Accident description
Last updated: 30 July 2014
Status:Final
Date:Friday 4 March 1988
Time:07:37
Type:Fairchild FH-227B
Operator:Transport Aérien Transrégional - TAT
Registration: F-GCPS
C/n / msn: 546
First flight: 1967
Total airframe hrs:33142
Cycles:55843
Engines: 2 Rolls-Royce Dart 532-7
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 20
Total:Fatalities: 23 / Occupants: 23
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1,6 km (1 mls) E of Machault (   France) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Nancy-Essey Airport (ENC/LFSN), France
Destination airport:Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO), France
Flightnumber: 230
Narrative:
Flight 230 departed Nancy at 06:53 for Paris-Orly and climbed to a cruising altitude of FL140. At 07:26 the aircraft was cleared to descend to FL90 and later FL70. Approaching the MEL VOR, clearance was given to descend further to FL60. Nothing more was heard from the flight thereafter. It appeared that an electrical system malfunction had occurred. Control was lost, the aircraft descended fast, struck power lines and crashed.
The official accident investigation report stated there were 23 fatalities. A memorial plaque at the crash site, however, lists 24 names.


PROBABLE CAUSE (translated from original French language report): Immediately after an electrical systems failure occurred in instrument weather conditions, the aircraft pitched nose down.
The Committee was unable to acquire any certainty as to the cause of this catastrophic descent.
After eliminating various assumptions invalidated by the established facts and findings and after reviewing the results of flight tests conducted at its request, the commission assigned higher probability to the hypothesis that the electrical fault caused a loss of attitude reference and autopilot disconnect which would have occurred while the aircraft was configured 'out of trim' in a nose down attitude.
In the absence of independent standby horizon, the crew had no usable attitude reference immediately available while the aircraft was in a high-speed dive.

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 260-AN/154 (1-11)
» Aérosteles - lieu de mémoire aéronautique


Photos

photo of Fairchild FH-227B F-GCPS
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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 Nancy-Essey Airport to Paris-Orly Airport as the crow flies is 282 km (176 miles).

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Fairchild FH-227

  • 13th loss
  • 78 built
  • 8th worst accident (at the time)
  • 9th worst accident (currently)
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 France
  • 22nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 24th worst accident (currently)
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