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Accident description
Last updated: 26 April 2017
Date:Monday 21 December 1987
Type:Silhouette image of generic E120 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia
Operating for:Air France
Registration: F-GEGH
C/n / msn: 120033
First flight: 1986
Total airframe hrs:2505
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 16
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5,1 km (3.2 mls) NE of Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) (   France)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Brussel-Zaventem Airport (BRU/EBBR), Belgium
Destination airport:Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD/LFBD), France
An Embraer 120RT Brasilia turboprop plane, operated by Air Littoral, was destroyed when it crashed into trees while on approach to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), France. All sixteen occupants were killed.
The airplane operated flight AF1919 from Bordeaux (BOD) to Brussel-Zaventem Airport (BRU), Belgium, and Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS), the Netherlands and return. However, poor weather at Amsterdam forced the crew to cancel the flight leg to Schiphol Airport.
AF1919 departed Brussels at 13:30, reaching the Bordeaux area without incident. The crew contacted Bordeaux Approach at 15:01 and were vectored for an ILS approach to runway 23. Visibility was poor with low clouds at 100 feet and a runway visual range (RVR) of between 650 and 350 metres.
Flight 1919 crossed the KERAG beacon, the initial approach fix (IAF) at an altitude of FL144, at 15:04:40. Cloud base was still around 100 feet so the crew requested to enter a holding pattern to the south of the airport. The weather conditions slightly improved during the next few minutes and Bordeaux Approach reported a cloud base at 160 feet. Flight 1919 had not reached the holding pattern yet and the pilot decided to attempt to rejoin the ILS. At 15:06:38 the flight was cleared direct to the BD beacon and to descend down to 2000 feet. At the BD beacon, the flight was cleared for final approach and instructed to contact Bordeaux Tower. The airplane had overshot the centreline and was slighty right on the glidepath. Bordeaux Tower then instructed the flight to report over the Outer Marker, which was acknowledged by the captain. After crossing the Outer Marker, the airplane was still not properly established on the ILS. The airplane descended below the glideslope with the crew hurriedly deploying flaps and landing gear. The captain did not contact Bordeaux Tower as requested. Instead he took over control of the airplane, attempting to continue the approach. Both crew members had very little time to adapt to their new roles as the airplane was descending below the glide slope. The descent continued until it struck trees and crashed at 15:10:18.

Probable Cause:

"L'accident resulte directement d'une mauvaise gestion de la trajectoire de l'avion.
La commission en a retenu pour causes:
- le manque de vigilance vis-a-vis de l'altitude, de l'un puis de l'autre pilote, lorsqu'ils etaient en situation de pilote aux commandes (PF, selon le manuel d'exploitation d'Air Littoral) tant au moment où l'avion a franchi en descente, hors du faisceau ILS, l'altitude de 2000 pieds qu'à celui où il est descendu en dessous de la hauteur de 220 pieds, hauteur de decision.
- une mauvaise coordination des tâches entre les deux pilotes qui constituaient l'equipage de conduite, aucun des deux n'ayant assure lorsqu'il etait en situation de pilote non aux commandes (PNF, selon le meme manuel) des tâches importantes relevant de cette fonction, telles que surveillance et signalisation d'ecarts ILS ou d'altitude."

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

» ICAO Adrep Summary 2/88 (#29)

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA) - France
report status: Final
report number: Report f-gh871221
download report: Report f-gh871221


photo of Embraer 120RT Brasilia F-GEGH
photo of Embraer 120RT Brasilia F-GEGH
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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 Brussel-Zaventem Airport to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport as the crow flies is 773 km (483 miles).

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Embraer EMB-120

  • 2nd loss
  • 2nd fatal accident
  • 357 built
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
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  • 43rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 48th worst accident (currently)
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