Narrative:While descending, the right-hand rear door detached, struck the horizontal tail plane and became lodged on the leading edge. Control was lost, and the aircraft entered a steep dive. During the dive, the wings and tail plane failed due to overstressing.
CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the baggage door becoming lodged on. the leading edge of the right tailplane after it had opened and detached in flight. This produced changes in the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft which rendered it uncontrollable resulting in overstressing of the wings and tailplane leading to an in-flight structural failure.
A contributory factor was the mis-rigged state of the door operating mechanism which allowed the top and the bottom pairs of claw catches to lose synchronisation. The failure of the door warning arrangements to give adequate warning of door safety was a further contributory factor."
Cargo door failure
Loss of control
» Flight International 25.07.1981 (210)
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Official accident investigation report
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 London-Gatwick Airport to East Midlands Airport as the crow flies is 201 km (126 miles).