 22 November 2014
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 18 November 1979
Time:04:56
Type:Lockheed L-188CF Electra
Operator:Transamerica Airlines
Registration: N859U
C/n / msn: 2016
First flight: 1960
Total airframe hrs:41764
Engines: 4 Allison 501-D13
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Salt Lake City, UT (   United States of America) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Ogden-Hill AFB, UT (HIF/KHIF), United States of America
Destination airport:Las Vegas-Nellis AFB, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America
Flightnumber: 18
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."

Classification:

Fuselage failure
Loss of control

Sources:
» NTSB-AAR-80-11

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America
report status: Final
report number: NTSB/AAR-80-11
download report: Transamerica Airlines, Inc. Lockheed L-188, N859U, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 18, 1979. (NTSB/AAR-80-11)

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Lockheed L-188CF Electra N859U
Saturn Airways merged into Trans International Airlines; the airline was renamed Transamerica October 1, 1979
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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 Ogden-Hill AFB, UT to Las Vegas-Nellis AFB, NV as the crow flies is 601 km (375 miles).

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