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Accident description
Last updated: 20 November 2017
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 17 March 1988
Time:13:17
Type:Silhouette image of generic B721 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 727-21
Operator:Avianca
Registration: HK-1716
C/n / msn: 18999/240
First flight: 1966-03-08 (22 years )
Total airframe hrs:43848
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7A
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 136 / Occupants: 136
Total:Fatalities: 143 / Occupants: 143
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:25 km (15.6 mls) NW of Cúcuta-Camilo Daza Airport (CUC) (   Colombia)
Crash site elevation: 1993 m (6539 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Cúcuta-Camilo Daza Airport (CUC/SKCC), Colombia
Destination airport:Cartagena-Rafael Núńez Airport (CTG/SKCG), Colombia
Flightnumber:AV410
Narrative:
Avianca flight 410 was destroyed when it impacted El Espartillo Mountain after takeoff from Cúcuta Airport in Colombia. All 143 occupants sustained fatal injuries.
The aircraft, a Boeing 727-21 operated flight AV410 from Bucaramanga to Barranquilla, with en route stops at Cúcuta and Cartagena. Because the originally planned aircraft was not available, HK-1716 was prepared for the flight. This resulted in a departure delay of 2 hours and 30 minutes. The flight landed at Cúcuta at 12:28 local time.
At 13:06, the pilot requested clearance to start, but he was told there was a 10-minute delay because of three incoming aircraft.
The crew immediately requested clearance for a climb on course ("Why not clear us to climb on course to avoid delaying this flight further? We're: pretty far behind") and the tower granted their request at 13:08: "OK, cleared for engine start, climb on course VMC, report ready to taxi, temperature 28°".
This, added to the anomalous presence in the cockpit of another pilot whose loquaciousness continually disrupted the work of all the crew members, affected the way in which the pilot supervised the actions of his co-pilot, who was Pilot Flying. There was no crew briefing, nor did the pilot-in command give any instructions for the VMC departure.
Two minutes later the tower controller instructed them to taxi to runway 33.
At 13:12 the tower reported, "Cleared to Cartagena via Uniform Whisky 19, Whisky 7, Whisky 10, climb and maintain two six zero after takeoff, climb on course VMC, QNH ....correction transponder Alpha 2216". Take-off clearance was issued at 13:13.
The initial climb path followed the extended runway centre line to the inner marker, at which point the aircraft entered a continuous left turn. At 13:17 the pilot said to the copilot, "In any case, start turning right." Subsequently the aircraft struck the peak of El Espartillo at an elevation of 6,343 feet.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSES:
1. Active:
A. Personnel factors - Pilot-in-command - Procedures, Regulations and instructions
a) Diverted attention from operation of aircraft and failed to exercise adequate and constant supervision over the performance of his co-pilot;
b) Tolerated inappropriate interference with cockpit discipline by authorized persons with access to the flight deck;
c) Continued VFR flight into IMC.
B. Personnel factor - Non-crew pilot in cockpit - Procedures, regulations and instructions
Interfered constantly with the normal operation of the aircraft, distracting the crew from the efficient execution of their duties.

2. Passive
A. Personnel factor- Crew- Procedures, regulations and instructions: lack of teamwork on the part of the crew, reflected in the failure to coordinate the instructions needed to take off and climb out in VMC using a profile established in accordance with the specific conditions.
B. Other factors - Meeting the schedule: The delays resulting from the change of aircraft for mechanical reasons contributed to the decision by the pilot-in-command to give inappropriate support to company priorities and request to depart, rather than waiting as recommended by the Control Tower, in order to avoid adding to the delays already experienced."

Classification:
Distraction in cockpit
VFR flight in IMC
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» ICAO Adrep Summary 2/88 (#5)
» ICAO Circular 260-AN/154 (12-26)


Photos

photo of Boeing 727-21 HK-1716
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Aircraft history
date registration operator remarks
08 MAR 1966 N321PA Pan Am
20 SEP 1974 HK-1716 Avianca

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 Cúcuta-Camilo Daza Airport to Cartagena-Rafael Núńez Airport as the crow flies is 430 km (269 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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Boeing 727

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